Prime Minister Trudeau surprises new citizens at an ICC community citizenship ceremony


“Thank you for choosing Canada. Thank you for building your lives and your futures amongst us, and as part of us.”

An excited audience of sixty-four new Canadian citizens along with friends, family, and well-wishers were treated to an unexpected visit from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Kelowna’s Stuart Park Wednesday afternoon. The event was a Community Citizenship Ceremony co-hosted by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada – one of 75 such special ceremonies held each year across the country. Trudeau greeted the new citizens by first acknowledging the millions of immigrants who came before them: “Immigrants and their descendants have made Canada what it is today.” “Diversity,” he told the audience, “is what makes us strong.”

Many of the day’s new citizens were able to shake hands with the Prime Minster as part of the ceremony. The ICC’s Building Citizenship Director Alykhan Haji had this to say about the Prime Minister’s appearance, “His words of welcome were not only inspiring to the new citizens but also a reminder to all Canadians of the importance of this very special day, one that every Canadian should experience! A citizenship ceremony is truly a special moment.”

ICC community citizenship ceremonies are unique in that they take place in the heart of communities across the country; in welcoming public spaces and places of celebration. Every ICC hosted community citizenship ceremony includes an engaging roundtable discussion where new citizens, friends, family and community members share their stories, and reflect on what it means to be a Canadian citizen. Several new citizens expressed that they felt Canadian and ‘at home’ in their communities long before taking the oath. This feeling of community was emphasized by Prime Minister Trudeau, who spoke about how Canadians value giving back. “We are not defined by our origins,” he said, “but by the values we share.  We are defined by our willingness to help a stranger.”


Photos: ICC/ Kailey Barendregt

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