Queen’s celebrates swearing-in of 65 new Canadians

Queen’s celebrates swearing-in of 65 new Canadians

New Canadians and Black History Month feted during community roundtable and formal ceremony hosted by Queen’s and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

By Dave Rideout

February 26, 2020


Canada welcomed dozens of new citizens during a moving celebration held at Queen’s Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Organized by the university in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), the event welcomed 65 local citizenship candidates from 24 countries, their families, and members of the university and Kingston communities to mark the occasion and to join in enriching conversation about what it means to be, and become, Canadian.

“I want to congratulate you all and thank you for the opportunity to be with you in this celebration,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “I join with you in a feeling of great excitement and anticipation of what the future will bring to all of you, and to all of us as Canadians.”

Billed as an enhanced citizenship ceremony by the ICC – which partners to host 75 such events across the country each year – the celebration included a roundtable community discussion with citizenship candidates and Queen’s students, staff, and faculty, as well as the formal citizenship ceremony, and a special reception for new Canadians and their invitees.

“It is wonderful to hold this event on a university campus, because I think there is no greater force for the formation of a good, just, and equitable society than education and the personal development that comes with it,” says Principal Deane.

Co-founded and co-chaired by the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, and essayist and novelist John Ralston Saul, the ICC seeks to inspire inclusion and create opportunities to connect and encourage active citizenship through efforts like enhanced citizenship ceremonies.

Championing Black history

Each enhanced citizenship ceremony adopts a special theme through which celebrations and roundtable discussions can take on deeper and meaningful dimensions for the community. The Feb. 26 event at Queen’s marked Black History Month, providing community members, including new Canadians, an opportunity to recognize, reflect, and champion the experiences, achievements, and contributions of Black community members and families.

“The abilities and talents of people from all over the world are vital to our growth as a country and our sense of who we are as a community,” says Stephanie Simpson, Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion), who joined the lively roundtable discussions. “It is such a pleasure to hear people speak about their journeys from so many different places as we also celebrated Black History Month and reflected on the journeys and experiences of people of African descent.”

Citizenship Judge Marie Senécal-Tremblay, who presided over the oath of citizenship ceremony, further recognized Black History Month during her opening remarks. She drew special attention to the lives and careers of Jean Augustine, the first Black member of Canada’s Parliament; and of renowned Queen’s donor and alumni Robert Sutherland, who was not only the first Black university student and graduate but also the first Black lawyer in British North America.

“We are pleased to partner with Queen’s University to recognize Black History Month at this special citizenship ceremony,” says Amy Matchen, Managing Director of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship. “Today, we celebrate new citizens who come from all corners of the globe, and the contributions of Black Canadians to this country that we all call home."

For more on the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and enhanced citizenship ceremonies, visit the ICC website.