Greetings from Ambassador Roy Eriksson
Hello to all readers! My name is Roy Eriksson and I am the new Ambassador of Finland to Canada. It is nice to be back! I served in Ottawa between 1995 and 1998 as the Deputy Head of Mission in the Embassy. I arrived here in mid-June with my wife, Victoria Eriksson, directly from Mexico, where I served as the Ambassador of Finland for nearly four years. From Mexico, I was accredited as Ambassador to nine other countries in Central America and the Caribbean.
I joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1990 and have since then had many postings abroad. As well as Canada and Mexico, I have served my country in Berlin, Germany and in the Permanent Representation of Finland in the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. I have a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Helsinki.
My arrival to Canada coincides with the incoming federal elections in October. According to polls, it is going to be a close call and it is not my business to speculate about the winner. However, it is interesting to follow the debates and see which themes concern Canadian voters most. It is too early to say if and how the election result will affect Canadian foreign policy, but I am confident that the relations between Finland and Canada will continue to be good and friendly. Finland and Canada have a lot in common. Just to name few examples where we share the same values – we are engaged in Arctic issues and are concerned about climate change, we both support a rules based global system, we promote democracy and human rights, and we take gender equality seriously.
This autumn Business Finland (BF) will open an office in Toronto, which is great news. I will put a lot of effort in shaping a smooth and fruitful cooperation between the Embassy and the new BF office. One of the main focal points in my job is promoting Finnish business interests and having the BF office increases the potential to do this more broadly. I think the presence of BF in Canada comes at an opportune time, now that the European Union and Canada have negotiated the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which eases the way for trade between these two markets.
I have been told that about 140 000 people in Canada indicated in the last census that they have Finnish roots. This is impressive! I am looking forward to working with the Finnish community and I got a foretaste of the activities when my wife and I participated in the Finn Fest 2019 in Thunder Bay this midsummer. I heard that it is a challenge to engage the younger generation in Finnish activities, so if any of you readers have good ideas, please let me know. I would be glad to convey a contemporary picture of modern day Finland and therefore I am ready to participate in events as long as there is room in my schedule.
I am really looking forward to my four-year tenure here in Ottawa. Canada is a great country and I will do my best to cherish and further cultivate the excellent bilateral relations between Finland and Canada.