Concern over planned pro-Soviet/Russian rally

May 7, 2016

Dear councillor Campbell,

It has recently come to the attention of the Latvian National Federation in Canada that a pro-Soviet/Russian rally is planned for Earl Bales park this Sunday, May 8.

This is an outrage, not only to those of Latvian heritage, or to all of those millions of Canadians with roots in countries that suffered under Soviet occupation and repression, but to every freedom-living Canadian.  Our federal government, as a member of NATO, is actively involved in protecting the Baltic states from Russian agitation and threats, so this activism promoting a return to the „glory days” of the Soviet Union cannot and should not be tolerated, nor pemitted to thrive in the City of Toronto on public property via such rallies.

In my own family, both my and my wife’s grandfathers, along with thousands of others, were exiled from Latvia via cattlecars to live in unspeakable conditions.  My wife’s grandfather, a Latvian freedom fighter from the First World War whose name will be permanently enshrined on the „Tribute to Liberty” monument in Ottawa, did not survive.

To permit a group to glorify these events, (with its plethora of Soviet flags), is completely at odds with everything Canadians hold dear: their freedom and liberty, the right to free expression and the Canadian government’s oft-stated opposition to the forced annexation of the Baltic States.  While each individual has the right to their own views, they should not have a right to express these hateful ideas on City property.

Lest you imagine that this is a benign event honouring Soviet and Russian veterans, as it purports to be, the Canadian Estonian community has produced a detailed overview, with pictures from the 2015 event confirming what I have described.

We call on the City of Toronto to do the right thing and immediately cancel this event.  There is no room in Toronto for this insulting glorification of the Soviet regime which was so harmful to the families of so many who now are proud to call Toronto home.

I would appreciate a response at your earliest opportunity.

Sincerely, your constituent,

George Juris Kenins
Latviešu Nacionālā Apvienība Kanadā
Fédération nationale lettonne au Canada
Latvian National Federation in Canada
Vice-chair of the board and Cultural division chair

World Federation of Free Latvians Cultural Foundation
Chair of the board