Prime Minister and Speaker of the Senate of Canada point to the potential for close cooperation between the two countries
On Thursday 14 September, Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis met with George J. Furey, Speaker of the Senate of Canada in Rīga.
Māris Kučinskis welcomed Canada’s decision to assume the duties of NATO framework nation in Latvia. This is an important step towards strengthening security in the region. With the arrival of the Canadian forces in Latvia in June this year, the deployment of NATO forces in the Baltic States and Poland is completed. A significant process that was launched at the NATO Warsaw Summit, when deciding on strengthening NATO's eastern flank, has been completed. It was also emphasized that one of the priorities of the Latvian government is to support the presence of NATO and strengthen our own defence capabilities. Latvia has doubled its defence budget over the last three years, and next year it will reach 2% of GDP.
Canada is a stable and reliable trading partner of Latvia. Over the last five years, trade turnover has grown by 48%. M.Kučinskis pointed out that the application of the EU - Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will provide opportunities for Latvian entrepreneurs in the traditional export sectors, such as food industry, timber industry, transit and logistics, as well as in sectors of innovation, IT services and cooperation in the field of start-ups. Latvia was the first EU Member State whose Parliament ratified the CETA Agreement.
In terms of cooperation between the countries, the two officials agreed that the Latvian universities have established cooperation with the Canadian universities, and expressed hope that it will strengthen.
During the talks, the support was given to the creation of a Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Ottawa – it will serve as a reminder of the millions of victims who suffered from the communist regime.
"The creation of such a memorial is an issue of little historical justice and remembrance of both the deported residents of Latvia and those who, after World War II, found shelter in Canada, fleeing from a new occupation and return of the communist regime," said M. Kučinskis.
In addition, the Prime Minister extended an invitation to the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Latvia.