Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Journée mondiale de la diversité culturelle : "Appuyer concrètement l'UNESCO dans l'élaboration de la Convention sur la protection des contenus culturels et des expressions artistiques"

Communiqué conjoint, ministère fédéral du Patrimoine canadien et ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, le 20 mai 2004 – 2004/05/20

At the celebration of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which brought many civil society partners and representatives to Québec City, minister of Canadian heritage Hélène Scherrer—in the presence of Québec minister of culture and communications Line Beauchamp and the co-chair of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, Pierre Curzi—declared that in light of the Government of Canada’s leadership role in the development of a convention on cultural diversity, “we recognize how important it is to actively support UNESCO in its efforts. I believe that artists, creators, and cultural entrepreneurs must have the means to express themselves, both here at home and on the world stage. We hope that this Convention will strengthen our ability to develop and highlight our respective cultures.” Ms Scherrer also underscored the importance of the partnership that has been established with Québec and the other provinces and territories, as well as with civil society and the private sector, in order to make cultural diversity a key issue in international affairs. She added, “The involvement of the provinces and territories and most especially Québec gives added weight to our contribution. Our successful collaboration clearly demonstrates that cultural diversity is at the heart of Canadian priorities.” To this end, she announced funding in the amount of $350,000 for UNESCO to help finance intergovernmental meetings leading to the development of the international Convention on the Protection of Cultural Content and Artistic Expression, as well as the creation of the position of special envoy to the prime minister of Canada, “who will act as lead negotiator and whose mandate will be to foster respect for cultural diversity, both here and abroad.” Ms Beauchamp, noting that the governments of Québec and Canada were among the first to have formally taken up with UNESCO the cause of an international convention on the protection of cultural content and artistic expression, and stressing that the Government of Québec believes this effort is essential to the province’s culture and identity, stated, “Our two governments have agreed to be central players in the adoption of an international convention. I warmly welcome the federal initiative to back the participation of governmental experts in UNESCO’s work. It is in line with Québec’s initiatives, which over the past several years have contributed to the thinking behind the draft convention.” (Available in French and English)