What started as a young girl’s letter to the editor has since turned into a national debate, all after a New Brunswick elementary school cancelled its daily singing of O Canada.
The anthem was pulled for the start of the 2007 school year at Belleisle Elementary, a school with some 200 students in Springfield.
But after a letter to the local paper, one mother has become the de facto spokesperson on a story that’s exploded across the country.
“I can’t believe we’re fighting this battle,” Susan Boyd said.
Her daughter Kara, 14, wrote the letter, while daughter Julia, 11, attends the school. The girls’ cousin, Private David Greenslade, was killed last year in Afghanistan, and the family sees the anthem as a message of support. “We should be singing the anthem just as loud as ever.”
The decision was made by the school’s principal, who has said parents complained that their children shouldn’t have to take part.
“Sometimes we have students whose parents, because of their beliefs, don’t want their children to participate,” superintendent Zoë Watson told CTV.
Veteran Affairs Minister Greg Thompson called Thursday for the anthem to be reinstated, and Education Minister Kelly Lamrock said he’d consider recommending a change.
“The school should play the national anthem, quite frankly,” he told CTV.
That’s all fine to Ms. Boyd, who wants it made mandatory in all schools and is getting calls of support from coast to coast.
“Just from all over Canada, people are calling,” she said. “I had no idea it would get this far.”
The school management is obviously over-reacting to a complaint. It’s like the complaint about Margaret Atwood’s Hand Maid Tale from one single (idiotic) parent led to the Toronto School Board to review the book that started the whole hullabaloo about the book.
Instead of saying, get more signatures and then we will talk, the above mentioned school tried to be politically correct instead of being smart.
I have no idea what the complaint about Oh Canada would be except for the fact that there is a reference to god in the anthem and that might have led some parents to object to the anthem. Personally, I do not like that reference at all. But this is the national anthem and for that reason alone I am willing to let it slide by. Am I a hypocrite? Definitely, but I am kind of a sentimentalist that way.
This reminds of the controversy related to the Indian national anthem. In south India some students refused to sing the national anthem (because of religious reasons) and were expelled from school. The school district refused to admit the students to any school in the state and the parents sued. The case went all the way to the supreme court which threw the case out and ruled in the favour of the students saying that not singing the national anthem is not against the law.
Maybe that’s what should happen in Canada. If you do not want to sing the national anthem, you do not have to but, by god, you cannot stop others from singing it!!