The Consulate General of Estonia and the Estonian Central Council in Canada hosted their annual independence day reception on February 25, 2011 with a a senior federal minister, M.P.s, foreign diplomats and ethnic association presidents attending.
The Hon. Peter Van Loan, Minister of Internationjal Trade, the Hon. Bob Rae, Foreign Affairs critic and former Premier of Ontario, Borys Wrzesnewskyj, opposition member of parliament and Estonian Central Council Medal of Merit recipient this year were present
Opening remarks were made by the Honorary Consul General, Laas Leivat, who spoke of the relationship between Canada and Estonia, that Canada never accepted Soviet annexation of Estonia. Next was Mr. Riho Kruuv, Estonian chargé d'affaires in Ottawa, who brought greetings from the Estonian government. Mr. Avo Kittask, President of the Estonian Central Council (and the co-host of the event) also spoke, bringing greetings from the Estonia community in Canada. The Hon. Bob Rae, an Estonian Central Council Medal of Merit recipient from last year needed to depart to go to another event.
The Hon. Peter Van Loan, also a previous Medal of Merit recipient, brought greetings from the Prime Minister and also stressed the importance of defedning the rights and values that Estonia and Canada have in common. Mr. Van Loan described the expanding relationship between the two countries.
The main event of the evening was the bestowing the ECC Medal of Merit upon Mr. Borys Wrzesnewskyj MP, an honour well deserved for the work he has done for the central and east european community. One could almost say he has been a firebrand in the halls of Parliament Hill. Very soon after his election he organized the Canadian contingent that went to monitor the election in the Ukraine (the orange campaign) that resulted in pre-Westerners winning, and overturning the previous election. Since then he has promoyed issues that has affected central and east Europeans.
Mr. Wrzesnewskyj spoke of his experience as a scout at the Estonian scout property at Kotkajarve, his activity in Ottawa. He wore his medal with pride.
The Estonian Independence Day Reception in Toronto