Mr. Speaker, 127 individuals from 38 countries recently attended a citizenship ceremony in my home town of Hamilton. Each of these individuals, representing all points of the globe, swore an oath committing themselves to Canada and sang the national anthem for the first time as Canadian citizens.
This ceremony is one of thousands that takes place each year across our great country. Indeed, last year more than 2,000 ceremonies were held, which welcomed 167,000 newcomers to our shores. The importance of these events must never be taken for granted. For new Canadians the citizenship ceremony marks the fulfillment of dreams that are often many years in the making.
Anyone who has ever attended a citizenship ceremony will tell us what a moving experience it is. It moves us because it reminds us of how very lucky we are as Canadians to live in a country whose values, ethics and principles of multicultural co-operation are admired the world over.
By warmly welcoming new citizens into our Canadian family, we further assist them with their integration into our society so that they can have the earliest opportunity to contribute fully to our collective life.