All candidates welcome
The Estonian Central Council in Canada is a nationally elected organization representing Canadians of Estonian heritage and has been recognized as such by Canada for over 55 years.
The body is re-elected every four years and acts as a national “parliament” where members discuss issues relevant to the Estonian experience in Canada, relations with Estonia, Estonia’s geo-political realities, etc. On these same questions the Council, from time to time, convenes a Congress of Estonian-Canadian organizations to find consensus and a unified direction on related issues.
During the Soviet occupation years the primary goals were well defined: maintain a viable community in the west that can help in the fight for Estonia’s re-established independence. Maintaining and developing a vibrant, cohesive, goal-oriented community seemed effortless. The community resonated to the same wave-length: Estonia’s possible escape from Soviet rule depended on our survival in the West. It didn’t matter whether the mission was or wasn’t grounded in reality.
Straightforward issues carried our lobbying efforts. In reminding the West of Soviet collusion with Nazi Germany, their aggression against and illegal annexation of the Baltic States, in exposing Soviet violations of human rights, it was easy to find allies amongst Western governments, politicians and media. While any suggestion of confrontation with Moscow was considered extremist, our mission was seen as just and our message easy to convey – the replacement of foreign communist repression with indigenous self-determination and democracy.
The challenges are more daunting now. Since Estonia’s re-independence, many derive their sense of “Estonianism” from Estonia. Estonia now is a tangible, authentic land of heritage, governing its own destiny, a place with which one can identify. A feeling of community abroad is much more difficult to maintain.
Lobbying efforts for the Council are much more complicated now. Other than Estonia few perceive any urgency with issues such as the Russian-Estonian unresolved border problem, Moscow’s denial of the Soviet period as foreign occupation, gaining international condemnation of the atrocities of communist regimes, etc. These are problems that continue to plague Moscow-Tallinn relations. The Kremlin’s propaganda sources far exceed any historical education campaign that Estonia can muster. Estonia’s diplomatic corps is simply too small and tasked with ongoing responsibilities to devote the needed effort on these questions.
The Council does maintain the “Estore” in Estonian house, a source of Estonian literature, music, a diverse range of ethno-cultural items. It is the only store of its kind in North America and is in the process of going on-line with its inventory.
Candidates (who are at least 18 years old) are invited to run for the Council. Bring your talents, ideas and positions to the only forum of its kind in Canada – the Estonian Central Council in Canada. For more information please contact us at 416 465 2219, .
ESTONIAN CENTRAL COUNCIL IN CANADA – LL
Estonian Central Council elections (19)