By Diana MacPherson
On July 1st, I wrote a quick note about how PM Harper asked God to keep our true north strong and free in a Canada Day tweet. I find the PM’s repeated invocations of a deity that at least 25% of Canadians do not recognize divisive in a country that recognizes multi-culturalism as a core value affirmed in the constitution and enshrined as an ideal in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. So, when the leader of all the people of Canada invokes his god in a message to all Canadians on Canada Day, I am disappointed.
However, the PM wasn’t the only Canadian to exclude a large minority of fellow Canadians on Canada Day. Adults took offence when a 9 year old girl replaced “God” in O Canada with “please”. After 9 year old Selaena sang a beautiful rendition of O Canada at a Canada Day celebration in Dutton Ontario, her father, Austen, posted a video of her performance on Facebook and his timeline quickly filled up with glowing praise for his daughter’s talent. Here are some of the comments:
Awesome!! She has a gift! Keep encouraging her to use it ! It could turn into her career some day, she is that talented!
Wow very awesome. Great job Selaena . Wonderful voice.
WOW!!!!!!!! Incredible voice!!!! You must be very proud! Sign her up for the Arts School….!!!!!
Check out Seleana’s rendition of O Canada for yourself. Her father explains Selaena’s reasoning to sing “please” as follows:
She wanted to be inclusive, given that her and a lot of her friends don’t even know what ‘god’ is. My children are secular and neutral – free to make up their own minds when they are old enough to do so.
First of all – good job raising your daughter, Austen! It is clear Selaena shows compassion and sensitivity beyond her years and it is refreshing to encounter kids unburdened by dogma.
Now to the ugly stuff. Selaena was scheduled to sing O Canada at theCactus, Cattle and Cowboys Festival in Rodney on July 12 but because she replaced “god” with “please”, the people who run the festival pulled the plug. Selaena’s dad, Austen explains:
Apparently the committee has spoken and the people that run the Cactus, Cattle and Cowboys Festival in Rodney no longer want Selaena to sing the National Anthem on July 12th, because she replaced the word ‘god’ with ‘please’ – which was her choice. Thank you religion for being close-minded and bigoted towards those that don’t share your ignorance. Yes, I said that.
Read an update to this story here.