Punjabi national anthem at Winnipeg Jets game sparks debate among Canadians

National anthem sung in Punjabi at Winnipeg Jets game divides Canadians

“Breaking Boundaries: The #OCanada Controversy Surrounding the Punjabi National Anthem

When the Amber Trails School Choir took to the ice in Winnipeg to sing “O Canada” in Punjabi, it sparked a passionate and, at times, heated debate across the nation. For the first time in NHL history, the Canadian national anthem was sung in Punjabi and English as part of the Winnipeg Jets’ South Asian Heritage Night. This move, intended to celebrate Canada’s diverse cultural fabric, quickly became a lightning rod for differing opinions and perspectives.

A Divisive Issue

With over 2.1 million views and 847 comments, the original post on X about the event showcased the mixed reviews it received. One tweet questioned the need for the Punjabi rendition, citing concerns about so-called ‘wokeism.’ In contrast, another Twitter user applauded the inclusion of Punjabi in the anthem, hailing it as a celebration of diversity and inclusivity. True North’s own Harrison Faulkner also entered the fray, generating 1.5 million views and 1.8k comments with a post questioning the purpose of the performance.

Differing Perspectives

Ezra Levant of Rebel News lent his support to the anthem, linking it to immigrant success stories and integration. Conversely, Candice Malcolm of True North agreed with Faulker, expressing concerns over changing the anthem’s lyrics and language.

Franco-Canadian Reactions

The addition of the Punjabi rendition also prompted diverse reactions within Canada’s francophone community. The Société de la francophonie manitobaine (SFM) urged the NHL to prioritize the French language in its activities, highlighting the importance of bilingualism in Canada. French-speaking fans, however, voiced their disapproval, emphasizing the historical and cultural significance of “O Canada” in French.

‘A League-Wide Directive’

In response to the controversy, the SFM called for a “league-wide directive on the use of the bilingual national anthem,” stressing the need to maintain respect for both English and French in Canadian cultural expressions.

Embracing Diversity

Ultimately, the Punjabi rendition of “O Canada” underscores the complexities of Canadian identity. It prompts us to reflect on the tensions between diversity and tradition, inclusion and heritage. As we navigate these intricate and at times divisive discussions, it’s important to embrace the richness of Canada’s cultural mosaic while respecting the historical and linguistic foundations of the nation. The #OCanada controversy has opened the door to a deeper dialogue about our collective identity, challenging us to find common ground amid our differences.”



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