Canada Day Citizenship Ceremony
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Ottawa, Friday, July 1, 2011
In the name of Her Majesty the Queen, I welcome you to your citizenship ceremony.
In just a few minutes, you will be sworn in as Canadian citizens. You will swear or affirm your oath to The Queen, which means you are swearing allegiance to Canada in her name. We are so fortunate to have Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge here with us today to celebrate this very special event.
I am very honoured to administer to Oath of Citizenship and to present you with your certificate of Canadian citizenship. This is a proud moment for all of you, and I am sure that you and your family will cherish the memory of this day forever.
It is a privilege for me to be here with you today, and I am delighted that you have chosen to become citizens of this wonderful country. You are following in the footsteps of generations of great Canadians before you.
Our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, came here as an immigrant with his family from Scotland when he was five years old. They settled in Loyalist country beside Lake Ontario. He worked hard all his life and earned the everlasting gratitude of the Canadian people for his efforts to bring the people of this country together.
Many of you have travelled great distances and have overcome considerable adversity in your efforts to make a new home in Canada. Your decision means adapting to a new culture, a new climate, and for most of you, a new language.
Your arrival in this country is part of a continuous theme of Canada’s that has lasted for generations. Wave upon wave of immigrants have come here, driven by one overwhelming desire: a better life for themselves and their children.
In preparing for your citizenship test, you have learned about Canadian symbols like the Crown, the flag, the coat of arms and our motto, “From Sea to Sea”. I want to encourage you to continue to learn about the history, traditions and cultures of Canada.
Being a Canadian means much more than simply having proof of citizenship. It means sharing a common set of Canadian values. It also means knowing and respecting the laws of this country, as well as your rights and responsibilities as a citizen.
As Canadians, we live in a democratic society where individual rights and freedoms are respected. Thousands of brave Canadians have dedicated their lives to achieving and defending these rights and freedoms, including our men and women in uniform. Their sacrifices should never be forgotten.
As citizens of this country you are free to live and work in any province or territory. I encourage you and your family members to get involved in your community, to become volunteers and to give back to society. Canada is a great nation, but there is always more to be done. With your help, we will continue the work of building a smart and caring nation, where all Canadians can succeed, contribute and develop their talents to their fullest potential.
Our history, laws and identity now belong to you, and you are part of our great and diverse Canadian family. Our responsibility to be good and faithful citizens, loyal to Canada and to the public good, is now your responsibility as well.
The future of our free, democratic and peaceful society now depends on you! In 2017, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of our Canadian Confederation, and I want to invite each of you to imagine ways to build a smarter, more caring nation as we approach this wonderful milestone.
As John McCrae, the great Canadian soldier and poet, once wrote, “To you we throw the torch; Be yours to hold it high!”
You are about to take the Oath of citizenship. As you pronounce the words of the oath, I urge you to take them to heart; they are your commitment to do your best for Canada.
In recognition of Canada’s status as a bilingual country, I would like to invite you to repeat the Oath of Citizenship after me in French and in English.This symbolic gesture exemplifies your commitment to respecting Canada’s two official languages, and I will begin with the Oath in French.
Please repeat after me:
I swear, or affirm
That I will be faithful
And bear true allegiance
To Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second,
Queen of Canada,
Her Heirs and Successors,
And that I will faithfully observe
The laws of Canada
And fulfill my duties
As a Canadian citizen.
Congratulations, you are now Canadian citizens!
As Canadians, very few of us share the same past, but as all of us share the same future. Each of you has much to be proud of, and if we dedicate ourselves to working together and to supporting one another, we can continue to build this great country that is the envy of the world in so many ways.
I leave you now with my warmest wishes for a long, peaceful and prosperous life in this, your chosen land.
As we prepare to sing our national anthem together, I hope that you will sing it with pride and with the recognition of our good fortune as Canadians. This is now YOUR national anthem, and I urge you to make your voice heard as we sing together.
Congratulations to you all and welcome to the Canadian family!
God bless Canada and God Save the Queen!