Since Estonia was admitted into the European Union and NATO the diplomatic independence day reception has become more of a celebration. This year, like always, held on a Friday, closest to the Estonian Independence Day (this time February 23, 2007) it was again organized by the Estonian Honourary Consulate in Toronto and the Estonian Central Council in Canada (ECC).
The guests were received by the Honourary Consul General Laas and his wife Ellen Leivat and the Vice Consul Thomas and his wife Kristiina Heinsoo. Vice Consul Thomas Heinsoo was also the master of ceremonies.
"There were ten diplomats present," said Vice-Consul Heinsoo.
Rasmus Lumi, the Estonian chargé d'affaires from Ottawa spoke, offering best wishes on Independence Day.
The Honourable Peter Van Loan was surprised when he was given an ECC Medal of Merit by Consul General Leivat and ECC President Avo Kittask. It was good when Van Loan became the first Estonian Member of Parliament but it was great when he became a political Minister, House Leader. House leader is the person who has to make deals with other parties, crucial in a minority government. Van Loan was instrumental in pulling together the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives into the Conservative Party, which by themselves would never have come close to power.
Another piece of good news was that Alide Forstmanis, Vice-President of Government Affairs for the Latvian National Federation in Canada is running for the Conservative nomination in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding. "Alide Forstmanis is Latvia's Mari-Ann Kelam," said Kittask referring to both as high energy achievers.
"Even though I don't live in the riding I was asked to run for the nomination," said Forstmanis. She added," I have been involved with the Conservatives for almost twenty years."
The incumbent Forstmanis will run against when she becomes the candidate is Liberal Andrew Telegdi, who has made an issue of opposing an immigration law that puts those not born in Canada at a different level than those that were. Those foreign born, accused of war crimes can be deported not by courts but by caucus vote of the ruling party."Despite all of Telegdi's activities and the cost of his travelling at public expense across Canada, he hasn't achieved anything, within his own party," said Forstmanis.
"Information can be found from my web site at http://homepage.mac.com/talfox... and I can be contacted at ," said Forstmanis.
Other ECC Medals of Merit went to Dr. Jaan Roos, editor Peeter Kopvillem, Rev. Dr. Andres Taul, Guido Laikve, Anne Orunuk, Johannes Vihma and Virve Jõgi. ECC Gold Medals of Merit went to Estonian school principal Edgar Marten, Prof. Dr. Olev Träss, Hilja Kuutma and architect Elmar Tampõld. Not all recipients were present at the reception.
The music was provided from Estonia by singer Reet Linna and the odd piece by Viido Polikarpus, violin by Indrek Kalda, prompting vigorous dancing by the audience.
A truly classy act was the idea of the Estonian (Toronto) Credit Union, which donated a white orchid for each table. There was a number under one of the cups of that table, that person received the orchid. "People know our product, this is more symbolic," said Tarmo Lõbu, Manager.
Even more so were the two airline tickets to Tallinn, for this summer, donated by Valhalla Travel's Maimu Schaer.
This was a fun evening, indeed.
Toronto reception celebrated Independence Day