Address by Kārlis Eihenbaums, Ambassador of Latvia to Canada
Dear Deputy Mayor! Friends! Draugi!
My wife Ināra and I are very happy that today you are here in the heart of Ottawa for this symbolic flag raising ceremony.
We are very honoured that you are celebrating my country’s one hundred and third birthday with us here in Ottawa — Canada’s lovely capital. We have been proud to call it home for the last five winters and six beautiful autumns - unforgettable Fall Rhapsodies of the National Capital Region already. But in Canada we only count winters, of course.
Just a few welcoming words in my native Latvian language:
Inārai un man ir liels prieks par jums visiem, kas ieradušies Kanādas galvaspilsētas Otavas sirdī, šeit pie rātsnama, lai svinētu Latvijas Republikas 103. valstiskuma gadadienu, liels paldies!
Paldies par jūsu latviskumu un atbalstu, ko esam izjutuši visu šo laiku, pildot mūsu diplomātiskos pienākumus Kanādā.
I am very glad that the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, our tribute to liberty – “Canada a Land of Refuge” is closer and closer to being built in Ottawa in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories. Ināra and I just visited the site ourselves and we were very happy to observe good progress. This memorial will be an powerful tribute — to victims of the regimes that stole people’s liberty, to the many who suffered, and, of course, to those who were fortunate enough to find their liberty again, here in Canada.
This monument is a reminder that the problems we’re seeing crop up on other continents are not just in someone else’s backyard. They’re very much global problems.
In June, four years have passed since Canadian-led troops were first deployed in Latvia. They are very welcome to continue.
What is Latvia? My personal answer is that Latvia is both an idea and a political reality, but historically this has not always been the case at the same time. The last hundred years saw brutal invasions, oppression, and destruction from external powers — especially from some of our big neighbours. But still, we persisted, again and again.
I have had the pleasure of meeting many diverse communities in Canada who feel a close connection to the countries around the Baltic Sea, and Europe in general — through history, family roots, and friends. For these communities, Canada’s support is extremely important. Through its leadership, Canada is highlighting that NATO’s Article 5 really means all for one and one for all.
Thank you for joining us, and being with us in support of the independence that we all hold dear. This is independence for which a dear price was paid. Independence that should not be treated lightly, or taken for granted.
I would like to conclude by expressing my appreciation for Latvians in Canada, and Canadians in Latvia, who are making our countries stronger with their ideas, energy, and aspirations.
Dievs, svētī Latviju! God, bless Latvia!
Thank you! Merci! Paldies!