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A statement from our CEO on his first Canada Day as a citizen
Eight years ago, we lost our home to the war in Syria in the blink of an eye and four years later Canada said to our family, “Welcome home.” Now, there's nowhere else on the entire planet we would rather be!
On January 15th, 2020, the world watched as I was sworn in as a citizen of this country and life has never been the same. I became part of the amazing ‘Canadian Family’, and I am so happy to share this as I am about to celebrate my first official Canada Day as a proud citizen.
Since I first set foot on Canadain soil, I was treated like a citizen. I was welcomed into my new home with more care and warmth than I could ever imagine. I felt like I belonged. I have had the pleasure of sharing my days meeting thousands of Canadians while visiting almost every province and so many towns big and small. I’ve seen the Ottawa Senators play, survived harsh winters and experienced some beautiful summer days too. I have heard the stories of indigenous peoples, the past and current injustices that they still have to live through. I have visited lakes and oceans. I’ve met incredible entrepreneurs, politicians, community builders and volunteers. I have met many immigrants who made Canada their home by choice like me. Through it all, my fellow Canadians have shared their warm hearts and big dreams of what they want Canada to be.
To be a Canadian is the biggest honour of my life. This country was built by a broad range of people from a number of different nationalities and continues to thrive not in spite of, but because of our differences. Canada is a cultural mosaic in which all our diverse backgrounds come together to create a bigger, more beautiful picture of what Canada truly is and the values it represents.
We are a nation of peace, respect, fairness, inclusion, democracy, diversity, compassion, kindness, politeness and empathy. Being nice is what makes Canadians unique, being free and diverse is what makes us strong and "being humans" pledging to help those suffering around the world is what makes us selfless "human-beings".
We are a nation defined by hope and freedom to be the best you can be. Freedom came as a sacrifice by those the soldiers and veterans who served and we should never take it for granted. To all of those serving our amazing country, thank you.
This year, our country has endured a lot of tragedies, one after another. Our Canadian brothers and sisters have hurt. We are a big Canadian family and in times of test, family is best.
No country on Earth is perfect and we have our own failures, but when I became a Canadian citizen, I didn’t just sign up for the country’s excellence, I also owned its mistakes and failures and I will work hard everyday to leave Canada to our children better than I found it.
Today, I sing with pride:
"O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee"
On this Canada Day, I want to wish all Canadians a wonderful and safe celebration. I hope that this country can continue to imagine infinite possibilities and work hard to create them. I reaffirm my citizenship by swearing again that “I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen”.
Happy Canada Day to my country, so grateful to call you home.
Tareq Hadhad is the Founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate located in Antigonish Nova
Scotia and a public speaker. Hadhad wrote his Canadian Citizenship test on December 2, 2019 and took the Oath of Citizenship on January 15th 2020.
Peace by Chocolate opened for business in 2016 and now ships chocolate all around the world.
Prior to arriving in Canada, the Hadhad’s ran a successful chocolate business in the Middle East.