Canadian military presence in Latvia to be discussed online

In 2017, Canada took up its role leading NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) Battlegroup in Latvia, and in July 2018, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau renewed Canada’s commitment for four years. 

The move has played a crucial role in enhancing Baltic security in real terms and also in psychological terms, as the presence of foreign forces undoubtedly gives Latvians a feeling of additional reassurance.

The past three years of the Canadian presence and its likely future shape will be the subject of an online discussion  or webinar on June 30 titled "Three Years On the Baltic Watch" hosted by Canadian thinktank the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI), based in Ottawa.

Participating will be Latvian Defense Ministry official Jānis Garisons; Kevin Rex, Ambassador of Canada to Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania; Colonel Eric Laforest, Commander of Canadian Task Force Latvia and Rachel Ellehuus, Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Europe Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the world may have forced the Canadian Armed Forces to suspend or scale back many of its expeditionary missions, including training missions in Ukraine and Iraq. However, there has been no attempt to scale back our current military mission in Latvia – a testament not only to the importance bestowed on the mission itself, but also to our growing partnership with our close NATO ally and host country, Latvia. Indeed, both Canada and Latvia are very much aware that Moscow might be tempted to take advantage of this pandemic to advance its own interests," says advance material.

The webinar can be watched online at 18:00 Rīga time (11:00 Canadian EDT). Prior registration is required to ask questions of participants. More details:

https://www.macdonaldlaurier.ca/events/three-years-on-the-baltic-watch-latvia/

 

MLI describes itself as "rigorously independent and non-partisan" and is named after Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who were two outstanding and long-serving former prime ministers who represent the best of Canada's distinguished political tradition. A Tory and a Grit, an English-speaker and a French-speaker, each of them championed the values that led to the creation of Canada and its emergence as one of the world's leading democracies.

The MLI's stated aim is "helping to make poor quality public policy in Ottawa unacceptable to Canadians and their political and opinion leaders by proposing thoughtful alternatives through non-partisan and independent research and commentary."

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