Friday, August 22, 2014
Canada's National Anthem antics at Toronto City Hall
Potholes? Pshaw! Transit? Yawn! Taxes? Meh!
Lucky for us, Councillors Pam McConnell, sufficiently recovered from her rumble with Rob Ford, and Ceta Ramkhalawansingh — who? — have risen above such trifles.
They know it’s not gridlock, housing or the waterfront that folks in their wards are worried about — it’s the words to our national anthem.
So they want their fellows, and fellowettes, on council to demand Ottawa change “in all thy sons command” to something more neutered. I mean neutral.
“Half the population of the country is female and we ought to be included in our national symbols,” Ramkhalawansingh told the Toronto Sun.
She’s absolutely right, of course.
Like you, I am sick and tired of seeing only male moose on souvenir t-shirts.
(Please, NO jokes about beavers.)
And why must the Mounties always get their man?
Chop down the CN Tower while you’re at it. Too phallic. Too damn male.
Thy sons, indeed. It’s embarrassing.
If and when Prince Charles takes over from his mom, Canada’s gender balance will go completely out of whack. Your little missus will get all hurt and whiny and hysterical.
So better that Toronto city council fixes O Canada while there’s still time.
Ramkhalawansingh, McConnell and other sisters of the Sing All of Us movement have suggested switching “in all thy sons command” to a much earlier rendition’s “thou dust in us command.”
What, really?! Sounds suspiciously like a command to dust. Housewives and cleaning ladies won’t like that.
(Editor’s note: DOST, you sexist idiot, not dust. Dost is old English for “do.”)
Great. Just what city council needs. Another dost-up!
Thank goodness Ramkhalawansingh and McConnell have jumped into the fray. It’s why you elected them. (Actually Ramkhalawansingh was appointed to replace Adam Vaughan in ward 20, but it’s the thought that counts.)
The likes of author Margaret Atwood and former PM Kim Campbell also are Sing All of Us crusaders, but they are just ordinary, anonymous, hard-working private citizens like you.
You need politicians on your side to get anything done in this country.
Clearly it’s the duty of municipal leaders to spend time and energy on neighbourhood dilemmas like the national anthem. Always has been.
In 1990, for instance, the old Metro council asked Ottawa to edit “thy sons command” but also “home and native land,” as offensive to immigrants.
“Home and cherished land,” then-councillor Howard Moscoe suggested.
I forget how the male chauvinist pigs on Parliament Hill responded. “Piss off,” or something equally primitive.
I wish Ms. Ramkhalawansingh and Ms. McConnell better luck.
Frankly, Canada and its symbols are riddled with gender bias. This urgently needs to be rooted out before our City Hall can turn to such mundane matters as construction mayhem, the Pan Am Games, the Gardiner, the Sony Centre or (snore!) city councillors’ expenses.
How can council, in good conscience, waste time and energy on DVP flooding when we are forced to warble “thy sons’ command” at Blue Jays games?
(Of course, you don’t have to sing those words. You can croon “thou dost in us command.” No one’s going to throw you out. Hell, you can sing Yankee Doodle Dandy, if it suits you, as long as it doesn’t throw the rest of us off-key.)
I hope Ramkhalawansingh and McConnell don’t stop at O Canada. The Lord’s Prayer is a bit sticky, too. “Our parent, who art in heaven...?”
Don’t be shocked if city council next week supports the dynamic duo’s motion.
A finer collection of social engineers and guardians of “inclusiveness” you never did see. Be proud of them.
Once they shake the gender bias out of the national anthem, they can turn to other dire local issues.
Such as Canada’s involvement in the next mission to Mars.
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