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60 take oath to become Canadian citizens

Jul 03 2012

Sixty people originating from 32 different countries came together in the ballroom of Government House on Canada Day to be sworn in as citizens of Canada.

"This is the final step of becoming a Canadian citizen," said B.C. Lt.-Gov. Steven L. Point, telling those gathered to participate fully in Canadian life.

He congratulated the new citizens saying this is a great day for them as well as Canada.

As Ofe Anukpe, of Nigeria, 33, was called to the stage, friends and family cheered and hollered. The political scientist graduate joined family already in Saskatchewan in December 1999. After graduating from the University of Regina he headed further west.

"It's been a long journey to this day," Anukpe said. "I love it here."

On stage, Anukpe said he was honoured to call himself a Canadian citizen and that in his heart he was feeling "finally." His girlfriend from Nanaimo and family attended the ceremony.

It took Lucas Paz, 58, of Spain, decades to apply for his Canadian citizenship. He moved here with his wife in 1976. She got her citizenship about 20 years ago. The couple have since had two daughters — Vanessa, 25, and Jennifer, 27.

He kept thinking "one day, one day". That day was Canada Day.

"I feel proud," Paz said.

Despite missing family back home in England, Lee Ottewell, 45, knew as soon as he and his wife, Carole, and two sons Thomas, 16, and William, 13, moved to Victoria in 2004, that this was his home.

"England has changed, and not for the better," Ottewell said. "We came to Victoria for like three days and fell in love with it."

"It's like England used to be in some respects," Ottewell said. Carole said with the citizenship, she feels as if she truly belongs and looks forward to exercising her right to vote.

The couple both believe that Canada will offer their sons more opportunities.

Bambino DaSilva and wife Carol, both 41, and their daughter Chelsea — from India — were also sworn in as Canadian citizens Sunday.

For the DaSilvas, it was important that their two daughters — Katelyn, 5, was born here — have the more diverse educational experiences that they say Canada can provide.

"It's a totally different experience her for kids," Carol DaSilva said. "It's not so stressful from an educational point of view."

Here the family says it can live life to the fullest.


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