LNFC EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL FOUNDATION

4 Credit Union Drive, Toronto, On M4A 2N8, Canada

416-755-2353    www.lnak.net    lnak@lnak.org

 

 

 

 

OUR ROAD TO THE FUTURE

OUR ROAD TO THE FUTURE

January 28, 2017

 

Latvians worldwide have been invited by the Republic of Latvia to start celebrating Latvia’s 100th anniversary culminating in November 18, 2018 by organizing events as a journey towards Latvia’s 100th anniversary. Our future is in the hands of every Canadian of Latvian heritage. Let us in the spirit of “Draudzīgais aicinājums” contribute today so that we may continue to flourish tomorrow. “Draudzīgais aicinājums” or “Friendly invitation” was a campaign begun in 1935 by the then president of Latvia, Kārlis Ulmanis, requesting society to support their local school instead of giving him gifts on his name’s day. Later the support extended to all educational and cultural activities.  This yearly campaign continues to this day both in Latvia and worldwide wherever there are Latvians. Today, with the threat from Latvia’s eastern neighbour, it is more important than ever to keep alive our language and culture here in Canada.

For your information, in 2016 the Educational Cultural Foundation (ECF) of the Latvian Federation in  Canada (LNFC) distributed funds in  the  amount of  $38,600.00 supporting Latvian schools, seminars, scholarships for university students and summer educational programs, concerts, research on the history of Latvians in Canada, the ongoing work of the LNFC and a variety of other cultural projects and events.

Many thanks to the generous donors who have supported ECF’s important work in the past.  If you value what has been accomplished by the ECF, please support us now.  Also, the good works of our benefactors can continue long after they themselves are no longer with us by a testamentary donation to  the  LNAFC  Educational and  Cultural  Foundation.           All  donations  will  receive  a  charitable donation receipt.

Sincerely,

Elizabete (Elita) Petersons                                                         Andrejs Buņķis

President                                                                                                                     Treasurer

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LNFC EDUCATIONAL and CULTURAL FOUNDATION                              Reg. Nr. 0672790-2113

4 Credit Union Drive, Toronto, Ontario M4A 2N8

 

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Twice a year the Occupation of Latvia museum sends out its newsletter to its contributors and supporters.

 

We have attached the latest newsletter so you also would be informed about the museum and also give you the opportunity to support it with your contributions ( which may be tax deductable in US and Canada ). You can also support the museum by forwarding this E-mail to your relatives, neighbors and friends. You can also support the museum by visiting it if you travel to Riga, Latvia. Thank you for your support.

 

The museum staff.

 

Web site  in english – www.omf.lv

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2017 IIHF World Junior Championship LAT vs RUS

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Globe editorial: Canada’s Christmas present to Moscow: A map

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Alexander Darchiev, the Russian ambassador in Ottawa, is making a tempting case that international terrorism is the all-important threat of our times. After all, what is more terrifying than global terror?

In fact, conventional military invasions, by conventional militaries of conventional states are not a thing of the past. Western leaders now know that. And Russia is the reason why.

 Just two years ago, Mr. Darchiev’s boss, Vladimir Putin, forcibly annexed Crimea, though the territory is internationally recognized as part of Ukraine. Pro-Russian militants also continue to impose their own law and order in eastern Ukraine, with assistance from Russia itself.

Russia’s neighbours, until recently captive provinces of the Soviet empire, are understandably nervous. In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan have shown admirable readiness to contribute to a NATO force in Eastern Europe. A rotating battle group of 450 troops will be sent to Latvia.

 The idea is not to start a Third World War, but rather to avoid it. NATO wants to be very clear about its defence of Eastern Europe, so there can be no misunderstanding in Moscow. Mr. Putin annexed territory from a neighbouring sovereign state, an act unprecedented in postwar Europe, because he believed he could get away with it. He turned out to be right.

Canada and the other small NATO forces in Eastern Europe wouldn’t be able to resist a large Russian military attack. Nobody expects them to. Their purpose is to make such an attack unlikely. Even Mr. Putin would hesitate to move openly into a country in which NATO forces are stationed.

Mr. Darchiev wants Canada to turn into an “honest broker,” some kind of a neutral Switzerland between Moscow and Washington. Canada has never played such a role. We were one of the founding members of NATO, the anti-Soviet alliance. That doesn’t mean Canada always agrees with the U.S. – and a Trump-led America may lead to many disagreements, including over Russia. But Canada, while trying to keep good relations with Moscow, has always clearly sided with those threatened by the Kremlin.

A modest NATO force to draw a line in Eastern Europe makes sense.

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The Editor – National Post

Attn: Anne Marie Owens

December 8, 2016

Reference: National Post, December 5, 2016 article “Thanks, but no thanks Canada: Not all Latvians convinced NATO mission is necessary”, by Dylan C. Robertson

Dear Editor,

It would be an understatement to say that numerous readers in the Latvian and Baltic Communities, some, as loyal readers of the National Post, are perplexed by the recent article of Dylan C. Robertson. Comments received include questions of whether this is a deliberate misrepresentation or naive muddling of facts and fiction with a political agenda. Needless to say, some readers have indicated that they will never again believe what is presented as news, especially in this age of “scandal, smear and fake news”.

Naturally, in hopes of attracting the eye of the reader, the story headings are sensational. In one edition, the title reads, “Thanks, but no thanks Canada: Not all Latvians convinced NATO mission is necessary”, while in the Ottawa Citizen version, it is, “Uncertain fate awaits troops in Latvia”. Another heading: “Bringing NATO soldiers will just upset Russia”.

The issue is swirling around the recent announcements to deploy Canadian and other NATO allied contingents to Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Though more of a symbolic deterrent in face of real and violent threats from the evolving Russian hegemony, the Allies are demonstrating a resolve to reassure their partners that the values of democracy, freedom and rule of law will be defended. Without any doubt, Latvians are grateful to Canada for its support and await Canadians with open arms. During decades of occupation, Canada and the West stood their ground in never recognizing the Russian annexation of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. This will never be forgotten by the Baltic peoples and by Canadians of Baltic origin. We are proud of Canada.

To those who actually follow world events, it is clear that a war, both hot and cold, is being waged by a resurgent Russia bent on recovering prestige and territories of the Soviet Empire, and demolishing the influence of what it considers its traditional enemies, NATO, the European Union and America.

Except for a polished outer appearance, there is little to distinguish between the inherent corruption of a modern Russian rogue state, led by a mafia of KGB functionaries, and the corruption of the former elitist Communist structure, led by some of the same faces. Learning from past dictatorships, which imposed internal hardships on their own people, criminal minds divert the attention of their populations, and the world, by initiating distractions, usually with threats to their neighbours, or outright war. In the case of Putin’s Russia, witness the invasions of Georgia, the terrorist-style invasion of Ukraine, the illegal occupation of Crimea, the ensuing murders, disappearances and human rights abuses committed behind closed doors, and of course, the heinous war crimes being committed in Syria. Now, the sabre-rattling is being intensified towards the Baltics.

Hand in hand with such intrinsic criminal activity comes a massive propaganda war financed by billions in state funds. The hybrid and cyber war is a fact. It is being waged ferociously, with subtle and effective use of all media, whether in print, radio, television or internet, and yes, is extremely sophisticated. The West is just waking up to the fact of a major information, or more correctly, disinformation war being waged against it. It takes many forms. The target: foreign media, the Russian Diaspora, the internet and a wide international audience.

In Latvia, the Kremlin dogma is piped in daily through radio and satellite television. The local Russian minority, constantly exposed to the assertion that they are not respected, or in fact, are persecuted, comes to believe that they need to be saved. In the capital city of Riga, the mayor, an ethnic Russian, has had difficulty accepting the fact that there ever was a Soviet occupation of Latvia. (It should be noted that the Harmony Party in the Latvian Parliament, headed by the mayor, has a formal agreement with Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party.) Repeating the lie until it sticks, an effective propaganda technique, generations have been taught that Latvia and Latvians voluntarily joined the Soviet Union. History is easily changed, distorted and even erased.

As for language, the younger generation of Latvians, who are no longer forced to learn Russian, as in their parents’ time, find it difficult to get work in Russian controlled businesses. The propaganda machine likes to turn facts inside out and claim it is Russians who are being discriminated against. On the other hand, some Russians refuse to learn the local language, calling Latvian a “dog’s language”.

As the deployment of Canadian and NATO allied forces approaches, aggressive media provocations will increase in intensity. The intent of such misinformation is to drive a wedge between allies, to weaken them….to distract them. We are confident that Canadian forces will be prepared for any attempts to compromise and provoke them while carrying out their mission. Meanwhile, Russia continues with its primitive military threats and bullying tactics…pushing the envelope to achieve its geopolitical and economic goals.

 

Andris Ķesteris

President, Latvian National Federation in Canada

President, Baltic Federation in Canada

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Baltu vienības diena – Balts Unity Day

September 22 at 11:25am ·

Thursday, 22nd of September at 9.00 o’clock on Parliament Hill in OTTAWA a short event on the annual Balts Unity Day; a symbolic show of solidarity and support. The presence of all three Baltic States means a lot indeed! Thanks to all for attending! Thanks to Julijus Rakitskis, Charge d’Affaires a.i. from Lithuanian Embassy in Ottawa!

Thanks to all for attending! Thanks to Julijus Rakitskis, Charge d’Affaires a.i. from Lithuanian Embassy in Ottawa! Thanks to our good neighbours – Estonians and Estonian Ambassador Gita Kalmet for their support!  Thanks to Canada & Jamie Schmale, MP, Andris Ķesteris, Latvian National Federation in Canada & Baltic Federation in Canada & Rev. Ilmārs Zvirgzds from Ottawa Peace Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Kārlis Eihenbaums, Ambassador

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New Programme Draws Large Crowd for Ottawa Black Ribbon Day Ceremony

By Paul Läänemets

Members from various cultural and religious communities gathered for the annual Black Ribbon Day event last Sunday evening. This year they experienced a new programme to bring everyone together and reflect on Nazi-Soviet crimes against humanity. The tradition of inviting a keynote speaker was out, replaced with the presentation of a relevant documentary film. A larger than expected group of 80 individuals attended during the late summer evening.

The Black Ribbon Day ceremony was held as part of events across the country to mark the anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Pact directly led to the occupation of most of Central and Eastern Europe, Finland and the Baltic States as well as the mass killing and oppression of tens of millions. The victims included Jews, targeted nationalities, the disabled, free-thinking citizens, and gays.

Prayers for Victims

Father Ihor Okhrimtchouk and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Church, located in the west end of Ottawa, were gracious to host the usual service honoring the memories of the victims. The atmosphere in the church was solemn and pensive while all listened to the Father’s melodic Ukrainian prayers. Representatives of the Latvian, Estonian, Polish, and Hungarian communities contributed their own distinctive prayers.

After the service, everyone followed the flag procession downstairs to the community hall where the film projector was set up. The Chair of Tribute to Liberty, Ludwik Klimkowski, spoke briefly beforehand to provide an update on the national victims of communism memorial and on the importance of sharing stories of the Nazi-Soviet atrocities. Ludwik highlighted the lesser known heinous crimes of Soviet Major-General Vasily Blokhin, who murdered 7,000 polish prisoners of war within one month.

Change Offered a New Opportunity

The anticipated documentary, Outside the Sphere, examined the history of the Baltic communities in North America and reviewed the tyranny they narrowly escaped. It also offered a reminder that some backwards looking attitudes are still present today. A prime example is Vladimir Putin’s own remarks, “The breakup of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century.” The film was a joint production between Marcus Kolga and the event’s lead organizer, Andris Kesteris.

Showing a documentary film was greeted with a lot of interest at the event. Keynote speakers had addressed past commemorations and were well received, but some found the change to present a new opportunity. Long-time Black Ribbon Day participant Tõnu Onu explained, “the documentary was a good idea since it gave an overview of events in WWII that most Canadians, even in the ethnic communities concerned, are unaware of. A keynote speaker is interesting if the person is a well-known figure, but they often don’t address issues more than in a very general way.”

Special Sponsor and Guests

One of the sponsors of the reception that followed the film is a well known local meat market, Saslove’s. Owner Joel Diener’s attendance and support held a special personal meaning as the son of a Holocaust survivor. Joel’s father, Nathan Diener, lost his family to Nazi atrocities in Poland and spent time in a displaced persons camp before emigrating to Canada in 1948. He built a new life here and became one of the founders of the popular meat market in Ottawa. Their delicious store-made chocolate chip cookies I sampled at the reception are a new favourite.

Surprise special guests were at the ceremony as well. The new Ambassador of Latvia, His Excellency Kārlis Eihenbaums, and his spouse, Inara, both participated. They only just arrived in Canada two days before.

Summer Challenges

This time of year typically presents challenges for organizers trying to attract participants. Andris Kesteris also relied on others to help promote the event in their own cultural communities. As was noted at the event, attracting people to a serious and somber service on a summer evening is a challenge, given all the other activities that attract people in the summer.

Tõnu Onu pointed out some additional factors, “the challenge in places such as Ottawa, where the various ethnic communities are relatively smaller, is getting enough volunteers to do the organizing and then attracting a wider public, i.e. more than the older generation who still have some personal connection to WWII.”  Despite all these challenges, organizers were very pleased to see the strong showing of support at the event.

Black Ribbon Day started here in Canada and now has become a worldwide day of remembrance. In 2009, Canada’s Parliament officially declared Black Ribbon Day a national day of remembrance every August 23rd. For more information on the day, visit www.blackribbonday.org.

 

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INVITATION

Let’s come together for a short event on the annual Balts Unity Day at 9.00 o’clock on the morning of Thursday, the 22nd of September, on Parliament Hill for a show of solidarity and support.

The presence of all three Baltic States means a lot.

Starting 8.50 a.m. gather on the left side of the back of the green when facing the main Parliament Building. Take along small national flags to wave, and bring good spirit and readiness to sing national anthems joined by the voices of members of our local communities in and around Ottawa.

We will see you there!

 

karogi

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Transition
This section of the LNAK website is in the process of being re-built. The old English language section is largely obsolete. You can view it by clicking here.

Lai apskatītu latviešu valodā noklikšķiniet šeit.

Pour voir la version française cliquez ici.