English Canadians sing the stupidest national anthem in existence.
Some nations have anthems that recall important events in national or state history, like the Star-Spangled Banner or De Vlaamse Leeuw. Some, like God Save the Queen, speak to centuries of tradition. Some countries have anthems composed in the midst of strife and hardship, like the Marseille. Some countries have badass anthems that inspire awe and terror, like the State Anthem of the Russian Federation. And some half-assed nationalities rely on empty words to get enough lyrics to fill a tune. You can imagine where O Canada fits in this matrix.
Right from the start, O Canada lies to us. “Our home and native land”, you say? In a country full of migrants whose government was created by migrants to govern migrants while crushing the people who actually are ‘native’ to the area? I’m sure Xi Zou from Xi’an and Ahmed Mohammad the Syrian refugee really feels like Canada is his native land. That foreign culture just washes right out when Canada’s around! But Canada doesn’t care about brown people unless they can either work at Tim Hortons’ for peanuts or afford to buy their way into the country, so let’s leave this horse to rot and move on.
“True patriot love” and “true North strong and free” have always confused me. Is this as opposed to that pernicious false patriot love and that annoying fake-North, the wimpy weenie cardinal direction? What does either of these lines mean besides “OBEY” and “WE ARE GREAT” respectively? 90% of the country’s population lives within 100 miles of the American border; most Canadian cities of any importance are below the latitude of European cities, making them relatively south. Southern Ontario is at the same latitude as California. That north? What north are you talking about? Obviously not the Inuit (who actually belong in the North), or Canada would bother to have an official translation in Inuktitut.
“We see thee rise” – again, what the hell does this mean? Is Canada levitating? If you mean that in a rhetorical sense, as in watching Canada rise to greatness, you probably ought to deal with that triptych of death I wrote about earlier. Hard to be great when your population is sick, sad, and miserable. The anthem was super-religious in its old days; perhaps “thee” is God in this sense and not Canada? Trying to understand a translation of a French anthem after English Canada has stuck its linguistic cock in the crock-pot is like trying to perform chainsaw dentistry on a pissed-off alligator.
Finally, we turn to “in all our sons command”. This is grammatically very confusing because there’s no indicator of who is doing the commanding. Is it one son? Are all the sons barking orders? What about Kim Campbell, Canada’s ten-seconds of female Prime Ministership? Though, I suppose unlike anything else we’ve found elbow-deep in O Canada’s guts, this confusion is at least an honest representation of the stuff Canada’s really all about.