The NATO Affiliation of Canada’s Robert Baines on what ‘Star Trek’ taught him about life

“I come to bury Caesar, to not reward him,” quipped Robert Baines the opposite night time.

Quoting Mark Antony at Caesar’s funeral, by means of Shakespeare, Baines was cheekily addressing a black-tie gang out to rejoice his fortieth birthday contained in the storied library of the Royal Canadian Navy Institute on College Avenue. The night was enterprise meets pleasure for the person about city, significantly contemplating Baines’s publish as president and CEO of the NATO Affiliation of Canada.

Although the event was celebratory, it had undercurrents of solemnity, what with the state of geopolitics. For the primary time in a era, NATO seems to be on the lips of le tout. “I all the time really feel like I’m proselytizing a faith after I speak to individuals about NATO,” he tells me later.

“Evaluating NATO to a gaggle of hockey gamers in a tough bar will get the purpose throughout instantly,” he provides. “No one messes with a hockey crew, and in the event that they do the crew can defend themselves. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, I’ve discovered many extra Canadians making the connection between the teachings realized from the Second World Battle and the establishments like NATO that had been created to cease one other main world battle from occurring. When individuals mirror that the loss of life and sacrifice that we honour yearly on November eleventh led on to the urge to keep up our hard-won peace by founding NATO, it provides a layer of gravitas to what would possibly in any other case be seen as a faceless multilateral bureaucratic entity.”

A person in uniform

It was a circuitous highway for Baines to his current place. His college research leaned largely within the path of historical past and philosophy (he’s a Trinity School grad, and later did a masters at York), however issues took a flip when he joined the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve. That led to an internship on the Atlantic Council of Canada (the NATO Affiliation’s earlier identify) – a formative expertise for him.

I ask if he ever leads together with his navy stint on a primary date or when making an attempt to woo somebody. “Navy service is actually a fancy dialog to introduce on a primary date,” the single Baines says with fun. “Generally, discretion is the higher a part of valour.”

The Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, he says, is an incredible amalgam of experiences. Although he began out as a member of the Infantry within the Toronto Scottish Regiment at Fort York Armoury, Baines is at present within the Navy with Toronto’s HMCS York reserve division. “I’ve all the time really helpful the reserves to anybody seeking to problem themselves,” he says. “It serves to develop initiative, self reliance and teamwork.”

The ultimate frontier

Turning 40 has Baines taking inventory. “I’ve all the time had a wholesome respect for the finite nature of human existence,” he confesses. “Studying Greek philosophy in my youth actually helped on this regard, however I have to say that I’ve been most affected, by far, within the acceptance of mortality by the instructive character and experiences of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Gene Roddenberry’s ‘Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology.’ I sincerely assume he could also be one of many biggest fictional representations of humanist and enlightenment aspirations ever created. The trial by no means ends, and it’s immensely fulfilling.”

What’s on this Trekkie’s to-do record? Actually, extra journey. “The pleasure of strolling amongst ruins across the Mediterranean is a continuing draw and can by no means develop outdated,” he says. “Italy, specifically, is all the time the everlasting return for me. In my college days I participated in a number of archaeological excavations in Spain and Cyprus – maybe I’ll join one other.”

When he’s not spreading the gospel of the “biggest defensive alliance within the historical past of the world,” Baines is enmeshed in lots of the metropolis’s cultural organizations, together with the ROM Younger Patrons Circle, AGO NEXT and the Canadian Opera Firm’s VOX progam.

Blissful to see glimmers of life once more in these establishments, he tells me, “Our society wants extra of this sort of social buttressing, and every Torontonian ought to make an effort be a part of an arts or cultural group – for their very own effectively being and for the overall well being of the town.”



Conversations are opinions of our readers and are topic to the Code of Conduct. The Star doesn’t endorse these opinions.


Leave a Reply