Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

UNESCO Draft Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions : The Canadian government submits its comments

Ministry of Canadian Heritage , Ottawa , November 19, 2004 - 2004/11/19

The Government of Canada submitted its written comments on the preliminary draft Convention on the Protection of Cultural Contents and Artistic Expressions to the UNESCO director-general this month. In its comments, the Government of Canada reiterated the importance of recognizing in the Convention the dual nature of cultural goods and services as having both an economic and social value, and reaffirmed the right of governments to adopt cultural policies. Canada also stressed the need to ensure that the Convention focuses solely on cultural contents and artistic expressions. Moreover, Canada believes that the Convention will act as a benchmark in cultural affairs at the international level and will encourage organizations to respect the principles of cultural diversity in fulfilling their own mandate. Canada hopes that the Convention will give culture its rightful place in the practice of international law, without giving certain agreements precedence over others. « If the Convention is to assume its rightful role within the international system, it will require effective and appropriate follow-up bodies, as well as timely and accessible procedures to resolve relevant disputes between States Parties in certain situations», Canada declared.

Minister of Canadian Heritage Liza Frulla , said that the adoption of this Convention is a priority for the Government of Canada, and that «Canadians must be able to find their own reflection in the music, films, television programs and literature created by our artists and distributed in our country.». Then, she declared : «This convention will enable us to have access to our cultural productions and to continue enriching global culture».

The Government of Canada consulted with its provincial and territorial partners, as well as with civil society, in order to present to UNESCO Canada's position. Several provinces and territories responded to the request to offer their vision of the Convention. In addition, all Ministers adopted a resolution supporting Canada's position on this issue this past October, at the federal-provincial-territorial meeting of Ministers Responsible for Culture and Heritage in Halifax. A second intergovernmental meeting of experts will be held in February 2005 to continue discussions on the Convention. (Available also in French and English) [81]