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80 Fort McMurray Residents From 32 Different Countries Officially Canadian Citizens

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7

80 Fort McMurray residents from 32 different countries can now officially call themselves Canadian citizens.

Two citizenship ceremonies took place at the Oil Sands Discovery Centre on Wednesday and Thursday where these new Canadian’s were officially sworn in.

On Thursday alone, 50 people from nine different countries became citizens.

More opportunities and higher wages is what convinced Semere Tesfay to move to Fort McMurray from Sudan.

Damodar and Vasanti Pradhan’s son was the reason the retired couple emigrated from Nepal.

While Paul Dhangal didn’t have any say on the matter as he was just a baby when his family came over from England.

After the ceremony, Dhangal, who has lived in Fort McMurray since 2010 and works as a Heavy Equipment Operator, told Mix News it feels “awesome” to finally be a citizen of this country.

“I waited 39 years for this day, I should have done this a long time ago.”

Tesfay echoes Dhangal’s sentiments, “I feel extraordinary today, I feel special today. Can’t be better than that.”

Now that Tesfay will soon have a Canadian passport, he says he’s excited to travel the world and every province and territory in Canada.

Meanwhile, the Pradhan’s now join their son, who become a citizen three years prior, as they sent him earlier to study in Canada.

Since moving to Fort McMurray, the couple spend much of their time volunteering for various social profits, including the United Way, St. Aiden’s Society, and the Golden Years Society. The Pradhan’s say this is something they look forward to continue doing in the future.

As part of the ceremony Thursday, Fort McMurray – Cold Lake MP David Yurdiga, Councilor Allan Vinni and Constituency Manager for Brian Jean and Tany Yao, Vaughn Jessome all took some time to speak to the group of new Canadians and welcome them.

Yurdiga called Canada “home” to everyone in attendance – encouraging new citizens to get involved, while Vinni highlighted Fort McMurray, Alberta and Canada as being a beacon of diversity as a town, province and as a country.

– With files from Brandon Piper

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