NEW CANADIAN CITIZEN - L to R: Colin Connon, assistant to MP Earl Dreeshen; Metis Cree Elder, Theresa ‘Corky’ Larsen-Jonasson; MLA Kim Schreiner, Red Deer North; Speaker Allison McLeod, citizenship supervisor for South and Central Alberta; four-year-old Afshin Noorjahan; her mother new Canadian citizen Jisana Noorjahan; Mayor Tara Veer; Frank Bauer, chair of the Red Deer volunteer committee of the ICC and the bagpiper at the Canadian citizenship ceremony at Westerner Park on March 27th. Michelle Falk/Red Deer Express

Red Deer congratulates 40 new Canadian citizens

Community citizenship ceremony celebrates rights and responsibilities

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, originally from Bangladesh, has lived in Canada since she began her masters degree at the University of Western Ontario in 2011.

It was her husband who had dreamed of their family becoming Canadian, but now she says she is very happy with his plan.

Noorjahan said she doesn’t even mind the cold winters, anymore. “It is a part of my citizenship,” she laughed.

“I have to love everything, because Canada gave me everything, I have to love everything about it.”

Now that she is a citizen, Noorjahan plans to sponsor her aging mother to come to Canada too.

“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.

Over twelve countries were represented among the new citizens.

Schreiner said as citizens it is important for all of us to remember there were people living here for thousands of years before Canada ever became a country and we owe their history, respect and acknowledgement.

Other honoured guests at the ceremony included Cree Metis Elder Theresa ‘Corky’ Larsen-Jonasson, Colin Connon, assistant to MP Earl Dreeshen, Frank Bauer, chair of the Red Deer volunteer committee, ICC, as well as City Councillors Lawrence Lee, Frank Wong and Michael Dawe.

ICC and the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada hosts a special citizenship ceremony in Red Deer once a year. They host 75 Canadian citizenship ceremonies annually across the country.

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