By Bonnie Buxton
I am a 77-year-old writer, former travel editor of Chatelaine magazine and Food Editor of Flare. I was also Travel Editor of Star Weekly many years ago. I wrote a book about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Damaged Angels, published by Random House of Canada in 2004, and in the U.S. by Avalon. I still receive royalties.
I began thinking about “tweaking” O Canada, a few years ago, when I saw our new, young Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming little children from war-torn Syria as they arrived at the airport. I had tears in my eyes as he gently dressed them in snowsuits, hats and mittens, as the children were welcomed by our country. Canada is not their native land, but it’s a land that loves them!
It’s time to update the lyrics of O Canada. I was delighted when the sexist “All our sons command” was changed to “All of us command.”
My British ancestor John Townsend was a politician/actor who immigrated to Canada 200 years ago, in 1817, with his seven children, all actors. My mother’s father was an American cowboy, who immigrated to Canada with my grandmother around 1900. My many cousins and I consider ourselves “native Canadians.” Some even have skin and hair coloring indicating that they may have been descended from North American natives!
- We need to get rid of the expression, “our home and native land.” A lot of Canadian land has originally belonged to our Indigenous people. Also, our many immigrants are not native to Canada.
- I‘ve reduced the number of “stand on guards.”
- Let’s take God out of this. Many of us – including our brilliant Governor-General — don’t believe in a supernatural being! WE’LL keep our land, glorious and free!
I have sent my final version to Hon. Melanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and hope to meet with her at the Liberal Convention, April 19-21/18.
O CANADA, 2018
O Canada, our home and wondrous land,
True patriot love, in all of us command.
With glowing hearts, we see Thee rise,
The true North strong and free
And welcome those who dream of us,
Wherever they may be.
We’ll keep our land, glorious and free,
Like our bright-red Maple Leaf, which waves for Thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for Thee!
©Bonnie Buxton , 2018
“O Canada” (French: Ô Canada) is the national anthem of Canada. The song was originally commissioned by Lieutenant Governor of Quebec Théodore Robitaille for the 1880 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day ceremony; Calixa Lavallée composed the music, after which, words were written by the poet and judge Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier. The lyrics were originally in French; an English version was created in 1906. Robert Stanley Weirwrote in 1908 another English version, which is the official and most popular version, one that is not a literal translation of the French. Weir’s lyrics have been revised three times, most recently when An Act to amend the National Anthem Act (gender) was enacted in 2018, but the French lyrics remain unaltered. “O Canada” had served as a de facto national anthem since 1939, officially becoming Canada’s national anthem in 1980 when the Act of Parliament making it so received royal assent and became effective on July 1 as part of that year’s Dominion Day (now known as Canada Day) celebrations.