We asked ourselves what we could do for our country. Our families came to Canada in the late 70s, not as refugees fleeing from another country, but by choice as economic immigrants. Our parents had just enrolled us in elementary schools and like everyone else they sought a better life for us. We have created the Canadian Federation for Citizenship (CFC) during Canada's 150th Anniversary of Confederation to celebrate being Canadian, to appreciate the countless opportunities presented to us and to give back generously.
We believe that when immigrants become citizens, a meaningful venture begins, not just for them but for all of us in Canada. Citizenship is an incredible milestone… we remember when it was granted to our parents four decades ago as permanent residents of Canada. But we feel that it must also be considered valuable to our children who are born in this country like so many others. Bottom line, citizenship should be valued no matter who we are – regardless of our national or ethnic origin, age, gender, race, religion, and ability.
Certainly new citizens, like our parents once were, knew how fortunate they were and still are to be in Canada. Let's also be clear that natural citizens by birth like our children, who are now post secondary students, do know exactly how to be open and welcoming.
However, it is when these two things happen simultaneously that we can cultivate “Homegrown Leadership” - leadership arising out of a true sense of belonging and genuine appreciation for one's pluralist nation. It is with this intention of developing a new generation of homegrown leaders, uniting all citizens and residents of Canada that we established the Canadian Federation for Citizenship.
Jenny Gulamani-Abdulla, JD
Ghalib Abdulla, CPA