English-speaking Canadians split on more “O Canada” changes

The notion of once again altering the lyrics of Canada’s national anthem again is divisive among English-speaking Canadians, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In an online survey of a representative national sample, 41 percent of English-speaking Canadians would agree to change the first line of “O Canada” from “Our home and native land” to “Our home on native land”, while 44 per cent disagree with the proposed modification.

In February, Canadian artist Jully Black sang “O Canada” with the line “Our home on native land” during the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Utah.

More than half of English-speaking Canadians aged 18-to-34 (55 per cent) agree with amending the lyrics to “O Canada” to swap “and” for “on”, but are joined by just 42 per cent of those aged 35-to-54 and 28 per cent of those aged 55 and over.

“Majorities of English-speaking Canadians of South Asian (68 per cent), Indigenous (64 per cent) and East Asian heritage (51 per cent) endorse the proposed change to the national anthem,” says Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. “Only 36 per cent of English-speaking Canadians of European descent concur.”

The lyrics to the national anthem in English were modified in 2018. The second line of “O Canada” was changed from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command”.

Across the country, 48 per cent of English-speaking Canadians agree with this modification, while 34 per cent disagree and 17 per cent are undecided.

When asked which of the two versions of the national anthem they prefer, almost half of English-speaking Canadians (47 per cent) choose “in all thy sons command”, while 38 per cent selected “in all of us command.”

English-speaking men (52 per cent) are more likely than English-speaking women (43 per cent) to express a preference for the previous version of “O Canada.”

English-speaking Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2021 federal election are more likely to prefer the “sons” version of the national anthem (67 per cent) than those who cast ballots for the Liberal Party (43 per cent) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) (36 per cent).

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