Gender-neutral national anthem bill up for third reading

Bill introduced by MP Mauril Belanger could get its final pass

OTTAWA — Dying Liberal MP Mauril Belanger could see his private member’s bill to make the national anthem more gender neutral pass a final hurdle today in the House of Commons.

But he may not live to see it become law.

Bill C-210, which would change the second line of the anthem from “true patriot love, in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command,” is set for third and final reading in the chamber.

And Belanger’s office says he will be in the House for the vote.

The anthem change has been a Belanger cause for years but has taken on far greater urgency in recent months after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and his condition rapidly deteriorated.

The outcome of today’s vote appears to be a foregone conclusion as most Liberals and New Democrats support the measure, while the Conservatives, who oppose the bill, have run out of political tactics to slow it.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry says she’s concerned that the legislation could be stalled in the Senate until the fall.

But Conservative MP Jason Kenney says the vast majority of his constituents oppose the anthem change.

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