Forty new Canadian citizens swore the oath of ‘true allegiance’ to the Queen and vowed to faithfully observe the country’s laws at the annual Canadian Citizenship Ceremony in Red Deer at Westerner Park March 27th.
“Today we celebrate, tomorrow we build Alberta together,” said MLA North Kim Schreiner.
The event began in the morning with conversations around round tables where new citizens were encouraged to talk about what it meant to be Canadian, their journey to get here, their dreams for the future and the challenges they had overcome to reach this point.
Following the round table conversations was the ceremony including speeches from honoured guests, oath swearing and the giving of citizenship papers.
“Citizenship is not only a legal formality, it is a recognition that you now have a home here for you and your family,” said Schreiner.
Mayor Tara Veer urged new citizens to never take their rights for granted.
“The oath you swear today is not just a few simple words, it is a call to responsible action,” Veer said, referring to exercising democratic responsibilities whenever possible.
Jisana Noorjahan was thrilled to now share Canadian citizenship with her daughter, who was born in Nanaimo, B.C.. She and four-year-old Afshin were both patriotically dressed red and white.
“Canada has given me lots of things: family, my daughter, my education—I did my master’s degree here, it gave me love—because my family is here together, it gave me honour, and Canada gave me freedom.
“So, it’s my responsibility now to take care of these things,” she said.
Noorjahan said she doesn’t even mind the cold winters, anymore. “It is a part of my citizenship,” she laughed.
“As citizens you are now a part of generations of immigrants before, helping to write the continual story,” said Speaker Allison McLeod, citizen supervisor for Southern and Central Alberta.
The ceremony concluded with all the new citizens standing for the singing of ‘O Canada’, their new national anthem.