Québec’s employment and social solidarity minister Sam Hamad, who headed the Québec delegation to the tenth annual ministers’ meeting of the International Network on Cultural Policy on September 20 and 21, 2007, in Seville, Spain, is delighted with the outcome of the meeting. Mr. Hamad was standing in for the minister of culture, communications and the status of women, Christine St-Pierre, who was on a mission to Mexico.
The press release issued by the Québec government after the event notes that the Network ministerial meeting was well attended, with over 40 countries represented, 26 of them by their culture ministers, along with a number of bodies like the International Organization of La Francophonie, the European Commission, and the Council of Europe. Mr. Hamad addressed the meeting as a member of the Canadian delegation to express Québec’s expectations both with regard to the ratification process of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and the work relating to its coming into force.
Stressing the Convention’s importance for preserving the right of states and governments to take action to support their cultural sectors, Mr. Hamad also emphasized the importance of recognizing the economic contribution of cultural and communications-related activities.
“As Québec’s minister of employment and social solidarity, I am in a position to tell you that in Québec, culture and communications are a considerable boon to the economy, providing some 180,000 direct or indirect jobs, which represents close to 5% of the workforce. Culture and communications also make up an estimated 7.7% of our gross domestic product. Clearly, it’s a sector that deserves our support,” stated the minister in his comments on the Convention.
The press release also notes that the Network ministerial meeting was particularly important this year as it represented an opportunity to discuss priorities with a view to the inaugural meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee under the Convention, which will be held from December 10 in Ottawa, Canada.
Meanwhile, at another meeting in Seville early in the week, Coalitions for Cultural Diversity from some forty countries formed a federation, creating an NGO that will be headquartered in Montréal in the office of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity.
“This new federation will allow the Coalitions to maintain their important role in promoting the Convention, but with a focus now shifted to implementation and monitoring. The decision to headquarter the federation in Québec is a fitting tribute to our coalition’s untiring efforts in the field of cultural diversity,” commented Ms. St-Pierre from Mexico.