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Senate Report Puts Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage

The Canadian Arts Coalition welcomes the conclusion of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade that “cultural diplomacy should be a pillar of Canada’s foreign policy”.

The Coalition has long argued that arts and culture are foreign policy assets and has encouraged successive governments to develop and fund a comprehensive strategy to enable artists and cultural organizations to better represent Canada on the international stage. It is, therefore, pleased to see that in its latest report, Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy, the Senate Standing Committee recommends that the federal government do just that. The Coalition applauds the Committee’s recommendation that Global Affairs Canada be tasked with “defining the resources and objectives needed to develop a strategic policy framework that will promote Canada’s cultural profile on the international scene”.

In this, the first comprehensive study of the role of arts and culture in Canadian foreign policy since the 1994 report by the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Reviewing Canadian Foreign Policy, the Senate Committee has asserted the value of arts and culture in projecting Canada abroad. The Report makes eight recommendations that, it believes, would strengthen the reach and impact of Canada’s international diplomacy. The Committee’s recommendations emerged after 18 months of consultation, where it received briefs and heard from 60 witnesses, including the Canadian Arts Coalition. The Coalition is particularly pleased to note that its recommendations relative to the Artist’s Resale Right, to artist mobility, and to fiscal barriers were echoed in the report.

“It is imperative that Canada’s investments in trade and diplomacy be matched by a regulatory framework that fully facilitates cultural exchanges and fair compensation of artists between Canada and key trade partners,” affirmed Renuka Bauri, Vice-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition.

The Canadian Arts Coalition welcomes and endorses all eight recommendations put forward by the Standing Senate Committee in this landmark report. The elaboration of a comprehensive cultural diplomacy strategy has long been a priority. It will provide government and sector stakeholders with a shared vision and sense of direction, that will bolster Canada’s foreign affairs and trade endeavours.

On the eve of the federal election, the Canadian Arts Coalition encourages all political parties to take note of the Senate report on cultural diplomacy and to look to the arts sector as a solid ally in global affairs.

Read the Senate study on Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy.

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