Durham welcomes its newest Canadians

Love the old country, but love Canada more.

Those gentle words of advice from Citizenship Judge Philip Gaynor continue to resonate after 40 new Canadians took an oath of citizenship this week in Durham Region.

The group, all of whom have made homes here in their adopted country, hail from far-flung corners of the earth. There is young Norbert Balint from Romania, a Pickering high school student who aspires to become a police officer. There is Samuel Greenaway, a Whitby resident who arrived in Canada 18 years ago from the Caribbean island of Dominica, a new Canadian who has come to prefer the crisp cold and drifts of Canadian winters over that of summer humidity. There is Jeremiah Adubasim, a Nigerian native who travelled the world, including Canada, who “knew I must come back here to live.”

Their stories share a common thread with the others who joined them on Wednesday: the lure of a nation built on diversity, steeped in a tradition of tolerance and acceptance, and focused on the future.

We welcome these newest residents of Durham Region, share in their celebration, and acknowledge their choice to call Canada home. But, as Judge Gaynor noted Wednesday, with the rights that come with being Canadian, there also comes responsibilities.

To that end — bolstered by the eloquent words of Judge Gaynor in welcoming this crop of Canadians — we hope that our new neighbours continue to add value and weight to their communities, and encourage them to embrace even more fully the best that Durham and Canada have to offer.

It’s true that much of Canada’s strength is found in its diversity. It’s true that our nation holds much potential, driven by people like you, like Jeremiah Adubasim, like Norbert Balint and like Judge Gaynor, himself a native of Ireland who emigrated in 1963.

We extend a warm and hearty handshake to our newest fellow Canadians, welcome them once again, and share in a hopeful wish for their continued success.

Canada is a great nation, and truly a place one can call home. As the good judge noted: “Love the old country, but love Canada more.”

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