Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Xe Sommet de la Francophonie : « Le Canada appuie l'élaboration d'une Convention qui réaffirme le droit des États d'adopter leurs propres politiques culturelles »

Mme Liza Frulla, ministre du Patrimoine canadien, le 27 novembre 2004 - 2004/11/27

This statement by Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage, stresses that during the 10th Summit of La Francophonie, held November 26 and 27, 2004, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, members of the International Organization of La Francophonie reiterated their support for UNESCO, which has been mandated to draft an International Convention on the Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions. To this end, the Minister stated, «Canada supports the development of a Convention that re-affirms the right of states to adopt their own cultural policies. Canada wants the Convention to recognize that cultural goods and services have not only an economic but a social value». In particular, Frulla states that t he conclusions of the 10th Summit of La Francophonie also «reinforce the international consensus on the importance of cultural exchanges. Culture expresses the identity of a people; it is a treasure of humanity. It must not be treated as a mere commodity (.) Like other members of La Francophonie participating in the Summit , we recognize that cultural and linguistic diversity supports sustainable development».

Citing the Human Development Report 2004 , published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Frulla emphasizes that a framework is needed for trade in cultural goods so that it promotes diversity of viewpoints and choices in the global cultural marketplace, and enables every country to express itself, and that on this issue the Canadian position is clear : « We want to establish conditions favouring creativity and to offer the entire world our best. In return, we want to have access to the best of what the world has to offer. That is why we are participating with great interest in the drafting of the UNESCO Convention. We recognize its importance for the future of humanity and we want it to be considered on the same level as other agreements, while maintaining all of Canada's rights and obligations within various international bodies».

Frulla also states, «Quebec has been a partner on this issue from the outset. In addition, Canada has consulted all of its other provincial and territorial partners (.) as well as civil society, which has an active part to play in developing the Convention. Following these consultations, on November 19 Canada presented comments to UNESCO on the preliminary draft Convention». In particular, she maintains, «The Government of Canada will continue to work closely with its national and international partners toward a strong and effective Convention». ( Available also in French and English )