Members of Baltic and German embassies, NGOs, and local communities in Canada came together on 22 September to celebrate on Parliament Hill in Ottawa for the fifth year in a row. These Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, German and Belarusian communities came together to mark their friendship, solidarity and mutual support.
They were joined by Jamie Schmale, Conservative Party MP, Chairman of the Canada-Nordic-Baltic Parliamentary Friendship Group, Shadow Minister for Families, Children and Social Development of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition.
In short speeches, the Ambassadors of Latvia and Lithuania, respectively, Kārlis Eihenbaums and Darius Skusevičius, expressed their respect, support and solidarity for all those who fight for freedom and stand firm for democracy, near and far.
This was accompanied by singing the Latvian and Lithuanian national anthems on Parliament Hill.
In 2000, the Latvian and Lithuanian parliaments (Saeima and Seimas, respectively) designated 22 September as the Day of Balts’ Unity. Historically, on the same date in the year 1236, their ancestors' desire for freedom, common co-operation, and heroism forged their victory over crusaders in the historic Battle of Saule (the Sun). Until today, this is a day to think about co-operation, honesty, and courage.
The idea to bring people together came from Ināra Eihenbauma, and the tradition in Canada was launched in September 2016, as an initiative by the Embassy of Latvia in Canada, also inviting Latvia’s other close neighbour: the Estonians. Every year since, all three Baltic embassies organise events in Ottawa at the Citadel of Canadian Democracy, on the hill of the Canadian Parliament, expressing their solidarity.