Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Rencontre des experts gouvernementaux à l'UNESCO : "Une phase cruciale pour la diversité culturelle"

Mme Line Beauchamp, ministre de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, le 20 mai 2004 - 2004/05/20

At the ceremony for World Day for Cultural Diversity that brought to Québec cultural industry representatives, artist association heads, media representatives, and guests, and in the presence of minister of Canadian heritage Hélène Scherrer, Québec minister of culture and communications Line Beauchamp expressed her great satisfaction with the Government of Canada’s financial contribution for the  meeting of government experts in UNESCO to work on the draft convention for the protection of the diversity of cultural content and artistic expression. According to Ms Beauchamp, “This contribution will help UNESCO member countries enter a crucial phase for cultural diversity.” She pointed to the commitment of Québec premier Jean Charest, who maintained that “Québec will be leading the fight to retain its right to promote its culture, because this means defending who we are, what we want to become, and how we express ourselves.” Ms Beauchamp stressed that cultural diversity is a government priority. In this regard, she outlined Québec’s commitment, specifically the government’s adoption in September 2003 of an official stand in favor of cultural diversity; the efforts and close cooperation of three government departments; the creation of the position of government coordinator for cultural diversity in order to boost intragovernmental cooperation; and the establishment of a government secretariat for cultural diversity to deal exclusively with the topic. Ms Beauchamp explained, “Our objective is to secure the approval of as many UNESCO member states as possible at the fall 2005 general conference for a legally binding international instrument to protect cultural diversity.” In this regard, she stated, “We must continue our efforts. I will continue to be a voice for Québec at international meetings to discuss the matter, and I will do so in the company of my federal counterpart, to the extent possible.” She indicated that Québec is highly active in the debate on cultural diversity, not only through its government, but also through its scientific community and civil society. In this regard, she paid homage to Mr. Ivan Bernier, “a highly esteemed legal scholar whose research has greatly inspired current work on a future convention on cultural diversity.” She also stressed the invaluable contribution of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, co-chaired by Pierre Curzi: “The Coalition and its international partners have raised the awareness of the people and political authorities of many countries. As a result, there are now more than eleven coalitions for cultural diversity in as many countries.” In closing, she joined her voice and that of the Québec government with all those who defend the principle of cultural diversity, and called on Quebecers to become personally involved in the great debate on cultural diversity during the ‘symbolic’ day—an opportunity “to think more deeply about the values of cultural diversity in this key year.” (Available in French)