By RON FANFAIR
Mary Ofosu had a few reasons for wanting to make Canada her new home. Her husband lived here and this country was at the top of her list if she was ever going to migrate from Ghana to reside in a new environment.
Ofosu was among 60 newcomers who received their citizenship at the Toronto Police College (TPC) last week.
“This is a big day and one which I was looking forward to for the last two years when I could say I am Canadian,” said the married mother. “Most people have dreams that never come true. I am fortunate in that my dream was fulfilled.”
This was the first time that the state-of-the-art TPC hosted a citizenship ceremony.
“Certainly, this is a proud day for me and our organization,” said Superintendent Peter Lennox, the college’s unit commander. “If I started walking now, I would reach the place where I was born in a couple of hours. I know I am part of a small community. It was exciting to be part of something that was never part of my life. The police (are) an integral part of the community and what we have done here today demonstrates that we are an approachable segment of that community.”
Etobicoke-Lakeshore Member of Parliament, James Maloney, reminded the newcomers that immigrants shaped Canada over many generations.
“People coming from around the world have helped make this country what it is today,” he said. “I have no doubt you will continue to make Canada even stronger. Like many who have come to Canada before you, you have made enormous sacrifices so that you, your children and future generations could know the unique freedoms and opportunity that come with being Canadian. You have chosen to make Canada your home because of the values it holds dear.”
Maloney urged the new Canadians to proudly exhibit everything that their citizenship represents.
“When you took the oath today, you inherited the legacy of those that have come before you,” he said. “Preserve this heritage and create a new one for the next generation of Canadians.”
Citizenship judge Albert Wong, who migrated from Malaysia in 1971 and enjoyed a 38-year career with the Royal Canadian Navy, presided over the citizenship ceremony.
“I recognize it took hard work and determination for you to reach here today,” he said. “For some, the journey has been relatively easy while for others, it has been more difficult as you had to overcome obstacles while adjusting to living in a new environment. Learning how things are done here in Canada can sometimes be challenging and confusing, especially when working in a new language. How you came to Canada and how you chose to become a Canadian citizen will now add to the mosaic that makes this country so attractive to all of us.”
Assistant Deputy Chief Richard Stubbings welcomed the new Canadians and urged them to consider developing a relationship with the TPS.
“We encourage you to become part of our police service and you can do so by volunteering as we have many of those opportunities,” he said. “You are part of making Toronto a safe place to be. We need you and we want to work with you. Also, never feel intimidated to approach one of our officers. There is nothing you cannot ask a police officer.”