This federal election will have special meaning for Cloverdale’s Christine Steuckl. That’s because the 72-year-old will be voting in Canada for the first time, as she recently became a citizen.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I was never that interested (in elections) before because I could not vote.”
Steuckl said the first thing she did after gaining her citizenship was to look into who was running in the election for Cloverdale – Langley City.
“I picked up some flyers for the different candidates. I have to get to know them.”
Stueckl immigrated to Canada in 1995 and got her permanent residency in 1997. She added she always wanted to become a citizen, but because of her large family back in Germany, she didn’t want to lose her German citizenship. Until recently, Germany didn’t permit dual citizenship.
Now, she said, Germany has relaxed the rules a little bit.
“You have to fit certain criteria. They make decisions on a case-by-case basis, but you still have to go through a long process.”
When Steuckl found out the process had been streamlined, she filled out the application immediately.
Once she got approval from the German government, she was free to apply for Canadian citizenship.
Soon, she found herself in the middle of a room in Surrey with a bunch of other soon-to-be Canadians.
Steuckl said she was very nervous as she stepped into the ceremony room.
“For me, it wasn’t just a step. It meant something more.”
She said she always sang the national anthem at Canada Day celebrations, but she didn’t know all the words.
So, to prepare for her big day, she went on YouTube and watch videos of Oh, Canada over and over so she could learn all the words.
“Now I sing it everyday,” she said with a smile. “It’s like an earworm; it’s stuck in my head and I sing it all the time. I sang it on the way home from the ceremony. I sang it this morning.”
She took her oath along with a bunch of other new Canadians and that was it. She was a citizen.
“It feels great,” she said, about finally getting her citizenship. “Somehow it just feels great.”
Steuckl said when she first immigrated to Canada she lived out in Steelhead, north of Mission. “It felt like living at the end of the world,” she laughed. “It was right in the boonies. Behind us only forest.”
After a few years, Steuckl’s husband decided Canada and the boonies wasn’t for him, so he went back to Germany and so did her daughter. She decided to remain here with her son.
She said having her Permanent Resident card has been fine, for the most part. She noted she couldn’t vote, but she has also ran into visa problems when she goes to the U.S.
After she votes in a Canadian election for the first time, Steuckl said her next step will be to get her Canadian passport.
“And then, I’ll be settled,” she said. “This is a nice feeling.”