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October 9, 2015

International Relations participants celebrate new beginnings at EWC

On October 8, Encounters with Canada, once again, played the very proud host to a Canadian Citizenship Ceremony at the Terry Fox Canadian Youth Centre, welcoming 30 immigrants as new citizens.

More than 100 International Relations participants witnessed this very moving event.

Presided over by Senior Citizenship Judge Renata Brum Bozzi, EWC participants, teacher-monitors and staff, alike, all took part in the spirited and poignant ceremony.

Said Judge Brum Bozzi in her opening remarks: “To immigrate to a new country is not easy. I know you have made a lot of sacrifices for yourself and your children, and I hope you are rewarded one day. Coming to a new country is bitter sweet, the road is long and difficult – it takes courage,” she added.

While welcoming the new Canadians, Judge Brum Bozzi said that they are now part of Canada’s big family. And when outlining both the rights and responsibilities of being a Canadian citizen, she illustrated her thoughts with a famous quote from Prime Minister John Diefenbaker: “I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”

During her conclusion, Judge Brum Bozzi shared this meaningful and hopeful thought: “I also encourage you to take an active role in the political process and work towards the common good with a view to continue to build a better country. That also means learning to speak Canada’s two official languages. It is important, because you may be a citizen, but without French and English, you are voiceless.”

She finished her speech by inviting everyone in the room to reaffirm their love and loyalty to their country, by swearing allegiance to Queen and country in both of Canada’s official languages.

The event culminated with the singing of O’ Canada, the first time it was sung by all the new Canadians. Afterwards, a big Canadian flag cake and beverages were served to all who attended. Most importantly, participants had the opportunity to mingle with the new citizens and share their personal thoughts on the meaning of being Canadian.

Encounters with Canada Director General Linda Brunet summed up the occasion, as follows: “Becoming a citizen of Canada is the greatest gift anyone can bestow on you. I sincerely hope that every person in this room truly appreciates how lucky we are to live in this great country. Hosting citizenship ceremonies has become somewhat of a tradition of ours at Encounters with Canada – at least two every year – and each time, I can truly tell you, this ceremony and everyone present finds their heart truly touched. Please let me wish you a successful and joyful life here in Canada. And always remember that, as of today, you are a citizen of the greatest country in the world!”