The Estonian Central Council of Canada is holding its elections next month. Please take time to register and vote as the council is a key element of our Estonian community in Canada. I wish to thank publicly the members of the lpresent council for their efforts and their dedication. This council sat with full quorum in 6 semi-annual full assembly meetings, and organized an AGM of the Estonian World Congress in Toronto and held over two dozen executive meetings. Its members represented Canadian Estonians at four World Congress AGMs in Latvia, Estonia and in Toronto and its executive meetings. They organized twenty Black Ribbon Day demonstrations over the past term in 6 cities across Canada as well as 4 annual deportation memorial days. Each year they organized, with the Estonian Consul ,a reception for dignitaries to celebrate Estonia's independence day and raised the Estonian flag at Toronto's City Hall. They organized a welcome reception for Estonia's first Ambassador to Canada, Gita Kalmet attended by guests from all of the organizations in Toronto's and southern Ontario's Estonian community. Singular were the receptions and preparations for the President of Estonia during his visit to Canada in 2013.
The Estonian Central Council has worked well with other central and eastern European communities and has taken a leadership role in the CEEC (Central and Eastern European Council) and in TTL (Tribute to Liberty) organizers of a memorial to the victims of communism in Ottawa. They have fought to further Magnitsky sanctions in Canada, expansion of the Human Rights museum in Winnipeg to include violations by Communism, maintained support for NATO and support for Ukraine in their war with Russia.
A noteworthy accomplishment by the council was the reorganization of its financing and structure to reduce costs and liabilities to ensure that future endeavours could be independently supported from council funds. This effort represented an increase of more than 50% of available funds and base capital for activities that directly benefit our community. This effort took time and consideration that has bourne successful results.
The council established a new and independent organization in 2012 with the sole purpose of organization ESTO 2018 in Toronto. This was done after consultation with and receiving written support from all of the major Toronto and area Estonian organizations. The ESTO 2018 is an independent organization that has attracted the participation of Toronto's youth and has worked diligently to prepare what will be a tremendous festival that will give our community a great boost .
During the past term, EKN has played a major role in rewriting the constitution and bylaws of the Estonian World Congress. This restructuring will aid in improved efficiencies and dynamics of the world organization.
These are some highlights of the council's past term and as we go into the future, let us endeavour to grow as a community and leverage assets to advantage for our youth and constituents. Our greatest asset is volunteerism that is based in a love of community and our faith in our chosen identity. Please participate in the present national elections and give your mandate to the Estonian Central Council in Canada.
Markus Hess, President