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Senate approves gender neutral wording for Canada’s national anthem

WATCH ABOVE: Senate approves gender neutral changes to 'O Canada'. David Akin reports.

The Senate has passed a bill to make the national anthem more gender neutral, fulfilling the dying wish of Liberal MP Mauril Belanger.

The Senate has given its final approval to the legislation, which would change the second line of the anthem from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.”

READ MORE: Should ‘O Canada’ be gender-neutral? Other countries have tweaked their anthem 

The legislation now only requires formal royal assent before it becomes law.

WATCH: Vote to amend national anthem to be more gender neutral passes in House of Commons

Vote to amend national anthem to be more gender neutral passes
Vote to amend national anthem to be more gender neutral passes

Belanger pushed the legislation for years, but it took on far greater urgency after he was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, following the 2015 federal election.

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The Commons passed the bill in June 2016, with the ailing Belanger in the House.

 

WATCH: Global Edmonton anchor Jennifer Crosby was joined by Chief Political Correspondent David Akin out of Ottawa, who explained the background to the national anthem decision.

Gender neutral wording for Canada’s national anthem sparks debate
Gender neutral wording for Canada’s national anthem sparks debate

The longtime Liberal died just over two months later.

READ MORE: Funeral for MP Mauril Belanger ends with playing of gender neutral ‘O Canada’

The bill had stalled in the Senate as Conservatives fought its passage, but it won Senate approval on a voice vote Wednesday after a pair of procedural votes.

Following the vote, the office of Conservative Senator Larry Smith sent out a statement saying “so-called Independent senators” had shut down debate “using tools never before applied by individual senators.

“In protest of these illegitimate actions, the Senate Conservative caucus refused to participate in a series of votes this evening,” a spokesman for Smith said in the statement.

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