New Canadian is proud of the Canadian ideals
After living for 41-years in this country, I can now feel and understand of honour of calling myself a citizen of Canada. The process of citizenship provided me an opportunity to reflect on how growing up in this magnificent country has shaped me.
I began to learn at a very young age as to what it meant to be a Canadian. I was taught by my parents that we are a nation of peacekeepers and they introduced me to the diversity in Canada. I remember the story of my classmate when I was in Grade 5. My classmate’s sister stitched a Canadian flag to her knapsack before she left to explore the world. I later experienced the welcoming sentiment first-hand in my own travels when I told people that I lived in Canada.
Born in the United States, I saw few differences between us as people and here, but I slowly understood and started appreciating the distinct policy differences between the two countries on issues such as the health care, gun control and immigration. And it was these differences that reinforced in me a sense of what it really means to be a Canadian.
The true Canadian pride was felt by me when Canada denied joining the US in Iraq and refused to accept the justification that the United States provided for invading Iraq.
It warmed my heart when preparing to become a Canadian citizen, that the same values I felt intuitively growing up in Canada were actually present in the citizenship booklet; Canadian values include freedom, respect for cultural differences and a commitment towards social justice and that we are proud of the fact that we are a peaceful nation.
But in the same month in which I became a Canadian citizen, a bill was passed that chose expediency over fairness of our immigration laws. The military commitment in Afghanistan has just been renewed and we still let our Canadian citizens to sit on a death row in an American prison. Many are forgetting the ideals that I was and am proud of.
As I experience my first election as a citizen of Canada and assess my choice, you can be rest assured that the person for whom I will vote will be the one whom I believe to be most close to the ideals that made me fell proud of being a Canadian.