Canada moves to make its national anthem gender-neutral

Move faced opposition by Conservative Party

By HARMEET KAUR, CNN
Michael Steele/Getty Images

(CNN) - Canada's Senate has passed a bill making the country's national anthem gender-neutral.

If you're not familiar with the words to "O Canada," here's how the first few lines of the English version originally read: "O Canada! / Our home and native land! / True patriot love in all thy sons command."

The bill changes the phrase "in all thy sons command" to "in all of us command."

It must now receive "royal assent" from the governor general before it becomes law.

The move, sponsored by late politician Mauril Bélanger, was praised by prominent Canadians including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and "The Handmaid's Tale" author Margaret Atwood.

"Mauril's bill to make O Canada gender neutral passed third reading in the Senate tonight -- another positive toward gender equality. #inallofuscommand," Trudeau tweeted.

"Thank you @SenateCA! 'In all of us command': Senate passes bill approving #genderneutral anthem wording," tweeted Atwood.

Not everyone is thrilled about the change.

The bill passed Canada's House of Commons in 2016, but spent 18 months under debate in the Senate, where it faced opposition from some members of the Conservative Party. After it passed, some criticized the vote.

"Shameful, anti-democratic behavior by #Trudeau-appointed senators, including #SenCA Speaker, as they shut down legitimate debate in Chamber," tweeted Conservative Sen. Denise Batters.

"Dissapointed [sic] to hear the Liberals changed our national anthem. Somethings just shouldn't change," tweeted Conservative Member of Parliament Bob Saroya.

"O Canada" became Canada's national anthem in 1980, and since then changes to the lyrics have been proposed several times. This is the first time such a proposal has been successful.

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