Filipinos among new Canadians who took first citizenship oath of 2017
Marvin Rivera took his oath as a Canadian citizen on January 3, as part of the first batch of new Canadians who recited the first citizenship oath in 2017.
Rivera took the oath with his wife Maria and son Andrew.
According to Rivera, it was a great honor.
“It’s like graduating from something to another level,” Rivera said in a report by Metro in Ottawa.
Rivera and his family came to Canada from the Philippines four years ago.
Rivera said in the Metro report that he said he always wanted to become a Canadian citizen.
“It makes a lot of sense. It’s very significant because we now have more rights in our country,” he said.
The first new Canadians of 2017 took their oath at the Supreme Court, recreating the first ever citizenship ceremony that took place there 70 years ago.
Citizenship Minister John McCallum was on hand to help swear in 26 new citizens from all over the world.
On January 3, 1947, the very first Canadian citizenship ceremony took place with then Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King taking the first oath.
“Citizenship ceremonies are always special, but this one in particular because here we are in the Supreme Court and 70 years ago today Mackenzie King was citizen number one,” said McCallum in the Metro report.
Prior to 1947, Canadians were considered British subjects with no separate Canadian citizenship.
Oludunni Adeyefa came to Canada from Nigeria four years ago before becoming a citizen on January 3.
She said it feels like she is now fully participating as a Canadian.
“It means a lot to me. It’s taking full responsibility for becoming a Canadian,” he said.
McCallum told the new Canadians that it didn’t matter how long they have been Canadians.
They become full citizens with the same rights as everyone else the moment they take their oath, the minister said.
McCallum said the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has become prominent in the U.S. and other western democracies would not be welcomed in Canada.
“Canada embraces diversity full stop, regardless of what is happening in the rest of the world,” he said.
McCallum said in the Metro report that Canada would continue to be a welcoming place for immigrants and he hoped more would choose Canada.