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Maclean’s on the Hill: ‘O Canada’ may soon be gender neutral

The Maclean’s Ottawa bureau’s weekly audio debrief on all things #cdnpoli


 

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Each week, the Maclean’s Ottawa bureau sits down with Cormac Mac Sweeney to discuss the headlines of the week. This week, the Senate is on a collision course with the House of Commons over the government’s assisted dying bill. The upper chamber has already made one significant amendment to the legislation that expands eligibility. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is indicating it may not support that change—which could lead to a game of political ping-pong between the two chambers. We speak with two senators—Liberal James Cowan and Independent Frances Lankin—about why they’re pushing for the changes, and how they respond to criticism that they’re overstepping their bounds.

The words to our national anthem may soon be changed when a bill to make the song’s lyrics gender neutral passes a final vote in the House of Commons. But that effort sparked some controversy related to parliamentary procedure and the sponsor of the bill, Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, who is dying from ALS. We speak with Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer about why the Tories blocked attempts to promptly deal with the bill.

Finally, the federal government may be on the verge of clearing the name of the last person to be incarcerated in Canada simply for being gay. Everett Klippert, who has now passed on, is the subject of a report being released next week. We speak with Maclean’s writer Nikki Wiart, who’s covering the story.

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The full episode


Part 1. Is the Senate overstepping its bounds on assisted dying?

Charles Lamoureux cleans the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 25, 2010. Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper will outline his government's agenda in the Speech from the Throne on March 3. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

Charles Lamoureux cleans the Senate chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 25, 2010. Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper will outline his government’s agenda in the Speech from the Throne on March 3. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

The Senate is on a collision course with the House of Commons over the government’s assisted dying bill. The upper chamber has already made one significant amendment to the legislation that expands eligibility. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is indicating it may not support that change—which could lead to a game of political ping pong between the two chambers. Cormac Mac Sweeney spoke with Liberal James Cowan about why the Senate amended the bill passed by the elected House.


Part 2. Are the House and Senate about to play ping pong?

Governor General David Johnston invests Frances Lankin into the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday November 22, 2013 in Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Lankin a senator. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

Governor General David Johnston invests Frances Lankin into the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall Friday November 22, 2013 in Ottawa. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau named Lankin a senator. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

The Senate is on a collision course with the House of Commons over the government’s assisted dying bill. The upper chamber has already made one significant amendment to the legislation that expands eligibility. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is indicating it may not support that change—which could lead to a game of political ping pong between the two chambers. Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief spoke to Independent Sen. Frances Lankin about what comes next between the two chambers.


Part 3. Why did Tories oppose the speedy passage of the O Canada bill?

Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger, who lives with ALS (also known as Lou Gherig's disease) gives the thumbs up as he receives applause after using a tablet with text-to-speech program to defend his proposed changes to neutralize gender in the lyrics to "O Canada" in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ottawa-Vanier MP Mauril Belanger, who lives with ALS (also known as Lou Gherig’s disease) gives the thumbs up as he receives applause after using a tablet with text-to-speech program to defend his proposed changes to neutralize gender in the lyrics to “O Canada” in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, May 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The words to our national anthem may soon be changed when a bill to make the song’s lyrics gender neutral passes a final vote in the House of Commons. But that effort sparked some controversy related to parliamentary procedure and the sponsor of the bill, Liberal MP Mauril Belanger, who is dying from ALS. We speak with Conservative House Leader Andrew Scheer about why the Tories blocked attempts to promptly deal with the bill.


Part 4. The story of the last Canadian to be jailed for being gay

Everett Klippert with his wife, Dorothy. The two married late in life, and while Klippert never switched sides, it was a marriage between two close friends. (Photograph courtesy family)

Everett Klippert with his wife, Dorothy. The two married late in life, and while Klippert never switched sides, it was a marriage between two close friends. (Photograph courtesy family)

The federal government may be on the verge of clearing the name of the last person to be incarcerated in Canada simply for being gay. Everett Klippert, who has now passed on, is the subject of a report being released next week. We speak with Maclean’s writer Nikki Wiart, who’s covering the story.


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Maclean’s on the Hill: ‘O Canada’ may soon be gender neutral

  1. But no one can stop us from singing whatever words we want to. I respect tradition .

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