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Senate passes gender neutral anthem



The Canadian Senate passed a bill to make the national anthem gender neutral on Wednesday despite the hold out from a few Conservative senators.

Former Liberal Member of Parliament Mauril Bélanger introduced a private member’s bill to the House of Commons in 2016 before her death later that year.

The Commons bill proposed replacing “in all thy sons command” with “in all of us command” and was supported by many as it passed in the House in June of 2016.

Independent Sen. Frances Lankin of Ontario was the bill’s sponsor in the Red Chamber, introducing a contentious motion to shut down debate in the Senate after 18 months of discussion on Tuesday evening.

The bill passed in the Senate as a voice vote on the final confirmation as only Liberal Party and Independent senators were present due to Conservatives boycotting the Wednesday session.

Drama over bill

When Lankin introduced a motion to bypass further debate and put the motion to the ballot in the Senate, Conservative Party senators were outraged that Manitoba Sen. Don Plett was unable to speak in opposition, calling it an affront to democracy.

Mr. Plett led the charge against changing the words of the anthem via the parliament, instead saying the proposal should be put to a national referendum.

“This is an issue for the Canadian public to decide not just a couple of Independent senators,” he told the CBC.

One accusation came up against Senate Speaker George Furey of conspiring with Independent and Liberal Party senators to bypass the Conservative comments on the bill.

Mr. Furey was appointed as a Liberal by Jean Chretien but is now identified as non-affiliated in the non-partisan role he is supposed to take on as Speaker.

More details to follow. Image of the Senate of Canada from The Canada Guide.  ■

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