As of today, 12:30 p.m…. I am officially Canadian!
We arrived at the Sciences and Technology museum around 11:00 a.m. It didn’t start very well: it was raining and we queued in the dark because of a power outage. Have you ever tried to sign a stack of papers with the help of a flashlight? Not my best signature, I bet. I signed the media release (because the ceremony could be taped), I certified I wasn’t a criminal, I handed out my permanent resident card and I was finally allowed to step into the museum’s auditorium. Feng and my friends sat at the back and I was at the front, along with all 117 citizens-to-be from 49 countries.
We waited in the dark for a while but eventually, the power came back. Phew. The clerk introduced herself and we all rose for the judge, her honour Suzanne Pinel, to enter.
The judge’s speech, part of it in French and part of it in English, was very moving. She welcomed us all in Canada, and stressed on our new rights and responsibilities. She also acknowledged that the road to come to Canada may have been difficult and she thanked us for choosing it as our new home: “you can be whatever you want here and you have already succeeded to me,” she said.
Citizenship Court Judge led everyone in reciting the Oath of Citizenship, as we all stood, the right hand risen:
I swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 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.
Then, we all received our citizenship certificate, the citizenship card, a small Canada pin and a Canadian flag from the judge. We even got free museum passes! Judge Pinel took the time to congratulate us all one by one, and said something nice to each of us.
We all rose again to sing “O Canada,” the national anthem… my first time singing it as a Canadian. Judge Pinel invited all the kids to come on stage to sing (she is also a famous children entertainer!) and I saw a few wet eyes here and there.
No more permanent resident card for me. I’m now the proud owner of a Canadian citizenship card, plus a letter from M. Harper (I definitely wouldn’t vote for him but anyway…). Next step? Changing my SIN card next week, and applying for a Canadian passport.
Can you believe that? I’m Canadian! Thank you, Canada, for adopting me—I promise I’ll be a good citizen.