Sing along


Just before the House officially begins business each Wednesday, the MPs in the chamber sing O Canada. The dulcet tones of honourable members are carried on CPAC and so yesterday this scene was broadcast.

The NDP says the two MPs, Lise St. Denis and Djaouida Sellah, a francophone and an allophone respectively, are trying to learn the English lyrics of the anthem and should be “applauded, not derided,” for doing so.

CTV is conducting an online plebiscite to determine the exact level of consternation that should be applied here.


Sing along

  1. Madame St. Denis should sing the national anthem in language it was written. It is a patriotic song honouring French-Canadians after all.   

    I really dislike the lament style used by anglo when they sing the anthem.  It is a patriotic march.  The MPs here do a better job than most of what I hear in English usually, but it still sounds like a lament rather than a patriotic march with an upbeat tempo. The words in French really convey the ‘beat’ – ton histoire est une épopée – pam, pa, pam – like the beating of a drum.

    As for CTV, of course, every MP should be able to sing the Ô Canada without reading the text – in its original language ;)

  2. Here, towards the end of this vignette, you get a very good idea of how it should be sung – of course Mr. Doucet had vocal training, but notice the speed, the intonation, the beat, the pride he conveyed in what is truly a patriotic march. 


    I have sung the national anthem in groups of anglos – I sing it in French, upbeat, full-voice – they usually leave me alone singing cause it’s very different from the sleepy English version.  It’s about pride, about our history, about the glorious lives of our ancestors, about our faith, about our home!

    • Loraine, that was a most entertaining and enlightening post. Thank you.

    • As an anthem singer, Roger Doucet remains sans pareil. Il nous manque.

    • I agree with most of what you say and certainly the tone of what you are trying to convey.  However, the original version of Ô Canada is also about “porter l’épée” and “porter la croix.”

      While we certainly don’t want to get into historical revisionism I don’t think coming with the sword and the cross are sentiments to which even present day Québecers (or Québécois) would adhere.

      Mes aïeux aren’t from here but I am 100% Canadian (même si je ne suis pas Canayen).

      • Arguments I ofter hear, Farandwide, however, we’re not alone…
        Aux armes citoyens, Formez vos bataillons, Marchons, marchons, qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons  — is not exactly peaceful nor politically correct !

        The Americans have the rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air to give proof through the nights that their flag is still there.

        National anthems are made with the military in mind. 

        I believe that Basille Routhier was inspired by the God Save the King/Queen when he wrote the French lyrics to Ô Canada:

        …send her victorious, Happy and glorious (over what) – Scatter her enemies, and make them fall.  Confound their politics, frustrate their knavish tricks, on thee our hopes we fix, God save us all – and particularly the end of the third verse:
        Long may she reign: May she defend our laws, And ever give us cause To sing with heart and voice God save the Queen.
        I have more sympathy for your reservations about the aïeux but it is, after all and like it or not, a song written especially to celebrate the Canayens, commissionned by the Saint-Jean Baptiste Society.

        • The Americans have the rocket’s red glare and the bombs bursting in air to give proof through the nights that their flag is still there.

          True, but those aren’t American rockets and bombs, they’re BRITISH.  

          The Star-Spangled Banner isn’t so much a celebration of American militarism as it is a celebration of Americans surviving British militarism.  The rockets and bombs themselves aren’t proof that the Americans are “still there”, they simply provided the illumination that let the Americans see that their flag was still flying despite the fact that they were being heavily bombarded by British artillery.

  3. Never mind the anthem there’s a bigger story in the upper left corner of the photo.
    Shelly Glover has either crossed the floor to sit with the NDP or her 70’s hairdo is catching on! (You decide which is more shocking)

    • I was confused – thought Jason Kenney and Shelly Glover had crossed floor. 

      • AND Chris Alexander!

        • That’s who it is!  I was thinking that guy also looked like a Tory but I couldn’t remember who. 

          When I first saw the photo here I thought a group of Tories and NDP were standing together singing O Canada for some reason. 

      • That is really bizarre. It looks like Diane Ablonczy there as well. Are all the new crop of NDP CPC doppelgangers? 

    • I believe the MPs gather together on the same side of the House to sing. Patriotism over partisanship and all that.

      • That explains it – I like idea of everyone standing together to sing before the day’s donnybrook begins. I thought NDP and/or Cons were overrun with doppelgangers. 

      • Thanks for ruining my fun!

  4. Why are they singing the anthem in the first place?

    Does any other boardroom in Canada do this?

    Sounds very Japanese…beginning the day with exercises and the company song.

    • Because they sing the anthem before hockey games, I guess, and our politicians are great at passing the puck.

      • Ohhh booooooo!    LOL

    • “Does any other boardroom in Canada do this?”

      How exactly does Parliament remind you of boardroom?

      Parliament is closer to Kindergarten where they still sing national anthem. We also use to do 5 minutes of calisthenics in lower grades while listening to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown and looking at people in photo I suggest some exercise as well as singing.

      • Parliament is supposed to be the boardroom of the nation….which is why none of this nonsense should occur.

        • I guess if there is one place where the National Anthem should be sung at least once a week it is Parliament.

          • Why?  Can’t they remember what country they’re in otherwise?

          • It’s just a sign of affection for their country. It’s like saying “I love you” to your family. Sure they know you love them and they will know that even if you never say it, but its important to just out right say it.

      • They started singing the anthem during the Chrétien years – and they’ve been reciting a prayer since 1877. 

        • I know….they think they’re a cathedral instead of a boardroom to run a nation.

          • I actually prefer they sing it. It’s not a board room, it’s the House of Commons, and yes, there is a difference.

            Companies get managed in board-rooms, and a significant problem we’ve had lately is that our politicians have taken up this idea that they’re managers, not governors or legislators.  I think reminders such as this can be a good thing.  Better if they’re heeded, of course, but good nonetheless.

            Now the prayer strikes me as a bit off given how we’re a multi-cultural nation.

          • The purpose of the morning Japanese company song is to enforce a sense of a united group and aim.

            Parliament doesn’t have a united group or aim. It has an Official Opposition.

            It isn’t there to make better widgets.

          • I don’t think there’s anything saying that we have to have the same purpose in what we do as that which the Japanese do.

          •  @Thwim
            How about they get down to work instead of doing a musical version of a group hug?

        • “They started singing the anthem during the Chrétien years … ”

          Really? One of few clever things Chretien did, than. 

  5. @Batman Bacon 
    No, it’s just another patriotic button for your govt to push

    • Patriotism isn’t a bad thing :). Besides, the House is clearly doing a bad job of trying to win people over with their patriotism if so few know of the pratice. Look at the confusion on this board. It just seems to be way for MPs to drop the partisan blinders for a bit and express as a whole their love for  a country they probably quite enjoy serving (minus the Bloc :P)

         Yes, patriotism is a bad thing.

        People know of the practice….they just roll their eyes.

        • Patriotism is just a love for your country. Taking to its extremes it can be very dangerous, but in moderations its perfectly healthy, and dare I say rewarding?

          • Just another way to get you to go to war.

          • War? HAHAHAHAHA. Try fighting crime in Gotham for a week. It’s not easy being a piece of bacon fighting crime.

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