Canadian flag
Canada: Gender-neutral ON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Politicians in Canada have voted in favour of changing their national anthem to make the words gender-neutral.

The Canadian senate, the upper chamber, passed a bill on Wednesday (31 January) that would see some of the lyrics in the anthem O Canada changed.

The House of Commons passed the private member's bill in 2016. It will now need to receive royal assent from the Governor General before it becomes enshrined into law.

The change would see the words "in all thy sons command" replaced with "in all of us command".

O Canada has been the national anthem since 1980. Since then, 12 attempts have been made to remove references to specific gender in the song, all of which have failed until now.

The anthem was written by Robert Stanley Weir in 1908. He changed the words himself shortly afterwards and added the controversial line that is now to be removed.

Weir, who was a poet and a judge, changed "thou dost in us command" to "in all thy sons command".

The bill faced strong opposition by Conservatives politicians who had slowed the course of the legislation into law.

The late Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger was the politician who introduced the bill.