Blaikie, originally from Taiwan, accepts a flag after becoming a Canadian citizen during the last citizenship ceremony held in Brandon, at Vincent Massey High School in October 2012.
Several new Canadians will never forget the 2014 Manitoba Summer Fair, which will be the site of the first citizenship ceremony in Brandon since October 2012.On the Friday of the fair, which runs June 4-8, citizenship Judge Jim McCrae will give the Oath of Citizenship to several families, granting them Canadian citizenship.
"We’re very excited to bring a citizenship ceremony back to Brandon and have it as part of the Summer Fair," Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba general manager Rob O’Connor said.
The ceremony will be held in the Keystone Centre’s amphitheatre and will feature a private gathering for the new citizens after.
"The Summer Fair is an event that is for the local community and the ceremony is also something that is important to the local community and western Manitoba, so there is a real strong link between the two events," O’Connor said.
In December, ceremonies that were previously held in Brandon biannually for more than a decade were pulled by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Operational guidelines put in place in 2012 stated that itinerant services should not be provided in locations less than 300 kilometres from a CIC office. Since Brandon is roughly 200 kilometres from Winnipeg, the distance falls within the guideline.
O’Connor said the Provincial Ex lobbied the department aggressively to get the ceremonies back in Brandon. He believes the fair and the ceremonies are a perfect fit and hopes it is a relationship that can continue long term.
"We don’t want to look past the first one and we want to make sure that it is done correctly, but once that’s done, we’ll talk to all the stakeholders and see if we can do it again," O’Connor said. "It is something internally that we would like to do."
Brandon-Souris Conservative MP Larry Maguire said getting the ceremonies back in Brandon has been a priority for him since he was elected.
He also hopes the ceremony is the first of many and said it’s important to offer the ceremonies in Brandon, where there is a large immigrant community currently working toward citizenship.
"With our growing community, there will continue to be a need," Maguire said. "By hosting the ceremony in Brandon, it will increase the likelihood that more friends and family members will be able to share in this celebration. I look forward to the ceremony, which will unite everyone in the common bond of Canadian citizenship."
The ceremony will add to a laundry list of exceptional events at the Summer Fair, which includes a horse show, aboriginal showcase, midway, trade show, demolition derby, the inaugural Mayor’s International Cup soccer tournament and more.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 8, 2014