Canada has appointed its first ever ambassador to Estonia, citing the changed security situation as a major factor in the development and making good on an announcement made last year.
Speaking on Tuesday, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly announced via the Canadian government's website the appointment of Laird Hindle as Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia, listing Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the changed security situation in the region as the main impetus behind the development.
The minister said: "With this first appointment, we continue to advance Canada's strategic diplomatic presence in the Baltic states. Since Russia's illegal and unjustifiable invasion of Ukraine, the world has experienced a profound geopolitical shift with political, economic, security and environmental impacts. To counteract Russia's sustained aggression and influence, it is imperative that we reinforce Canada's standing through diplomatic engagement on the ground working side by side with our friends and allies."
The appointment is the first top-level diplomatic posting to Estonia.
While Canada maintains an embassy on Toompea, Estonia had previously been covered by the Canadian ambassador to Latvia.
The government of Canada explained that: "As announced by Minister Joly last year, Canada has converted its office in Estonia—formerly under the purview of the ambassador to Latvia—into a full embassy, with a resident ambassador in Tallinn."
Laird Hindle's previous posting had been as Global Canada's Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
The Canadian government's website put bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries at $187 million in 2022, with Canadian merchandise exports to Estonia at $28.7 million, at $158.3 million, for the same year.
Inward investment from Canada to Estonia stood at $25 million in value last year, while foreign direct investment in the opposite direction, from Estonia in Canada, was valued at $5 million.
Canada leads around a dozen nations that make up the NATO enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup based at Adaži, near Riga – the Latvian deployment is, in fact, Canada's largest overseas military presence, while the current complement is set to roughly double to brigade size by 2026, as announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau while at last week's Vilnius NATO summit.
Editor: Andrew Whyte