I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of citizenship these past few weeks.
Just last Friday, I had the honour and privilege to be present while 102 new Canadians took their oath of citizenship at the Manitoba Summer Fair in Brandon. Even though the actual oath takes less than a minute to recite, it takes new Canadians many years to reach this point.
Like many of you, I was born a Canadian. I didn’t endure a long and tumultuous journey nor did I have to escape war, famine or poverty. I wasn’t separated from my family and I didn’t have to navigate the complexities of the immigration process.
Participating in last week’s citizenship ceremony reminded me of how lucky I am. During my conversations with many of the new Canadians who had just taken the oath of citizenship, I heard stories about difficult decisions to leave extended families, familiar communities and close friends in order to carve out a new and promising life in our country — a country that values liberty, freedom and opportunity.
For those willing to study, work and take a few risks along the way, no goal is out of reach and no opportunity is denied.
As I said during the ceremony on Friday, when someone takes the oath of citizenship, they become a part of Canada’s truly remarkable story and I can’t wait to see the chapters these 102 new Canadians will write here in our community.
While I’m not overly boisterous in my patriotism, I do have a deep sense of pride and optimism for Canada’s future. My grandchildren remind me that my generation has a duty to leave their generation a Canada that is stronger, freer and more prosperous than the one we inherited, and welcoming new Canadians into our communities is one of the ways we can do just that.
Last week, between the two ceremonies in Brandon we welcomed 182 new citizens as our neighbours and into our extended Canadian family. I ask that each and every one of us who already enjoys the privilege of citizenship takes the opportunity to mark this happy occasion by making a commitment to continue building a welcoming and inclusive community here in Brandon-Souris.
Larry N. Maguire
Conservative MP for Brandon-Souris
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 11, 2014