On the 30th anniversary of Canada’s reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the Republic of Estonia, the Estonian Central Council in Canada presented the country’s former prime minister, Brian Mulroney, with its Award of Merit for service to the Estonian community in Canada.
According to the Estonian Central Council in Canada, Mulroney was a key figure in advocating for the recognition of Baltic independence among Western world leaders.
“In 1984, he gave hope to thousands of Estonians who had gathered from around the world, for the World Estonian Festival in Toronto, when Mulroney committed to support a free and independent Estonia,” the council said in a statement.
In his meetings with other Western leaders, Mulroney stood as a true ally and champion for freedom and democracy in the Baltic states and around the world. In addition to expressing his support for the Canadian communities that fled nations occupied by the Soviet Union, he resolutely refused to recognise the Soviet occupation of these countries, despite significant pressure from Soviet leaders, the council said.
Canada’s lead in establishing relations with the Baltics
On 27 August 1991, during a press conference with the US president, George HW Bush, in Kennebunkport, ME, Mulroney announced that Canada would take the lead among Western nations and “would begin the process of establishing full diplomatic relations with the Baltic states.”
That decision by Mulroney and his government paved the way for other Western nations and allies to follow Canada’s lead. The United States recognised the independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on 2 September 1991.
The Estonian Central Council in Canada was established in 1952, as the elected representative organisation for all Canadians of Estonian heritage.
Brian Mulroney served as the 18th prime minister of Canada from 17 September 1984 to 25 June 1993.
Cover: Brian Mulroney (third from left) receiving the Estonian Central Council in Canada’s Award of Merit. Photo by the Estonian Central Council in Canada.