Mme Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, vice-première ministre et ministre des Relations internationales du Québec -Québec, le 2 septembre 2004
Monique Gagnon-Tremblay spoke to faculty members from Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs during their recent visit to Québec. The deputy premier provided a general overview of developments in Québec’s international relations and emphasized the key role that the province’s foreign ties and strong network of international offices play in fulfilling the government’s commitment to building a prosperous Québec. She also talked about the government’s determination to project Québec’s fundamental values and reflect its unique culture and institutions on the international stage. Among the government’s international priorities she mentioned was the UNESCO convention on cultural diversity.
Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay told her audience that “in the face of the globalizing trend toward cultural and social homogenization, Québec has a duty to maintain the social, cultural, and linguistic specificity at the core of its identity. This is why Québec is so actively involved with cultural diversity. In light of pressures for trade liberalization, Québec believes that culture - the cornerstone of human identities - must be treated separately. As early as 1999, Québec began calling for an international legal instrument promoting cultural diversity that would recognize the right of states and governments to support culture through policy. After playing an active role in all international initiatives by the Francophonie to have this principle recognized, Québec is delighted that UNESCO is examining the draft convention for the protection of cultural contents and artistic expressions in view of its 2005 General Conference. Québec would like to see the convention establish a dynamic legal framework based on cultural rather than commercial considerations, and equal in status to international trade agreements. It also hopes the convention will include a dispute settlement mechanism, without which its effectiveness will be significantly compromised.” ( Available in French )