Saturday, February 1, 2014

O Canada, Our Home and Native Land (Canadian Feature)

O Canada Canadian National Anthem

Journeys of The Zoo’s I Am Canadian Feature Guest Post
for February is… Cathy Thinking Out Loud!

Sarah, from Journeys of the Zoo asked me if I would like to participate in her monthly “I Am Canadian” Feature and Linky. Here she features all things Canadian; products, blogs, causes, and anything related to, or about Canada. It is an opportunity to read about the Canadian featured, and to link up with other Canadians.

As I read about the people featured over the last year in an attempt to find some sort of guideline as to what I am suppose to write about, I realize the only constant is how different and diverse the posts and the Canadians featured are. As you might imagine this didn’t prove to be much assistance as a guideline, but it did get me thinking:

What Makes Me Canadian, and Do I Feel Canadian?

I let these questions roam around my head for awhile, pondering the answers, thinking surely we are about more than saying Sorry eh and maple syrup. This led me to thinking about O Canada, the Canadian National Anthem; shouldn’t our National Anthem embody what it is to be Canadian, and therefore provide me some answers?

I am one of those Canadians who always stand on guard when O Canada is being played or performed. I stop in the halls of the schools, and make kids stop, and stand quietly “on guard” during the National Anthem. At sporting events, seeing fellow Canadians stand and sing our National Anthem, can bring me to tears with pride, and patriotism (in that quiet, and understated way that is so Canadian). I believe a National Anthem should have meaning. I hope our anthem says something about the people of Canada, all the people of Canada.

In the not too distant past the debate about changing the words of O Canada to non gender specific language was in the news. I personally believe that the words should be changed to reflect more than the “sons command” but include “all of our command”.

I love tradition, but not just for tradition sake.

The reason traditions become traditions are because they have meaning. Many opposed changing the lyrics, because the existing version was tradition. To those I say, then there should be no issue going back to the original gender neutral wording of prior to 1913, when the words were changed from “thou dost in us command” to “in all our sons command”.

As a Canadian, and a woman, I think my National Anthem should specifically include me and my fellow Canadian women, past, present, and future, and not as simply derivative of the term “man” indicating a member of the Homo sapiens species. Sadly upon reading the lyrics of O Canada, you find they don’t reflect all of Canada, they don’t even reflect a historical perspective of Canada. It makes me sad that this country I love so much, does not include me in its anthem. How can we know what it is to be Canadian when the words of our “National” Anthem do not reflect who we are? At first I thought my issue was the gender specific wording of our National Anthem.

I have opinions that go far deeper than that.

I see no reference to Native Canadians, and their place in Canada’s identity. Nor do I see any reference to the immigrants who were so important to the success of building our Trans-Canada rail road, which played such a vital role in settling our country and establishing an West – East linking of Canada. Without the Trans-Canada rail road the history of Canada may well have been very different. Where do I see the ideals of Multiculturalism, and tolerance Canada is based on, and so proud of, reflected in our National Anthem? I would love to see all, or even some of these things reflected in Canada’s National Anthem.

I am sure at this point you are thinking, “What is she going on about. I thought she was going to tell us what being a Canadian was”. I think I have.

In my country, Canada, I can freely voice these opinions, and can work to bring about change. I have the opportunity to live in a multicultural country with a rich history. My country built a Trans Canadian railroad, despite the challenges involved. It is my Canadian education that is responsible for me knowing about our history, including First Nations, immigrant experiences, both then and now, and women’s role in Canada’s history and evolution.

I live in a country where I have the right to vote, and I am a person under the law, because of strong Canadian women before me. My country is full of diversity, and culturally richness. There is so much for me to love and be proud of about this country, and it is because of this I want to sing at the top of my lungs an anthem that shares my love and pride of Canada, all of Canada.

Yep, just Cathy Thinking Out Loud about being Canadian.

Cathy Thinking Out Loud PortraitCathy from Cathy Thinking Out Loud is a Mom to two teenagers, and likes to spend her days linking sharing and informing. Whether that is people, products or information, she always likes to do this with a bit of fun and a side of humour.

Connect with Cathy on her Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Big Thanks to Cathy for Guest Posting!


And Now for The “I Am Canadian” Linky…

If you are Canadian or have a Canadian Product, Cause, Blog, or other Canadian related item, then you are officially invited to add yourself to this Linky.

Note that this Linky is not intended as a Giveaway Linky. Please go here to post or enter giveaways.

Month: Company
January 2014 N/A
December 2013 Bouche Baby
November 2013 Dreams and Colour
October 2013 Nolan Wilson Freelance
September 2013 Sun 7 Designs
August 2013 In My 30’s and It’s Time
July 2013 The Koala Bear Writer
June 2013 The Great Canadian Blog Bash
May 2013 Mama Bear Haven
April 2013 YYZ Bambina
March 2013 Ottawa Valley Fiber Arts
February 2013 Gone With The Family
January 2013 Treasures from the Ark
December 2012 Sadieloohoo
November 2012 Life After My Kids
October 2012 MommiesFirst
September 2012 Current Works of Glass

15 thoughts on “O Canada, Our Home and Native Land (Canadian Feature)

  1. Mommy Outside

    I’ve never really felt that our National Anthem really reflect anything Canadian at all (maybe far and wide). And to be honest I’m perfectly ok with that. I think we have bigger issues to worry about. BUT I, like you, love this country, it’s diversity and the fact that we have the right to have opinions and freely express them without fear.

    Enjoyed reading you post Cathy and learning a little more about you 🙂
    Mommy Outside recently posted…London Drugs – My Kitchen Appliance Destination #Giveaway (CAN 02/17)My Profile

  2. Rene

    I haven’t ever given much thought to the lyrics of O Canada, but on a recent visit to the school my daughter will attend in September I realized that they still play the anthem every morning (in French no less!) so I will no doubt be hearing more of it in the near future.
    I notice the lyrics don’t really touch at all on culture or way of life here, it’s just a pledge to be on guard and love the nation as a whole, which is ok with me. We’d all lose our voices if we included all the great things about Canada in one song!
    Many of your points really resonate with me and I sure am glad I read this post, eh? 😉
    Thanks for coming out to the Zoo, Cathy!

    1. admin

      Dear Randa,

      Thank you so much for stopping by, showing your support and adding your name to the growing list of amazing Canadians. Off to do my monthly rounds.

      Besos, Sarah

  3. Alison

    Nicely written post! Some relatively small changes to the lyrics – reference to “sons” and “god” could go a long way to making our anthem more inclusive and reflective of our diverse culture.

  4. Susan T.

    I get teary during the anthem sometimes. I do wish that it had gender neutral language but I love it anyways!

  5. Elva Roberts

    I love our National Anthem and try to respect it by standing and singing when it is played. I really do not feel excluded by certain words because some other words are so beautiful. “With Glowing hearts we see thee rise from sea to western sea” and “God keep our land Glorious and Free.”

  6. Ali P

    Great post! Never really thought about the lyrics before, but as I get older, I definitely appreciate the life that I am able to live as a Canadian!


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