Thursday, September 24, 2015

Our first Citizenship Act was introduced in the House of Commons - 1947

Picture
Until 1947, there was no such thing as Canadian citizenship.  Even our Prime Minister William Lyon MacKenzie King, who served the country so ably during World War II, was a British citizen.  On January 3, 1947 when the first citizenship ceremony was held, our Prime Minister was one of the first to become truly Canadian. 

Our first Citizenship Act was introduced in the House of Commons with these words which still apply:
Our "new Canadians" bring to this country much that is rich and good, and in Canada they find a new way of life and new hope for the future. They should all be made to feel that they, like the rest of us, are Canadians, citizens of a great country, guardians of proud traditions and trustees of all that is best in life for generations of Canadians yet to be. For the national unity of Canada and for the future and greatness of this country it is felt to be of utmost importance that all of us, new Canadians or old, have a consciousness of a common purpose and common interests as Canadians; that all of us are able to say with pride and say with meaning: "I am a Canadian citizen."
Canada is an immigrant country.  Except for our first nations, we are all immigrants or their descendants in this country.  In 1947, soon after the end of World War II, many Europeans came to Canada in search of a better life. When I was a young girl my Mother and Father were granted Canadian Citizenship. I was the first of their children born in Canada. When we attended the Citizenship ceremony, each family in attendance was presented with a Bible. Black cover, gold lettering on the cover and red trimmed pages, it was beautiful. The Bible was a gift from the Canadian Bible Society and below the address for the society was 
"We pray that God may bless you in the land which has become your home." On the very next page was as follows;
The Bible From the Coronation Services
of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Patron of the British and Foreign Bible Society
"OUR GRACIOUS QUEEN, WE PRESENT YOU
WITH THIS BOOK, THE MOST VALUABLE
THING THAT THIS WORLD AFFORDS. HERE
IS WISDOM; THIS IS THE ROYAL LAW; THESE
ARE THE LIVELY ORACLES OF GOD."

I still have that Bible today.