On June 21, 2017, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute held a roundtable discussion featuring Lieutenant-General Raimonds Graube, Former Chief of Defence of Republic of Latvia (2010-2017) who recently retired.
The event was entitled: “Defending NATO’s New Frontier: Canada, Latvia, and the New Russian Threat.”
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad, with the support of the Embassy of Latvia in Canada, hosted an event which brought together leading thinkers and policy makers in euro-Atlantic defence and security.
Canada is leading one of four NATO battlegroups that have deployed to the Baltic States and Poland.
The other “framework” nations are Germany (in Lithuania), the United Kingdom (in Estonia), and the United States of America (in Poland).
By reinforcing its presence along these frontline states, NATO is sending a clear and resounding message that NATO means business, that Article 5 signifies the promise of “all for one and one for all”, and that NATO members are united in their purpose and determination.
Given Russia’s annexation of Crimea and military adventurism in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria, the need for NATO to ensure the security and stability has never been more important.
Taking Russia’s actions over the past decade into account, and with an eye to Canada’s role in enhanced forward presence of NATO and its troops sent to Latvia, it is important to understand risks and opportunities with this mission, and to harvest the potential in the increasing partnership between Canada and Latvia. How to deal swiftly and effectively with Russian disinformation will also remain high on the agenda of discussion so long as Russia pursues an aggressive course that threatens the rules-based world order.
The Embassy of Latvia looks forward to further cooperation with the Macdonald Laurier Institute to analyse trends and raise awareness, while strengthening ties and understanding between Canada and Latvia.