About 90 new Canadians took the citizenship oath in a galaxy not so far, far away.
The ceremony had been delayed by the 2014 Parliament Hill attack.
We have in our midst many newcomers who were forced to flee their homelands, but live in constant fear of being found and forced to return. Their need to escape to this county was just as great as that of the Syrians, and yet that need is often not recognized.
Until recently, some of my American friends continued to urge me to return "home'. They said I must find it boring to be in Canada. Or that I must get tired of the cold; or the high taxes; or the dipsy-doodle currency we affectionately call the loonie. The truth is, I am home. And it feels pretty good.
Truthfully, unless you are a member of our indigenous peoples, we are all immigrants, regardless if you gained your citizenship yesterday or 16 generations ago. Historically, immigrants and refugees who adopted Canada as their country of choice contributed to the development of Canada's social, economic and civil fabric.
Who do Canadians trust to shepherd our country though what may be a coming turbulence? Our current election sees once more a plethora of "Star candidates" that normal Canadians know nothing about -- and their victory or defeat will have nothing to do with the very little light that these stars emit.
The government used its new power to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists for the first time on Friday.
While Canada Day is usually a time to celebrate the swearing in of new citizens, this year will be the first time that their citizenship will be marked with an asterisk, thanks to Harper's passage of Bill C-24. The new law threatens dual citizens and immigrants to Canada with revocation of their citizenship. Now, citizenship can be revoked by a Citizenship Officer without a live hearing, without opportunity for appeal, without a judge, and for reasons other than a fraudulent application.
Along with the widely-publicized sentencing of a Canadian journalist in Egypt, several other Canadians are currently being held abroad under dubious circumstances and critics say the Canadian government has repeatedly let them down. "Over the past decade a growing number of Canadian citizens and permanent residents have experienced serious human rights violations in other countries, while imprisoned by governments or held by armed groups," says Amnesty International on its website.
Given political goings-on it's no wonder people are checking out of the political world and channelling their energies elsewhere. But imagine if, in the same way we celebrate volunteers, we celebrated people who take the time to be political.