Lead-Up to Canada’s 150th Birthday Includes National Anthem Tweaks

Debate in the Senate continues

If a national anthem is the most trusted representation of a country’s brand, Canada is arguably in the midst of a brand refresh ahead of the 150th anniversary of Confederation July 1.

On Monday night, Canadian senators will address the latest wrinkle of Bill C-210, which aims to change a portion of the lyrics to make the anthem gender-neutral. The bill has been in the Senate for over a year, and debated more than 20 times. Although the original idea was to change the line “true patriot love, in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” Monday’s discussion will involve yet another potential variation. Per a report in the National Post:

Conservative Sen. Tobias Enverga, to the incredulity of several colleagues, proposed the wording “in all of our command” Tuesday.

“This is in no way a tactic or a gimmick so as to delay the bill,” he submitted. “I am moving this amendment because I feel it is truly in the best interest of all Canadians that any changes made to our national anthem be grammatically accurate.”

Enverga argued “us” creates a grammatical error — a “fatal flaw,” he said. Other senators chimed in disagreeing with this interpretation, with Liberal Sen. Claudette Tardif reading out loud a grammar-themed letter she received from a high school teacher. “It doesn’t make sense to me grammatically,” offered Liberal Sen. Jane Cordy.

On June 26, Canada’s Vision TV will premiere The Making of Yiddish O Canada, a documentary about the recording of the country’s national anthem in a language that has all but disappeared from active use in the country. The project was spearheaded by actress Marilyn Lightstone and her partner, Moses Znaimer, a Canadian media mogul who founded CITY-TV and currently oversees ZoomerMedia, a company targeting consumers ages 45 and up.

Author Margaret Atwood, New York Times reporter Craig S. Smith and freelance writer Dan Bloom, who is based in Taiwan, were all involved in the genesis of the project. An unusual aspect of this version, as the Globe and Mail recently detailed, is that translator Hindy Nosek-Abelson chose to turn the recurring line “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee” to “O Canada, we stand by your side.”

Meanwhile, The New York Times, as part of its recently increased reporting on the Great White North, is promising to pass the anthem-interpertration baton to the public. It will invite readers to post on Instagram, with the hashtag #MyOCanada, their personal renditions of the national anthem.

Finally, on display through July 3 at the Dimensions Gallery in Toronto are seven paintings by artist Sandra MacGillivray. Each work interprets a separate verse of “O Canada.” The country’s anthem has a long history of re-interpretation.

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