Canada’s latest Canadians heading out to vote

Anas Alargha Almasri, 39, could not cease smiling all through his citizenship ceremony with youngsters Lilyan, 13, Tarek, 12, and Yousef, 5, on Friday. His spouse, Eman Awad, 30,has to attend a bit longer for her citizenship.

Julie Oliver / Postmedia

On Friday, Anas Alargha Almasri turned a Canadian. On Monday, he’ll vote right here for the primary time.

You couldn’t cease him in the event you tried.

“As a result of that’s my accountability,” he defined as he waited for Friday morning’s citizenship ceremony to start.

“I must return to Canada what she gave me. She gave me house. I’ll give my voice as a result of I must construct this nation. This nation is now my nation.

“I’m so glad, with my household,” he mentioned, carrying the most important smile you could possibly match onto a human face.

Anas Alargha Almasri, 39, reveals off his citizenship doc together with youngsters Lilyan, 13, Tarek, 12, and Yousef, 5.

Julie Oliver /


They’ve been right here for 3 years and 7 months and spent 4 years earlier than that in Jordan after fleeing the struggle in Syria in 2012. The household initially lived in Damascus.

As we speak Anas and his spouse, Eman Awad, stay in a co-op in Sandy Hill, which they discovered with the assistance of a gaggle of strangers who got here collectively to sponsor them.

They’ve three youngsters, Lilyan, 13; Tarek, 12; and Yousef, 5, who additionally turned residents Friday. (Their mom continues to be ready.)

And there are many different model new Canadians eligible to vote. Kathryn Jarrett-Ekholm, an official from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, handed out citizenship papers to 80 folks from 30 nations in one in all three ceremonies on Friday.

Elections Canada confirmed that every one they wanted to do was to have the ability to show their identities and addresses and so they might register at polling stations on voting day.

4-year-old Zinav Bassel Alismail raises her proper hand to take the oath of citizenship together with her household of seven from Syria throughout a ceremony Friday.

Julie Oliver /


Canada has taken in 58,000 Syrians since 2015, Jarrett-Ekholm instructed the newcomers and spectators. “This 12 months, a lot of them have gotten residents and a few of them could also be amongst us right now.

“You will have the proper to vote,” she instructed them. “As our latest Canadians you’ve gotten the basic proper to vote, and I’d encourage you all to benefit from this.”

Jerry and Cathryn Fortier, two of the Alargha Almasri household’s sponsors, watched Friday’s ceremony.

“They’ve finished super-well. They’re extraordinarily motivated and so they have his brother right here already. There’s a large sponsorship group of a couple of dozen people who find themselves carefully concerned and one other 20 or 30” who additionally assist, Cathryn Fortier mentioned.

“I feel the language is the most important stumbling block, and Anas has such a drive and such a glowing persona to be taught it.”

The group has supported the household whereas Anas has been at school studying English, relying on this to repay with job prospects in the long term, “and he has responded in spades,” Jerry Fortier mentioned.

The sponsors didn’t know one another to start with. All of them attended a gathering for individuals who wished to be taught extra about sponsoring, met there and coalesced from that. They embrace a lawyer, somebody who works in actual property, one other who runs a daycare and others with a spread of experience and neighborhood connections.

And so they raised funds: $35,000 within the first 12 months since there was no authorities monetary help throughout that point apart from the Canada youngster profit.

“So we have been doing the leg work, however there have been a lot of folks giving cash,” Cathryn Fortier mentioned.

“We set them up with a price range and really quickly they took it over and managed it themselves,” Jerry mentioned, “and so they responded superbly.”

Not everybody made it to the tip of Friday’s citizenship ceremony. One-year-old Razan Bassel Alismail falls asleep on her mom’s shoulder simply earlier than the Syrian household of seven acquired their citizenship certificates.

Julie Oliver /


There have been hugs throughout after the ceremony after the seven-year journey from Syria by means of Jordan and on to changing into Canadians was completed. And images. A number of pictures.

“Totally different lives, totally different tradition, the whole lot right here is totally different,” Anas mentioned, “however so stunning as a result of Canada has a lot tradition that makes Canada a novel nation.”