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Proud of Our New Citizens

"Margret Osbaldeston"

Where would Canada be without new citizens? Every year we welcome thousands to Canada. People who arrive and enrich our country. Most born Canadians take citizenship for granted. We shouldn't. Canadian citizenship is the most prized possession a person can have. Just ask citizenship court judge Margret Osbaldeston of Edmonton, "We can't really blame us born Canadians, we know no other Life. But we are learning to have a country pride. We are learning to realize just how much we really have, and what we must guard and protect."

Judge Osbaldeston is herself a remarkable woman. I attended one of her new citizenship swearing in ceremonies. I was impressed by her intense personal commitment and concern for each new citizen she swore in. Later, in her chambers she told me a touching story of a young Vietnamese man who arrived in Canada, was taken in by a church group, found employment as a dishwasher, studied English, became a woodworker apprentice, and within 4 years was appearing before her for his hearing of his application for Canadian citizenship. When she advised him he would be sworn in at her next swearing in ceremony, tears came to his eyes, "Oh. Judge, thank you”, he said, "May I now sing you a song? It's the most beautiful song in the world." The judge wondered what he had in mind, but gave her approval anyway. The young Vietnamese pulled himself up to his full 5 feet 2 inches, filled his lungs till she thought he would burst, and sang for her what he believed to be the most beautiful song in the world. He sang, word for word in a loud clear voice, a most touching rendition of "0' Canada".

Tell that to the next person you hear speak critically of Canada. Remind the person that we Canadians are a small minority of only 25 million people in a world population exceeding 5 billion people. Millions of people in other countries would give their very soul to change places with us in a moment. Anyone who doubts me need only ask judge Osbaldeston, or anyone associated with the citizenship court.

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