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New Canadians welcomed

New Canadians took part in the citizenship ceremony Tuesday morning at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium. - Jason Roessle photo
New Canadians took part in the citizenship ceremony Tuesday morning at Matsqui Centennial Auditorium.
— image credit: Jason Roessle photo

Peace, safety, a stable political situation and opportunities for their children.

These are the key feelings expressed by a few of the 49 newest Canadian citizens as to why they uprooted their lives to come here.

A citizenship ceremony took place in Matsqui Centennial Auditorium Tuesday morning, with people coming from 10 different countries to swear their allegiance to this country.

Among those was Lalit Sharma, 35, who currently resides in Abbotsford. Here since 2009 and originally from Punjab in India, he said "he's feeling so proud" to have taken the oath.

"[Canada] has a beautiful culture, and it's a peaceful country."

Jessica Wang, her husband Steven, and their son Shawn are now Canadian citizens, and arrived here from Taiwan after searching the globe for a new home.

"I was here before," said Jessica, who did some post-secondary schooling in management. "We looked at the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and Canada was our number one choice.

"It just feels like this is my home."

Maria Latapi and her family were originally from Mexico, and said the reason she and her husband Angel came to Canada was for the educational opportunities for their daughter Angeles.

"We were choosing between two or three countries, and we just decided that Canada was the right place to raise Angeles," said Angel. The political climate and safety ranked high on their list of reasons to leave Mexico for Canada.

Citizenship judge Dane Minor presided over the ceremony and said except for First Nations people, most Canadians' families have only been here for two to three generations, and therefore have a history of welcoming immigrants. But with that "open arms" attitude, he challenged the new residents to exhibit the same and accept everyone.

"You have a responsibility to help others and to make a difference," he said.

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