MPs high-five in Commons over Senate approval of gender neutral O Canada

Bill will change ‘In all thy sons command’ to ‘in all of us command’

A handful of Liberal MPs paying tribute to Canada’s newly — if not quite official — gender-neutral national anthem have hit a sour note with the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Mona Fortier, who succeeded the late Mauril Belanger in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier, led a brief singalong prior to question period to celebrate the change to the anthem, which won Senate approval Wednesday night.

Belanger had championed a bill to change “In all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” but it languished for months in the upper chamber following his death in August 2016 before senators finally broke the logjam.

Fortier cheered the breakthrough in a member’s statement in the Commons today before leading some of her fellow MPs in a chorus of the new lyric.

Speaker Geoff Regan, however, was unimpressed.

He says singing in the House of Commons is forbidden, except on Wednesdays when all MPs begin the legislative day with a rendition of the national anthem.

Fortier, who won a byelection in Ottawa-Vanier last April, said she was “honoured” and “delighted” to watch Belanger’s Bill C-210 win Senate approval late Wednesday. All that is left is for the bill to receive royal assent from the Governor General.

READ MORE: B.C. MP says most oppose changes to Canada’s national anthem

EDITORIAL: Debate of national anthem lyrics is ‘moot’

“Our anthem will very soon be gender neutral, promoting Canada’s commitment to the equality of sexes and women’s rights,” she said.

“I’m very proud to stand here today and sing along with all of my honourable colleagues: ‘In all of us command’.”

Regan, however, was having none of it.

“As much as we all appreciate patriotism, I would remind members that we’re not here to sing or chant — except on Wednesdays, of course, when we sing the national anthem,” he said.

“It should be one person at a time. I know members understand that.”

That was nothing, however, compared to the outrage expressed Wednesday by Conservative senators who had used procedural tactics to stall Belanger’s bill for more than a year, only to bitterly accuse their independent counterparts of shutting down debate Wednesday to finally force a vote.

Tory senators showed their displeasure by refusing to take part.

In a statement Wednesday, Sen. Larry Smith, the Opposition leader in the Senate, called the tactics of his rivals “unprecedented” and “illegitimate.”

“We are, by refusing to endorse these actions, putting the Trudeau government on notice that we will now use all legitimate means available to us allowed for under the rules to restore our right and the right of all Senators to debate in the chamber.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Slocan Valley added to communities on flooding evac alert

Kootenay Lake is expected to reach flooding level in Nelson by Friday

PHOTOS: Cantering like a boss

Jacky Cooper was in Blewett this weekend to teach at the Nelson and District Riding Club

UPDATED: Hwy 3 west of Creston remains closed due to mudslide

A detour is available on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, but commuters could see wait times

COLUMN: Making a wildlife smart community

David White writes how property owners can avoid conflict with nature

Police searching for Nelson man

Brent Mickelson hasn’t been heard from since February

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

B.C. mom threatens legal action against sunscreen company

Caleb Jordan, 6, was covered in blisters 20 minutes after using Banana Boat sunscreen

BC Games Society president to step down

Kelly Mann says it’s time for a change after 26 years with the society

B.C. politicians framed by anonymous sticky-note doodler

Insider has been posting caricatures from the B.C. legislature to social media

27 years since initial police probe, polygamist leader to be sentenced in June

Prosecutor recommend up to 6 months jail, defence asks for conditional or absolute discharge

Governments kick in cash for B.C. farmers, food processors

Ottawa, Victoria contribute $14 million over five years to help develop new products, processes

UBC professor claims victory at B.C. car race

A physics engineering professor had the fastest time during Kelowna hill climb race

Most Read