The Baltic Federation in Canada, together with Peter Van Loan MP and the Honourable Senator Raynell Andreychuk, organized the 26th Baltic Evening in the Parliamentary Buildings West Block held on Monday, September 25, 2006, in Ottawa. This was on the occasion of the state visit by the President of the Republic of Latvia, Her Excellency Vaira Vike-Freiberga and her husband Mr. Imants Freibergs.
Canadian Estonians were well represented. Among prominent community leaders attending were pastors Kalle Kadakas, Heino Laanemets, Andres Taul, Honourary Consul General Laas Leivat, President Estonian Central Council in Canada Avo Kittask, President National Estonian Foundation of Canada Lia Hess, President Estonian Arts Centre Stella Pahapill, President of Montreal Estonian Society Epp Luik, President of Ottawa Estonian Society Col Margus Aruja, Eesti Elu website or EE Online editor Vaado Sarapuu. “Kodu” Estonians attending were the new Estonian Chargé d'Affaires Rasmus Lumi and Col. Tõnis Nõmmik, Chief Chaplain of Estonian Defence Forces.
The event consisting of a dinner reception was a success. Peter Van Loan MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, provided the introduction. The keynote address was by Her Excellency Vaira Vike-Freiberga. Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada was special guest and the acknowledgement was by Hon. Senator Raynell Andreychuk.
Mrs. Freiberga’s term in office has almost expired. She seems to be taking the world “good-bye tour” accompanied by a large delegation that is customary among retiring heads of state or government. Recently, she has actively been lobbying for the head UN job, but her chances of success look dim given Russia’s veto and her track record of standing up to the Russian bear.
A recent poll (RIA Novosti 21/6/2005) conducted in Russia indicated that Latvia was widely regarded as Russia’s number one enemy. Some readers may be disappointed to learn that Estonia, usually the front runner among the Baltic States in most matters, was ranked only a distant fourth after Lithuania and Georgia.
In addition to their rapid economic and human rights progress, this is a remarkable accomplishment for these tiny countries that so recently shed the shackles of Soviet communism and finally rid themselves of occupant armies. They have replaced the United States (previously termed “the main adversary”), Great Britain and China as enemies of Russia!
Given the fortunate outcome of the recent cliffhanger presidential election, Estonia can be expected to improve its standing in the Russian “greatest enemies” list. Whether this is a good or bad thing is not clear but Estonia now has a president with no communist past who doesn’t speak Russian.
What a nice change in the state of affairs from that which existed in the fatherland when the Baltic Federation first started these Baltic Evenings during the Cold War era!
Ottawa Baltic Evening XXVI (2)