It turns out the Harper Government has, once again, “misunderestimated” (to borrow a word from the great George W.) the unwashed masses of the Canadian electorate.
It seems that for decades, we were ignorant of the fact that we had been insulted by the use of the gender-specific word “sons” in the third line of our national anthem. But not to worry, the Harper Government was coming to our rescue.
They took an extended prorogue holiday from the hallowed halls of Parliament to thoroughly re-examine policy and refocus on the economy. Upon their return to Parliament on March 3rd, 2010, they released the results of their retooling with the Speech from the Throne. One of their new obligations to the Canadian electorate would be to relieve us of the great “...in all thy sons...” burden that we had been carrying for over 100 years. This was going to be great, at least according to the “bobbing heads” on the 24 hour news cycle. It was all they could talk about until the budget was released the next day.
It turns out that, this time, the idea to change the word “sons” to a less offensive, gender-neutral alternative, germinated in the mind of Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth who was appointed to the Senate in 2005. You have to give Senator Ruth credit, at least she’s making an effort to earn her $130,000 a year base salary. I quote Ms. Ruth:
“I urge Parliament to act promptly on the speech from the throne and to recommend that the English version of O Canada be restored to include women and girls"
“The national anthem in English should reflect our constitution and the role that women and girls play in Canada today, not the prejudices of the past."
Unfortunately for Ms. Ruth, Canada’s uneducated, ill-informed and sweaty masses had finally memorized the “sons” version and were reluctant to have to learn a whole new word. Some polls even had the gumption to show that over 95% of Canadians wanted the national anthem left just as it was.
On March 5th, 2010, 2 days after announcing the review of “O Canada” during the speech from the Throne, the Prime Ministers Office announced that:
"We offered to hear from Canadians on this issue and they have already spoken loud and clear. They overwhelmingly do not want to open the issue. The government will not proceed any further to change our national anthem."
More the pity. Now Senator Ruth is forced to take up another cause that she deems offensive to Canadians. She really wants to earn that $130,000 a year base salary. Perhaps she could re-examine the colours used on the Canadian flag. Wouldn’t it be more inclusive to have one of the borders blue so that the flag was inclusive of both Liberal red and Conservative blue? Wait a minute, that’s a great idea! I think I’ll keep that one for myself and work at getting Mike Duffy’s $130,000 a year base salary when he retires from the Senate in 7 years!
We are so fortunate to have MPs and Senators that have only our deepest needs foremost on their minds. At least they aren't wasting all of their time putting hundreds of thousands of unemployed Canadians back to work!
ps - Did I remember to mention that the base salary for Canada’s Senators is $130,000 a year?
pps - Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the word “prorogue” contains the word “rogue” as in “Sarah Palin “wrote” a book called “Going Rogue”"?