Peter Van Loan, MP, York-Simcoe (Ontario) and OK, Jõekääru was named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Conservative government. The government website went on to describe him in the following fashion:
"Peter Van Loan was elected in 2004 and re-elected in 2006. He was appointed Critic for Human Resources and Skills Development in July 2004 and was a member of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills Development, Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. Mr. Van Loan has been a partner at the law firm Fraser Millner Casgrain and an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto. He obtained a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School, a master's of arts in international relations."
What was left out is that Van Loan is Estonian. Half Estonian by birth, but full Estonian by upbringing, though he doesn't speak the language.
Van Loan was brought up by his Estonian mother and grandparents. His grandfather Mr. Retnik was a politician in Estonia. Since Retnik had trouble with the communists, he tried to convince Van Loan to avoid politics. We are very glad Van Loan took his example and not his advice.
"This ministry, Foreign Affairs, is the one I most wanted to be part of," said Van Loan, adding, "we would be involved with Canada's relations anywhere in the world, be it in North America, with the United States, Asia, Europe and of course, eastern Europe."
"I look forward to seeing all of you at Estonian House on February 24th," said Van Loan.
Avo Kittask, President of the Estonian Central Council, who has been a close friend of Van Loan, was delighted with the news. He and Estonian Honorary Consul in Toronto, Laas Leivat were the first to call their congratulations. "This news has more than made my year," said Kittask.
They won't be the only ones congratulating Van Loan. I'm sure many in Estonia will as well.
Van Loan named Parliamentary Secretary (6)