(This event is a fundraiser for the Richmond Hill Federal Liberal Riding Association.)
The April 12 event at Tartu College intends to reflect the opposition Liberal point of view of foreign relations between Canada and the Baltic region (Poland included here with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), as explained by the Right Honourable Bob Rae, the newly minted MP for Toronto-Centre and the Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic and the Honourable Bryon Wilfert, PC, MP, for Richmond Hill and Vice-Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs.
That qualification is very important, as Canada presently is dealing with a minority government. The opposition’s viewpoint can change, influence or even instigate the passing of any legislation.
Also speaking will be Laas Leivat, former President and current political consultant of the Estonian Central Council.
Wilfert recently received the Estonian Central Committee’s Medal of Merit, awarded for notable and long-term work on behalf of Estonia and Estonians in Canada. Of particular importance was Wilfert’s speaking out in the House of Commons on behalf of Estonia during the riots in Tallinn over the moving of the "Bronze soldier" in April 2007.
Rae, who is part Lithuanian, recently ran for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party. He was the New Democratic Party (he changed his mind) Premier of Ontario between the years of 1990 and 1995. When the Baltic States regained independence after Soviet occupation, the Lithuanian (Baltic) part kicked in and Rae became active in the movement to support the Baltic nations.
As Rae had been elected President of the Socialist International his voice became loudest with those of the left when he demanded freedom for the Baltics, cutting off arguments of the pro Soviets.
Rae went to Lithuania to help monitor the nation’s first elections after declaring regaining of independence, which came at the heels of seven people being killed.
When Premier of Ontario Rae approved supporting Estonia with $ 1.5 million dollars, this at a time when the nation needed such support the most.
The event is being organized by award winning Canadian-Estonian filmmaker Marcus Kolga, Canadian -Estonian businessman Uno Jaason and the Richmond Hill Federal Liberal Riding Association. It will be held at Tartu College, 310 Bloor Street West on Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 4:30pm. Tickets are $50 (as its a political contribution it amounts to $22 after the rebate during election time) for adults and $15 for youth under 26.
It will be fascinating to hear the position of the opposition on the question of the Baltics.
A discussion on Canadian foreign policy in the Baltic region