On December 12, 2017, fifty-one (51) people were sworn in as Canadians during the ceremony held at Hugh John MacDonald School in Winnipeg hosted by Friends of Filipino Immigrants in Manitoba (FFIM) with Judge Dwight MacAulay as the presiding officer. While Wilhelm Vivas of the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) was the Clerk of the Ceremony.
Prior to starting the ceremony, Maricel Nuyda spoke on behalf of FFMI while Theodore Fontaine, Elder and Former Chief of Sagkeeng First Nation of Manitoba also gave his welcome remarks. Theodore is the author of best seller books – Broken Circle and The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools.
During the ceremony, attendees were also greeted by a number of guest speakers representing different communities. Among the guest speakers were Jeanelle Ann Marie Chua, student at the University of Manitoba Majoring in Psychology, who came to represent the youth; Orlando Marcelino, Former Philippine Honorary Consul General designated to Manitoba from 2013 to 2016; Cathy Collins, Winnipeg School Division Board of Trustee and Captain Wright Eruebi also gave their short remarks.
The ceremony which lasted for an hour was also graced by Flor Marcelino, MLA for Logan and one of our Top 25 Canadian Immigrant 2017 Winners; Joel Duque, a volunteer in the Filipino community and Co-President & CEO of DSMACS Consulting Inc.; Deborah Epps, Community Energy Advocate for North End Community Renewal Corporation; Sue Kapilik, Volunteer and Community Support Coordinator with the Underserved Population Program Cancer Care Manitoba and Lou Fernandez, former President of Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba (PCCM) and creator of Foodorama.
Also present in this special occasion were Nori Dehn, Retired Principal; Vinh Huynh, principal of Hugh John MacDonald and Lisa Calvez of Ecole Sacre Coeur.
Though he is unable to physically attend the occasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau through a video message welcomed the new immigrants through his shport but very touching message. The event became even more special and memorable to the 51 “new Canadians l” as the Ecole Sacre Coeur choir comprised of 150 students sang “O Canada” in English and in French.
By hosting and organizing a citizenship ceremony, FFMI would like to promote that it is important that immigrants to Canada become citizens and contributing members of our society with full legal and political rights.
In his statement last October 4, Canada’s Minister of Immigration also mentioned about the importance of becoming a Canadian citizen, “We want all permanent residents in Canada to become citizens. That’s our wish, because we value Canadian citizenship, we understand we are a community that continues to welcome people from all over the world. And we understand the importance and the positive role that immigrants play in our economy, in our society, and in our cultural life.”