Canadian Armed Forces hosts citizenship ceremony

Military Personnel Command Citizenship Ceremony in Ottawa
A Canadian Forces Major hands over a Canadian flag to a new citizen at the Military Personnel Command Citizenship Ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario on June 27, 2018. Photo: Ordinary Seaman Alexandra Proulx

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With all the pomp and pageantry you’d expect in a milestone moment, a ceremonial piper solemnly piped in presiding officials for a citizenship ceremony hosted by the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in June.

Fifty candidates for citizenship originating from 22 countries, along with their families and guests, gathered in Cartier Square Drill Hall in Ottawa for the final step in their journey to Canadian citizenship. Together, they raised their hand in an Oath of Citizenship, and heartily sang Oh Canada in unison, accompanied by the Ceremonial Guard, before posing proudly with their Certificate of Canadian Citizenship.

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  • Military Personnel Command Citizenship Ceremony in Ottawa
  • Military Personnel Command Citizenship Ceremony in Ottawa
  • Military Personnel Command Citizenship Ceremony in Ottawa

Rear-Admiral Hayden Edmundson, Deputy Commander Military Personnel Command, represented the CAF as the presiding official. In his remarks, RAdm Edmundson reminded the audience that “Canadian diversity makes Canada stronger, and through diversity we are a better nation. We respect diversity, and we embrace community and togetherness at the same time.”

It was no coincidence that the citizenship ceremony was held on Canadian Multiculturalism Day. Each year since 2002, June 27 has been the day when we celebrate the diversity of our country and our commitment to democracy, equality, and mutual respect. Canadian Multiculturalism Day is a reminder to appreciate the contributions of the various multicultural groups and communities to Canadian society.

For the CAF, holding the citizenship ceremony on this particular day was not just an opportunity to embrace diversity, but also to play an active role in encouraging diversity within the fabric of Canadian society. For many of the new Canadians who participated in the CAF citizenship ceremony, as well as their families, it was a first introduction to Canada’s military. The opportunity to engage with CAF members at the event was one they will surely remember for the rest of their lives.

Constructed in 1879, Cartier Square Drill Hall’s stately architecture provided an appropriately dignified backdrop to what many regard as a solemn milestone in becoming a fully vested citizen of this country. The building’s ties to Canada’s history, and especially to Canada’s military history, make it a most appropriate choice of location for the citizenship ceremony.

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