Composed in haste
If the anthem were to be composed today, chances are the words would be a bit different. The same now can be said of the Throne Speech -- the difference being that our retrospective view of the anthem has taken decades, while it took less than two days for the government to reconsider its floated proposal to make O Canada more "gender neutral."
We are hearing that the biggest (and probably most influential) outcry came from Harper's own cabinet. I believe it was CanWest reporter David Akin who told us that federal cabinet ministers howled in protest when they first learned of the plan on Wednesday morning.
Yes. Wednesday morning. This whole kerfuffle over the anthem, if nothing else, has given us a bit of insight into the "consulting" claims of the government over the past two-plus months of prorogation. Others have made this observation too; I don't claim it to be original, but why the heck did the government need all that time to "recalibrate" its plans -- if writing the Throne Speech amounted to jotting some hare-brained schemes on the back of an envelope and sending them to the committee of speechwriters?
It also tells us how much the cabinet is in the loop too. Keep that picture in your mind, of Canada's ministers of the Crown, only learning of their government's overall plan a few hours before the rest of the country heard it. Relatedly, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney seems not to have known that he deliberately excluded gay rights from the citizenship guide, leaving us with the suggestion that someone else -- an aide, perhaps -- did it for him. So this is what it's like to be a cabinet minister these days? You're told at the eleventh hour of the government's marching plans and aides make decisions for you? I guess that leaves ministers all kinds of time to roam about the country, "working their ass off for you people" -- and throwing tantrums at airports. Nice work if you can get it.