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Forty new Canadians get citizenship at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan

Eight-year-old Zohaib Jabeen and his mother Rukhshanda Jabeen recite the oath of citizenship during their ceremony under the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan tent in Saskatoon on July 11, 2017.
Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix

A different kind of drama took the stage at Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan on Tuesday as 40 new Canadians received their official citizenship.

The citizenship ceremony took place at the main stage on a cloudy morning, but the weather wasn’t going to dampen the spirits of the new citizens or the friends and family that came out to support them. 

“It feels like you got your birth certificate. It’s your birth, in Canada,” Rajbir Volk said.

Originally from India, Volk has done a lot since coming to Canada — including meeting her husband  and starting a family in Saskatchewan. Now living in Unity, Volk was the last of her immediate family to get citizenship. For her, it means joining her husband and children as official Canadian citizens. 

“It’s kind of like a completion. We’re all Canadians, all four of us,” Volk said. 

Volk said she loves being a part of a small, close-knit community in Unity, where she can work a job she enjoys at the credit union and volunteer in the community. 

The venue was a bit different than normal citizenship ceremonies, Jim Miller said. A member of the Order of Canada and a professor emeritus of history at the University of Saskatchewan, Miller was the presiding official at Tuesday’s ceremony.

While he joked that he can’t remember exactly how many ceremonies he’s presided over, he said being part of a ceremony during Canada 150th adds a small something extra to the event.

“That’s just the sort of gilt on the edge of everything,” Miller added. He also said citizenship ceremonies are always a fun time, and new citizens are always “so full of optimism and great plans.” 

Joining Miller onstage was a small group of delegates and speakers including Saskatoon MP Kevin Waugh, University of Regina professor Judy White, former city police officer Ernie Louttit, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’s Alan Long, and April Sora from the City of Saskatoon. 

For Mohammad Daud Ali Usain, who came to Canada through Kyrgyzstan from Afghanistan, it was hard to put into words what it meant to finally get citizenship in Canada. 

“I moved from my first country in 1983 or ’84. I had no citizenship for [a] long, long time,” Ali Usain said. “You know, I can’t tell you one thing. (Getting citizenship) is lots of things for me.”

Throughout the ceremony, smiles lit up the faces of the crowd of soon-to-be Canadian citizens. After getting that official piece of paper and taking their seat in the stands again, everyone still kept those big grins. 

Saeed Ahmed became a citizen on Tuesday alongside other members of his family on Tuesday.

Originally from Pakistan, Ahmed said the ceremony was the culmination of a decades-long dream to become a Canadian. Ever since reading an article about Canada while in university in Pakistan, Ahmed said he’s wanted to come live here. 

“I like everything in Canada… especially the people,” Ahmed said. 

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