MONTREAL, MAY 12, 2008- Edinburgh Elementary School in Montreal West hosted its first Canadian citizenship ceremony recently.
A total of 43 new Canadian citizens from 22 different countries, including China, the Congo, the United States, France, Israel, Morocco, Iran, the Philippines and Russia, took the oath of citizenship in the school’s gym.
Enthusiastic Edinburgh school students greeted the new Canadian citizens by asking, “are you becoming a Canadian citizen today?” The new citizens took their seats and began taking pictures, eagerly waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Edinburgh Principal Leah Auclair began the ceremony by exploring the rich history of Montreal West’s cultural diversity. Auclair then congratulated the guests for making it to this special day when they would become Canadian citizens.
English Montreal School Board Director General Antonio Lacroce then addressed the new citizens. Mr. Lacroce shared his personal story of making it to Canada in 1958 as an Italian immigrant. He acknowledged the challenges the new citizens have and likely will continue to face. Mr. Lacroce then reminded the new citizens that they are making sacrifices to provide the greatest opportunities for their children, who will always be grateful to them for this.
Montreal West Mayor Campbell Stuart was next to address the new citizens. Mayor Campbell stressed Canada’s multicultural nature and how proud he is to be a Canadian. Mayor Campbell then told the Edinburgh students how fortunate they were to be part of such an important event.
The swearing in of the new citizens was preceded by the entrance to the gym by Citizenship Judge Barbara Seal, who was escorted by an RCMP officer. The new citizens and guests were asked to stand in unison, raise their right hands and repeat the oath of citizenship in English and French. After reciting the oath, Judge Seal called the names of the 43 new citizens. Each individual came up to the stage to loud applause to receive their certificates of citizenship and to be personally congratulated by Judge Seal.
At the conclusion of the ceremony Judge Seal told the new citizens that they would now be free to speak without fear, free to stand for what they believe is right, and free to oppose what they believe is wrong. She then said, “Canada is proud of all of you.”
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the national anthem. For 43 of the guests this would mark the first time they would sing the anthem as full-fledged Canadian citizens.