Jim McMahon

Canada’s national anthem recently got a remix. After decades of controversy, lawmakers voted to change the English lyrics of “O Canada” to make them gender neutral. The original anthem used to begin, “O Canada Our home and native land/True patriot love in all thy sons command.” The new version replaces “thy sons” with “of us.” Critics had long campaigned for the change, saying the anthem excluded Canada’s female population. (The country also has a French version of the anthem, which has different lyrics that were already gender neutral.) There had been 12 formal attempts to change the English lyrics since “O Canada” became the national anthem in 1980. The latest attempt succeeded in January over the objections of some conservative lawmakers who argued that the country should hold a national referendum so all Canadians could have a say. Polls show Canadians to be divided over the update. But Frances Lankin, the Ontario senator who sponsored the bill, said the change is an important step. “It may be small. It’s about two words. But it’s huge,” she told reporters. “We can now sing it with pride.”