Lieutenant-General greets 150 new Canadians at a special ceremony
By Lieutenant-Commander Desmond James, Personnel and Legal Services Public Affairs
“This was a great event,” said Lieutenant-General Chuck Lamarre, Commander of Military Personnel (CMP) Command, after taking part in a very special citizenship ceremony at the Canadian Tire Centre, home of the Ottawa Senators hockey team. “You could see and feel the excitement of these new Canadians as they went through the ceremony, swore allegiance to the Queen and received their citizenship scrolls. And the opportunity to serve Canada in uniform or in other capacities resonated with them.”
The special ceremony, organized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and sponsored by the Ottawa Senators, took place just days before Canada’s 150 birthday and in a venue synonymous with Canada: a hockey rink.
Ken Dryden, former Member of Parliament and Stanley Cup winning goaltender for the Montréal Canadiens presided over the ceremony and remarked about the diversity of the crowd in front of him. “You represent more than 50 countries around the world,” he said. He then took the opportunity to do something different instead of the normal group photo, he and the other guests joined the crowd for a Stanley Cup photo, with children sprawled out like hockey goaltenders and the crowd yelling out “Oh Canada.”
For Tantley Razafindrabemanantsoa, a 20-year-old student who recently emigrated from Madagascar, this was a long day coming. “I’ve waited so long. This is great!” When asked what stood out for him today, he remarked on the high energy level. Already a volunteer in his community and a third-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa, Mr. Tantley sees the possibility of a career in the military, although he does not know yet what his immediate future holds for him.
His story was not unique and LGen Lamarre and CMP Chief Warrant Officer Chris Thibault, spoke with numerous people, many of whom asked directly about careers in the Canadian Armed Forces. Perhaps it was a reflection upon LGen Lamarre’s speech, which encouraged people to give back to the community and country in which they just became citizens, just days before the big celebrations in Ottawa.
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