ARCHIVED – Speaking notes for the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism at a special citizenship ceremony with Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Gatineau, Quebec, July 1, 2011
Your Excellencies, Your Royal Highnesses, guests of honour and future citizens of this great country, today we mark the 144th anniversary of our great Dominion at this and at 43 other citizenship ceremonies across Canada from Gander to Whitehorse.
In a few moments you, our candidates for citizenship, will take the oath to become Canadians by swearing to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, her heirs and successors. You will do so for the first time in the history of Canadian citizenship in the presence of one of her heirs, who we hope will in the fullness of time become one of her successors as the King of Canada.
Canada is a monarchy and has been represented by a governor general since the founding of New France some 400 years ago. Indeed today we celebrate the 144th anniversary of the foundation of the Dominion of Canada as a constitutional monarchy animated by our Westminster Parliamentary democracy.
During this ceremony, new citizens swear allegiance to their new country in the person of the Queen of Canada, our sovereign head of state. In return, they receive the guarantee of our freedom, democracy and constitutional rights reaching back to the Magna Carta and into the future under Her Majesty’s heirs and successors.
That is the meaning of the citizenship oath, and it is something we should all value. As we mark the birth of this great Dominion, we celebrate our many freedoms, rights and responsibilities as well as our history, symbols, events, institutions and the values that define us as Canadians and give us our identity.
The founders of our country deliberately designed a system of government with the Crown as the source and centre of it and, as our Charter says, upon principles which recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law. At the same time, Canada’s royal family represents something more. They represent the ongoing and everlasting vitality of the Crown and its continuing place in our lives and in our hearts. They represent the future with all its hopes and dreams.
Those of you who are becoming Canadian citizens today also represent the future, our future. You contribute your experiences, your talents, your skills and your ideas, and in so doing, you are helping build a better, stronger Canada. We are grateful that you have chosen this country to be your home and we are proud to welcome you as the newest Canadians. I encourage you all to remember our past and play an active role in shaping our future by preserving our values and traditions while upholding your responsibilities as citizens.
Thirty-eight years ago in Regina, Saskatchewan, Her Majesty the Queen spoke these words: “
Canada asks no citizens to deny their forebears, to forsake their inheritance, only that each should accept and value the cultural freedom of others as he enjoys his own. It is a gentle invitation, this call to citizenship” she said. To all of you receiving this gentle invitation today, cherish it, value it and honour it as you become citizens of this great country.
On behalf of the Government of Canada and our Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, congratulations to all of you. Thank you. God Save the Queen.
To view the speech by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, at the special July 1 citizenship ceremony, please visit www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=14183.
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