In a joint press release dated December 18, 2006, Québec’s minister of culture and communications, Line Beauchamp; minister of international relations, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay; and minister of economic development, innovation, and export trade, Raymond Bachand, applauded the deposit of the 30th ratification instrument of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions with UNESCO.
Minister of culture and communications Line Beauchamp stated that “The Convention’s entry into force represents a very important step for Québec and for its artists, institutions, and cultural industries in particular. The provisions of this treaty guarantee that the government of Québec can continue to implement and expand policies and programs that encourage the growth of its culture and identity.”
Minister of international relations Monique Gagnon-Tremblay added, “This is a great victory for Québec, who was present at every step in the negotiations surrounding the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. The diplomatic campaign that we carried out allowed us to engage in a very fruitful dialog with our partners around the world, and especially in Europe, Africa, and within the International Organization of the Francophonie.”
In an open letter to the media, all three ministers reiterated that with every new ratification, the principles embodied by the Convention will gain in legitimacy and recognition. Therefore, “The Government of Québec intends to continue its diplomatic efforts aimed at encouraging as many countries as possible to ratify the Convention.” The ministers also stated that another challenge was “starting a dialog with all our partners, both at home and abroad, on issues relating to Convention implementation.”
The Government of Canada also applauded the fact that the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions would soon come into effect. In a press release dated December 18, 2006, Canadian heritage and status of women minister Beverley J. Oda stated, “This Convention is very important for our artists and creators, for all of us as Canadian citizens, as well as for everyone who is committed to cultural diversity. It will enable us to ensure the free expression of our ideas, our history, and our experiences, while at the same time guaranteeing that these will be communicated to future generations.” The press release also stipulated that “While we will dedicate ourselves to addressing issues related to the entering into force of the Convention, Canada’s New Government will continue to encourage as many countries as possible to officially recognize the importance of cultural diversity by ratifying this important international treaty.”
To mark this turning point, Scott McIntyre and Solange Drouin, interim co-presidents of Canada’s Coalition for Cultural Diversity, drew attention to the exceptional contributions of the governments of Québec and Canada and to their fast and efficient ratification campaign for the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which is still underway. In a press release, Mr. McIntyre declared, “On behalf of the 38 cultural organizations that are members of the Canadian Coalition, I would like to express how proud I am that Canada was the first country in the world to ratify the Convention in December 2005. I would also like to thank Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Canadian Heritage Beverley Oda for their determination in vigorously pursuing this campaign to ensure the Convention’s ratification and for their unwavering support of the Coalition’s work.” Ms. Drouin applauded the decisive role played by the Government of Québec at every step of the process leading to ratification of the Convention by the first 35 countries. “I would like to convey the gratitude of all our Coalition members to Premier Jean Charest, Culture and Communications Minister Line Beauchamp, International Relations Minister Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, and Minister of Economic Development, Innovation, and Export Trade Raymond Bachand,” she added.
According to the press release, the international movement of coalitions will, as of this month, continue its information and mobilization campaign with the aim of reaching at least 100 ratifications over the next two years and ensuring more balanced representation of all the world’s great regions and subregions and all its linguistic groupings in all countries that have ratified the Convention. The same press release states that the Coalition also intends to take part in the Convention implementation process.