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60 join Canadian club in emotional Vancouver ceremony

07/02/2013 01:26 EDT | Updated 08/31/2013 05:12 EDT
It was a party in the sun outside Canada Place in downtown Vancouver on Canada Day, but the big event was inside, where 60 people from 30 different countries joined the Canadian family.

The Steiner family, from Brazil, applied three years ago for citizenship. Today, the four took their oaths, then moved in for a group hug.

Flavio Steiner flashed a wide grin as he described what the ceremony, and new status, meant for him.

"As we all said during this one hour, we all have duties and responsibilities at the same time that we have rights, but it's a very pleasant feeling," he said.

His wife, Andrea Steiner, had to wipe tears from her face during the proceedings.

"You have no idea how happy I am," she told CBC News.

A few seats away, Lina Khalifeh and her son Abdel-Aziz took the oath together as her husband, who is not yet Canadian, watched over her two other children, who were born here.

The Khalifeh family came to Canada from Syria, and Lina said she is still praying for the families there even though she is celebrating Canada Day as a new citizen.

"I feel, actually, very proud to be Canadian, and to be… it's a privilege to be a Canadian and especially on a day like Canada Day and I feel proud to be a member of the Canadian family," she said.

Roy Wong, the citizenship judge who swore them in, is also an immigrant, from China.

"As emotional as I am, as they are, I try to keep back the tears myself," he chuckled.

"It's certainly moving. I know some of the people there, and they struggled to come to Canada. It's a wonderful country to be in," Wong said.

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