Glad to become Canadian in Greater Victoria

Families gain citizenship at CFB Esquimalt, courtesy the admiral of Canada’s West Coast navy

  • May. 19, 2012 9:00 a.m.
Matthew Bott

Matthew Bott

Families gain citizenship  at CFB Esquimalt, courtesy the admiral of Canada’s West Coast navy

Megan Bott, 12, looks forward to one day voting in an election, now that she is a newly minted Canadian citizen.

“Not being able to vote is like not being able to have a choice in who leads,” the Grade 7 North Saanich middle school student said.

She was one of four children and 54 adults, representing 22 countries, who officially became Canadian citizens at a ceremony at CFB Esquimalt last Thursday.

Megan, younger brother Matthew, 11, and their parents emigrated from Guernsey island in the English Channel in 2004 and now call North Saanich home.

At the ceremony, one of the final steps to becoming a citizen was for each candidate to recite the Oath of Citizenship, led by Rear Admiral Nigel Greenwood, commander of Maritime Forces Pacific. The oath is a promise of loyalty to the Queen, that Canadian laws will be followed and that new citizens’ will respect their duties as Canadians.

Greenwood’s involvement marked the first time in Western Canada that a military member administered the Oath of Citizenship.

Last October Jason Kenney, federal Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, gave that privilege to recipients of the Order of Military Merit.

Prior to that, guest presiding officers included the governor general, lieutenant governors and Order of Canada recipients.

“In finding your place in Canada, as its newest citizens, you can claim the common collective history of all Canadians who have come before you,” Greenwood told the candidates.

He came to Canada from England as a child.

Selena Chen, 10, who moved to Canada from the U.S. when she was two, said her new citizenship “feels good.”

“It’s important, because we’ve been living here for quite a long time, and we’ve been waiting to become citizens of Canada,” said the Saanich resident, a Grade 5 student at Torquay elementary.

Her mother and father, who hail from China, also became Canadian citizens.

Miles Packham, 9, decided to wear his Cub Scout uniform to mark the occasion.

“I could have worn plenty of other things,” said Miles, a Grade 4 student at the Victoria School for Ideal Education in Oaklands. “But if I’m going to meet the admiral, I thought I should look something slightly the same as the admiral.”

He and his parents built a new life in Saanich after leaving their home in London, England about five years ago.

Miles’ citizenship has been a long time coming. “I’m finally a Canadian citizen,” he said, before taking a big bite of red and white cake.

emccracken@vicnews.com