“O Canada,” the country’s national anthem, has included the line, “True patriot love in all thy sons’ command,” for nearly 100 years.
Ottawa now wants to start a public discussion on whether Canada should adopt a gender-neutral version of the song.
As part of a policy speech unveiled on Wednesday, the minority Conservative government said it would ask Parliament to look at the original lyrics to the anthem.
Those lyrics, penned in 1908 by Canadian poet Robert Stanley Weir, read “True patriot love thou dost in us command.” The version in current use was adopted in 1914.
Industry Minister Tony Clement said the government had not taken any firm decisions yet.
“I think the appropriate way to deal with this is through some sort of process where we have historical research and learned discussion,” he told reporters.
Michael Ignatieff, leader of the opposition Liberal party, said if the government was serious about boosting women’s rights it could have done something more substantive.
One of the first things the Conservatives did after winning power in January 2006 was to cancel a deal the Liberals had struck to provide a national child-care system.