Members of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada met this week with the Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting was held in the Sutton Place Hotel on November 8, 2006, and the Honourable Peter MacKay was late due to fog preventing his landing at the island and being relocated to Pearson Airport, meaning he could answer only half of the questions of the gathered editors and publishers.
The last person to ask a question and make a statement, was Eesti Elu's Editor-in- Chief Elle Puusaag: "The Canadian Estonian community and the Republic of Estonia are grateful to the Canadian government for removing visa requirements for Estonian citizens. Do you foresee a Canadian Embassy in Estonia?"
"Yes, I can foresee it. We have a wonderful relationship with Estonia and I would like to tell a quick personal story. My grandfather in Nova Scotia after the second world war welcomed any Estonian when they came to Canada at Pier 21. Many of them went to work in the forest for his company and to this day wherever I travel in Canada and I run into Estonians they remember him. He had such great respect for the people of Estonia and what they had been through and he found them extremely ambitious, hard working and honest people. I had a very good impression of Estonians from a very young age because of my grandfather. It is a country that has moved quickly towards democratic principles, the same values that we put such emphasis on in Canada so I think there is a great history between our countries, and one we hope to enhance," said MacKay.
Cindy Gu, President of the Epoch Times, a Falun Gong weekly publication, asked what Canada was doing to anticipate the downfall of the Chinese Communist Party's hold on China. She equated this to the fact that when Communism in Europe fell the Western governments were caught unawares. Gu asked if MacKay knew that 15 million members of the Chinese Communist Party or of their associates had quit the party. Clearly, MacKay did not.
Another journalist asked MacKay what he thought of the Democratic Party's victory in the part term elections of the previous day considering that the US equivalent of the Conservative party lost. MacKay answered that since the US is Canada's main trading partner, it is in our interest that we get along with whatever party wins. This not like the Chrétien Liberals, who delighted in interfering in US politics.
MacKay answered everybody's question honestly, but none with the candour he had for Puusaag's question; none with the enthusiasm he had about the Estonian people.
Peter MacKay meets ethnic press