Saul and his wife, former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, started the institute in 2006 because there were virtually no programs for immigrants surrounding citizenship, said Saul.
“We need citizens to become involved right away, their community needs them,” he said.
Part of the three-hour ceremony included a round-table discussion where new citizens could share their stories about Canada with members of the Sudbury community. Peace, prosperity, the landscape, the people and the snow (which was mentioned in both official languages) were the predominant topics of discussion.
Saul told the new citizens they possessed courage, consciousness and the capacity to act when they made the difficult decision to leave behind all that they knew.
“These are fantastic qualities for citizens that you have already demonstrated,” he added.
Guest speakers, Mayor Marianne Matichuk, MP Glenn Thibeault, Science North CEO Guy Labine and Reverend Jeremy Mahood congratulated the new citizens and formed a line with Saul as the newly minted Canadians were handed their citizenship papers.
Maria Teresa Madrid, one of the 50 newly sworn-in citizens, said she was already fulfilling her duties as a new citizen by volunteering at a nursing home and at her daughters’ school.
Madrid has lived in Sudbury with her husband and children for the past four years and in Canada for seven. She is currently in a bridge training program to become an RN.
This is exactly the type of engagement the ICC is hoping to foster.
“We welcome what you bring,” said Saul. “You will be changed by Canada and you will change Canada.”
Madrid couldn’t agree more.
“I am so happy to have the great opportunity to be eligible to run for prime minister,” she said.