Cultural diversity

News Releases / Speeches / Declarations

Reaching an agreement on cultural diversity: "A Victory for Canada and Cultural Diversity"

Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, June 3, 2005 – 2005/06/03

Canadian heritage minister Liza Frulla was delighted that an agreement on cultural diversity was reached following intensive negotiations at UNESCO: « I am delighted to report that the text agreed to today supports Canada's position that the Convention recognize the dual nature of cultural goods and services as having both an economic and social value; that it reaffirms the right of States to take measures in support of cultural expression; that it must be supportive of and on equal footing with other international agreements and not subordinated by these other agreements; and that it serves as a point of reference for all discussions relative to cultural diversity. » Ms. Frulla further stated, «In order for the Convention to be effective and respected, it needs to be endorsed by as many countries as possible at the UNESCO General Conference. That is why it is important for Canada to continue its leadership role on this issue. My task over the next few months is to promote the merits of the Convention, especially to other countries that may not fully support the proposed text. » She added: «There are but a few short months before October in which to rally international support for the Convention. It is urgent that we unite behind this common cause to ensure it is adopted this fall. All of humanity will be able to take full advantage of the treasure of our diverse cultures and identities, for generations to come. »

The minister declared that « Even though the United States did not support the text of the Convention, nearly all of the 130 countries present did approve it. » Following a telephone conference, the press reported that the European Union, China, India, and Russia, as well as most Latin American and African countries approved the agreement, some viewing it as “a historic moment.” It added that the United States has slammed the door on talks, particularly due to its resistance regarding government assistance for cultural industries, and that Ottawa expects U.S. lobbying to intensify by October. [05-18]