The February issue of the Québec@monde newsletter has an article on an interview given by the director of the Québec Government Office in Barcelona, Claude Fleury, to online monthly CandleBook News, following Québec’s participation as guest of honor in Liber, the Barcelona International Book Fair.
“Spain,” we read in the Québec@monde article, “is keenly aware of cultural diversity issues. A few years ago, inspired by Québec’s approach in this area, a coalition backed by the Spanish government was part of the campaign that led to the adoption by UNESCO of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions … Claude Fleury began by stressing that market laws as such cannot ensure the development of cultural industries in societies like Québec, with a relatively small population. He pointed out that the Convention recognizes the right of states to prepare and implement cultural policies, adding that in Québec, this role has led, among other things, to the adoption of a book policy and an array of measures designed to support the publishing industry.
“Fleury went on to describe the context behind the creation of the Canadian Coalition for Cultural Diversity, which has played a key role in encouraging the recognition of states’ right to support culture. The idea for this type of coalition, which brings together cultural stakeholders and governments, has been adopted by over 40 countries and, in 2007, led to the creation of the International Federation of Coalitions for Cultural Diversity.
“The interview also covers Québec’s participation in Liber, cultural cooperation between Québec and Spain, ties between the publishing sector and literature, and the role of the Québec Government Office in Barcelona.
“Close to 80 Quebecers—publishers, authors, and artists—took part in the fall 2008 edition of Liber and a series of cultural events held in Barcelona bookstores, theaters, and cinemas as part of a cultural showcase called Imagina Québec. Liber is the Spanish-speaking world’s leading book fair in terms of copyright purchases and sales.”