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NATO Association of Canada Hosts Discussion on Canada-Latvia Relations

On March 31, the NATO Association of Canada hosted Kaspars Ozoliņš, Latvia’s Ambassador to Canada, and Kevin Rex, former Ambassador of Canada to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and current Director General, Security and Energy Management, Strategy and Policy, Global Affairs Canada, for a fireside chat at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto. 

The event, titled “Canada and Latvia United on the Road to the NATO Vilnius Summit,” recognized the strong bilateral ties between the two countries outside of, and especially within, the alliance. Most notably, in support of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada has troops on the ground in Latvia and serves as the “Framework nation” for the multinational battlegroup concentrated there. This Canadian deployment, which totalled some 700 at Camp Adazi as of April 2022, makes up a noteworthy portion of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) in the region.

The audience enjoyed an informative and friendly discussion between two senior-level government representatives with personal and expert-level understanding of Canada-Latvia relations and the importance of NATO’s Eastern Flank and eFP. Ozoliņš became Latvia’s Ambassador to Canada in late 2021 after holding multiple high-ranking posts, including as the Latvian representative in the trilateral Latvia-Russia-OSCE commission. 

Likewise, as one-time Ambassador of Canada to Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, Rex not only has an appreciation of NATO’s role and hands-on experience with the region, but his four-year-long posting coincided with the growth of the Canadian footprint in Latvia. 

Arriving in 2018, Rex and his team put the mission at the forefront of their activities. In a 2021 interview with the NATO Association of Canada, then-Ambassador Rex observed: “Everything we do, we do with the view of how it will support the Task Force, how they can support us, how we can present this holistic Team Canada image, and I think we’ve been very successful with it.”

The discussion between Rex and Ozoliņš is part of the NATO Association of Canada’s ongoing efforts to inform Canadians about the the alliance’s solidarity, including in the Baltics, in the face of challenge as the Vilnius Summit of July 2023 draws closer. 

NATO Association of Canada
The NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) strives to educate and engage Canadians about NATO and its goals of peace, prosperity and security. The NAOC ensures Canada has an informed citizenry able to participate in discussions about its role on the world stage.