Institute for Canadian Citizenship

Created by the former Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson and her husband John Ralston Saul, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship is dedicated to ” assist new Canadians to bridge the gap from immigrant to fully-engaged citizen”.

I’ve recently came across a video o a ceremony of citizenship organized by this institute. The man presenting the ceremony is John Ralston Saul and I recognized in the audience in one scene John Fraser, Master of Massey College, my college at U of T.

A bit of background on the Institute:

Universally acknowledged as revitalizing the office of Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul visited almost 400 Canadian communities during her six-year mandate.  Through community roundtables and discussions with citizen and immigrant groups they gained an unprecedented understanding of Canadians’ views on public policy and social trends. 

As they visited communities in every region of Canada, Madame Clarkson and Mr. Saul saw a myriad of local innovative and cutting-edge community programmes welcoming new immigrants and helping them make the transition to citizenship.  Volunteers in communities around Canada are solidifying and renewing the country as they find ways to help newcomers become citizens.

Over the six years of her mandate, Madame Clarkson and Mr. Saul were increasingly invited to give leadership addresses to receptive and questioning audiences in places where people are struggling with this issue – such as Germany, Holland, Russia, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and at European Union meetings.  Because of their recognized commitment to and knowledge of this area, in the short period since leaving office they have been regularly solicited for their views on this important subject.

Madame Clarkson and Mr. Saul articulate a concept of compassionate citizenship, providing compelling insights into our shared history and engaging Canadians in a spirited dialogue about the common good.  Much of this is grounded in the reality of Madame Clarkson’s own experience as a refugee and immigrant to Canada at the age of three.

As they prepared to leave Rideau Hall, they decided to found the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.  This new national, not-for-profit organization will initiate projects to foster discussion and understanding of the values associated with Canadian citizenship and help to bridge the gap between newly-arrived immigrant and fully engaged citizen.

Since the 1960s the government of Canada has honoured Governors General as they leave office by ensuring that they may continue to contribute to Canadian society in relation to the themes pursued while in office.  Therefore, the Government of Canada has made a financial contribution to enable the establishment of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship, with Madame Clarkson and Mr. Saul as Co-chairs.

Taken from the ICC website, which lists its Canadian context, objectives and activities.


Author: guerson

Historian. Teacher. Knitter. Passionate for bringing people together and building bridges.

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