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‘It’s a wonderful day’: 55 new Canadian citizens welcomed in Halifax

55 new Canadians welcomed in Halifax
A special citizenship ceremony was held on Halifax's naval base on Saturday, welcoming immigrants from 22 countries. But as Jeremy Keefe tells us, this event had an extra special meaning for the 55 new Canadians.

A special citizenship ceremony was held on Halifax’s naval base on Saturday to welcome 55 new Canadian citizens.

With a massive Canadian flag in the background, immigrants from 22 countries took the Oath of Citizenship at HMCS Scotian.

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For Ghenwa Bteddini of Lebanon, the event was a long time coming for her family.

“It’s a wonderful day,” she said. “We are so happy and so proud to be Canadian.”

The Bteddinis left Lebanon four-and-a-half years ago, with a priority of moving to a peaceful country. But Ghenwa says they were surprised by how well her family was received.

“From the beginning when we came here, they were always beside us if we need any help,” she said. “This is really like, all my respect for them.”

New Canadians take an unconventional first step as citizens
New Canadians take an unconventional first step as citizens

And when asked why they chose Canada, there was no hesitation in the answer from the mother of two girls, ages 10 and 12.

“Honestly, it’s for the future of our family and for my daughters,” said Ghenwa. “It’s a great day for us we will never forget.”

“I just feel super happy and excited,” added her daughter, 10-year-old Mariella Nasr.

Cmdr. Paul Hinkins, commanding officer of HMCS Scotian, also immigrated to Canada when he was 10. He says taking part in Saturday’s ceremony was surreal.

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“It’s a very emotional moment for me,” he said. “These individuals who’ve chosen to make this country their home, chosen to adopt this country’s values, to welcome them … it’s hard to describe it.

“Very emotional and a privilege to meet every one of them.”

READ MORE: Syrian refugee who founded Peace by Chocolate to become Canadian citizen

The event was held on National Flag of Canada Day, marking the 55th anniversary of the Canadian flag.