Andrew Leslie Promises to Push An Anthem Change No One Wants

Again – why don’t the Liberals have a referendum instead of trotting a guy in a wheelchair?

Government whip Andrew Leslie says he will make sure a proposed bill that would render the national anthem gender-neutral will proceed.

Leslie made the remark Thursday after failing to obtain unanimous consent to become the bill’s sponsor when the Conservatives balked at the idea.

The legislation was tabled by Mauril Belanger, the longtime Ottawa-Vanier MP whose health has been deteriorating since his diagnosis last fall with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Bill C-210 aims to change the national anthem lyrics “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command” to make the song gender-neutral. The bill would not have any impact on the French version of the anthem.

Belanger introduced his private member’s bill in January using a voice generator that converts text into computerized speech, the first time one had been used in the Commons.

The sponsor of a bill must be present in the Commons for the last debate before a third-reading vote on the bill.

Leslie could not say whether Belanger would be present in the Commons on Friday. He said the decision would be made by Belanger, his wife and his doctors.