September 30, 2013 22:05 ET

Notable Canadians Spark Discussion to Bring Back Gender-Neutral O Canada encourages Canadians to come together for an inclusive national anthem

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 30, 2013) -

Editors' note: A photo is associated with this press release.

Today a coalition of influential Canadian women launched, a campaign that seeks to restore Canada's English national anthem to its original, gender-neutral intentions. The group is calling on Canadian men and women to join the movement to encourage Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government to act now.

It's about restoring, not changing

The launch of marks the 100th anniversary of the change to Judge Robert Stanley Weir's original English lyrics of O Canada. In 1913, the lyrics, "thou dost in us command" were revised to, "in all thy sons command" for no documented reason. The coalition wants Canadians to support an amendment to replace the line with "in all of us command" to reflect Weir's original, inclusive intentions.

"The words 'all thy sons command' in the English national anthem suggests that only male loyalty is being invoked," said Margaret Atwood, a world-class Canadian author and a member of the coalition. "Restoring these lyrics to gender-neutral is not only an easy fix to make our anthem inclusive for all Canadians, but it's also long overdue."

The coalition invites Canadians to join in a discussion that challenges the status quo and promotes the inclusion of women, who along with their male counterparts also make important contributions to Canada's great reputation at home and abroad.
"I believe that restoring the anthem celebrates the role that all Canadians play in the modern era," says Sally Goddard, mother of Nichola Goddard, the first female Canadian soldier killed in combat. "It would recognize the heroes, leaders, and teachers who have made Canada what it is today - regardless of their gender."

In addition to Atwood and Goddard, the coalition also includes:

  • Retired Senator, author and fashion designer, Vivienne Poy
  • Kim Campbell, Canada's first female Prime Minister
  • Senator Nancy Ruth

Canadians can visit to learn about amending Canada's national anthem and how to show their support by contacting their local Members of Parliament and other elected officials.

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