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New citizens celebrated

WELCOMING SMILES: Judge Renata Brum Bozzi, right, presents one of Canada's 50 newest citizens with her Canadian citizenship certificate as former governor general Adrienne Clarkson looks on at McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg Tuesday. (Philip Alves/Vaughan Today)

Jonathan Robart-Morgan arrived in Canada from Zimbabwe six years ago with his wife and two children.

On Tuesday, within the walls of Kleinburg’s McMichael Canadian Art Collection, he, his family and 46 others from 30 countries became Canadian citizens.

“I’m very happy,” Robart-Morgan said after taking the oath of citizenship. “It’s a great occasion. I can’t explain it.

“I feel very honoured to share it with my family.”

Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, herself an immigrant, was on hand as co-chair of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship to welcome Canada’s 50 newest citizens.

“I know this is one of the most important days of your life,” she said. “When you become a Canadian, this is going to be the landmark of your life.”

Before administering the oath, Citizenship Judge Renata Brum Bozzi acknowledged what for many may have been a bittersweet day.

“Some of you have had to make the agonizing decision to leave friends and family behind and start all over again,” Bozzi said. “Probably you’ve thought to yourselves many times, ‘What have I done? Have I done the right thing for my family?’

“You’ve made sacrifices for yourselves and probably mainly for your children,” she added. “Today is a day to celebrate your achievements and to focus on the future.”

Being there at the beginning of that future for so many new Canadians is always a wonderful experience, Clarkson said.

“Going to a citizenship ceremony as a person who is a Canadian but once was not a Canadian, as I am — I am the first immigrant who became governor general — always moves and touches me,” she said after the ceremony.

And for the ceremony to take place among so many Canadian works of art adds to the occasion, she said.

Robart-Morgan agreed.

“It makes it extra special,” he said. “It really does.”

Vaughan Today
In print: April 17, 2009, page 1
Online: April 16, 2009 [link]