By Mo Cranker on April 24, 2017.
The annual Citizenship Court ceremonies took place Saturday morning at the Provincial Courthouse, where 32 people were sworn in as Canadian citizens.
During the ceremony the new citizens sung the national anthem, performed the Oath of Citizenship and were handed their citizenship certificates by former MLA Jim Horsman.
“I’ve been doing these for about 10 years now and they’re an exciting day,” Horsman said. “Yesterday more than 100 people were sworn in in Brooks. Today we’re swearing in more than 30 and it is great to see all of these people becoming an official part of the country.
The 32 new citizens hailed from 19 different countries, including Syria, Iraq, South Africa, Egypt, India and Ivory Coast.
Horsman says the day really is an important one for those being sworn in.
“This is a very big thing for these people — it can really change their lives,” he said. “Every person here has a different story and a different reason for becoming a Canadian citizen. Whether it may be to re-join family or to escape war or persecution, but all of these people will change their lives in a very big way.”
Mayor Ted Clugston was part of the ceremony and says it’s a very big day for all of these people and the city.
“This is such a big day for so many people,” he said. “It was very great to see how happy people were to live in this country and to be a part of Canada — all of them bring something different to the table and we’re glad to have them in Medicine Hat.”
Alongside thecitizenship ceremony, Saturday also marked the annual Law Day event.
The event is exactly what it sounds like, said organizer Darin Wight.
“This is a day held to get people into the courthouse and to show them around,” he said. “As a lawyer I believe it is important for people to come here and take a tour, see the inside of a court room and to just familiarize themselves with the building as a whole.”
The day featured mock trials, court house tours, information sessions and featured representatives from legal aid groups, as well as the Medicine Hat Police Service and the Medicine Hat Firefighters. Wight says he thinks it is important for people to know what help is available to them.
“The court room should often be a last resort,” he said. “There’s so many different organizations around the city that can help you before you have to end up in the courthouse — we want people young and old to understand that.”
Another reason the group holds the annual event is to bring a lighter look to the courthouse says Wight.
“People don’t generally think happy things when they think about the court house,” he said. “By getting families in here we can show that what the building is about and why it is such an important place in the community.”