Page last updated at 09:07 GMT, Saturday, 6 March 2010

Canada drops national anthem change plan

Canada's Sidney Crosby waves a flag after the men's ice hockey medal ceremony at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, 28 February 2010
O Canada was played a record 14 times at the Winter Olympics

Canada has dropped a proposal to change the country's national anthem by making it more gender-inclusive.

The government had said it was open to changing a lyric in O Canada - "in all thy sons command" - to the original version, "thou dost in us command".

Opposition Liberals said the proposed change was merely a gimmick that proved the ruling Conservatives were not serious about women's rights.

Public outcry was so strong PM Stephen Harper dropped the idea after two days.

"We offered to hear from Canadians on this issue and they have already spoken loud and clear," said Mr Harper's spokesman, Dimitri Soudas.

O Canada! Our home and native land!

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The true north strong and free!

"They overwhelmingly do not want to open the issue. The government will not proceed any further to change our national anthem."

The issue was raised after the anthem was played a record 14 times at gold medal ceremonies during the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

O Canada was officially proclaimed Canada's national anthem in 1980 after existing for many years alongside God Save the Queen.

It was composed by Calixa Lavallée in 1880 and while the lyrics have changed over the years, their current version is based on a 1908 poem written by Stanley Weir.

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