A new political entity was responsible for organizing two rather substantial events before many people even knew of its existence. The first was the "Fall of the Wall" commemoration of the destruction of the Berlin wall at Toronto’s city hall square, where leading members (and one leader) of the three federal parties spoke. The second was the unanimous passing of the resolution in the Canadian House of Commons declaring August 23 as "Black Ribbon Day", condemning the date in 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed, resulting in the carving up of Europe between Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union.
"The Central and East European Council (CEEC) is an umbrella of three separate organizations," explains Chairman Marcus Hess.
"The first is the Council of Cultural Community Centres which includes Latvian Cultural Centre, Polish Hall on Beverley Street, Ukrainian Hall on Spadina, Seedrioru (represented by Erik Hess), Estonian House (represented by Raivo Remmel), Tartu College (represented by Toomas Trei and Jaan Meri) and six others. We meet every month and discuss organization matters."
"The second is the Central and Eastern European Commerce Initiative which is the gathering of the Business Clubs and Chambers of Commerce of those communities. It gives them a critical mass to do events and to present a united lobbying power for Canada to do business with our member countries."
"The third is the Central and Eastern Europe Youth. Their recent project was a thesis analyzing the waves of immigration within our communities around which a youth conference will be organized."
"Our cultural communities are our home towns. They're not defined by physical borders but by culture. Other cultural communities in the works are arts and music. For music [the idea] would be a combined choir [performing] in a large venue like Roy Thompson Hall. There is a desire to organize CEEC chapters in all of the major cities across Canada."
Each member country in the CEEC is represented by the president of its national council and two members as selected by the national council executive. The Estonian contingent in addition to Chair - and founder of Black Ribbon Day - Marcus Hess is Avo Kittask, President of Estonian Central Council, and award winning filmmaker Marcus Kolga.
"The main purpose of the CEEC is to unite our communities," said Hess.
With the experience and drive of both Hess and Kolga at the helm the CEEC project holds great promise for the future of our communities.
Introducing the Central and East European Council