Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

La diversité culturelle : sujet central au cœur de la visite officielle du Premier ministre du Québec en France – Entrevue accordée par M. Jean Charest à M. Charles Lambroschini

Le Figaro, édition du 3 mai 2004 – 2004/05/03

In this interview, Premier Jean Charest stresses that cultural diversity will be the focus of his meeting with French President Jacques Chirac and French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin during his official visit to France from May 1 to 5, 2004. When asked about the issue, Mr. Charest stated that “France and Québec, along with Canada, are at the forefront of the campaign for a UNESCO international convention on cultural diversity that would solidify the right of states to support their national culture. As francophones representing 2% of the North American population, we defend all peoples who lack strength in numbers.” When asked whether “fighting to impose cultural diversity automatically meant standing up to the United States,” Mr. Charest replied that “Québec, which has managed to maintain its language against the demographic odds, is convinced of the need for a treaty guaranteeing the right of states to support their culture. France shares this belief. But we know that the United States has a completely different opinion. In film, for example, it refuses to distinguish between trade and culture. Quebecers are free trade advocates and our economy is fully integrated into North America. At the same time, we’re attached to our difference. I would add that the Government of Canada has the same concern.” (Available in French)