Mme Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, vice-première ministre, ministre des Relations internationales du Québec et ministre responsable de la Francophonie, le 20 mai 2004 - 2004/05/20
In this speech to members of Club Tocqueville in Washington, D.C., Monique Gagnon-Tremblay described the two goals of her mission to the United States: “to reiterate to my hosts Québec’s strong commitment to continental security” and also to discuss “another dimension of security that is of special importance to my fellow citizens, their culture.” Ms Gagnon-Tremblay stressed that Québec’s position in North America encompasses an obligation of good neighborliness as well as a major responsibility—“preserving our francophone identity.” She further stressed that Québec’s pride in its language and culture impelled her to campaign actively to protect cultural diversity, declaring that “We want culture to be excluded from agreements liberalizing trade. Our government supports the development by UNESCO of a convention to protect cultural diversity among the world’s peoples. The United States rejoined UNESCO last year, and that is good news. Quebecers are undoubtedly in a good position to dialog on this issue with their southern neighbors. We can encourage them to be open. We can credibly demonstrate that cultural diversity protection is not an expression of anti-Americanism, but of a desire to safeguard cultures and their means of expression. In short, it is a matter of enshrining the right to exist, not erecting another obstacle to free trade.” Ms Gagnon-Tremblay added that Québec intends to “continue to take an active interest in the world francophone community” and “to capitalize on its privileged position in North America to promote our language and culture.” In pursuing this goal, she will meet with ambassadors representing various nations of the Francophonie in Washington to discuss “short-term means for defending and illustrating our common position on cultural diversity. I am counting on their presence here to back our efforts,” she declared.
(Available in French)