Dimitri de Morea

Talking to (new) Canadians

Established Canadians join newcomers in a discussion at Saanich rec centre on what it means to be a citizen of Canada

Lumberjacks, maple syrup, beaver tails and mounted police. Most of us are aware of the stereotypes associated with being Canadian.

But how do new citizens perceive their Canadian identities?

In an afternoon of round table talks with existing Canadians and community leaders April 26 at Pearkes recreation centre, 50 new citizens discussed active citizenship and shared their experiences.

The talks were aimed at discovering how to connect new citizens in the community and create an opportunity for newcomers to learn from established Canadians.

Dimitri de Morea, a clinical counsellor from France who attended with his wife, felt it necessary to become a “full-fledged member of society,” after moving to Canada, he said.

“(Being Canadian) means respecting the law, traditions and values of Canada and representing them as well as I can and contributing to further ameliorate or enhance our society,” de Morea said.

Veronica Osborn, co-organizer with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship’s Victoria Committee, calls the discussions a tremendous experience for both new and existing Canadians.

“I’m an immigrant and I remember what it was like as a newcomer to Canada,” Osborn said. “We always learn so much from sitting down with people who have decided to make Canada their home. It’s very inspiring.”