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MP Ron Cannan (Middle Left) and Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGinty (Middle Right) with members of the Dragoons (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)
A special event took place in Kelowna Tuesday morning as the government helps celebrate Citizenship Week in Canada.
Kelowna Lake Country MP Ron Cannan was on hand to welcome a new Kelowna and Canadian citizen who was able to gain citizenship through the recently launched fast track provision. Available to those who are members of the Canadian Armed Forces, the new citizenship reform helped Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGinty become a Canadian one year faster than normal.
The new measures improve the Citizenship Act in four ways, according to Cannan.
“Firstly to reinforce the value of citizenship, secondly to strengthen the integrity of the system and counter fraudulent attempts to gain citizenship,” explains Cannan. “Third is to improve the process by which new comers become Canadian citizens and help applicants get their citizenship sooner and lastly, we honour those who helped serve our country and the Canadian Armed Forces and fast track their citizenship.”
MP Ron Cannan speaking about Citizenship Week (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)
On September 12th, 2014 McGinty became the first person in Kelowna to become a Canadian citizen under the new measures. McGinty, originally from the United Kingdom, said the decision to bring his family to Canada was an easy one.
“Much of the reason I brought my family to Canada is because of Canada’s global reputation as a nation that not just recognizes but perpetuates those values of citizenship,” said McGinty. “Not only at home but overseas, I am extremely grateful to the government and people of Canada for having offered this fast track of citizenship for those of us who were not citizens but nevertheless served with the Canadian Armed Forces and have been recognized for having stood on guard for Canada.”
MP Ron Cannan (left) and Lieutenant Colonel Michael McGinty (Photo Credit: KelownaNow.com)
In August Canada welcomed its 150,000th new citizen, more than double the number from last year. For a member of the Canadian Armed Forces to become a citizen they must serve in the country for at least 730 days or live in the country for at least three years. The new Citizenship Act came into law on June 19th, 2014.