[lg policy] Anglophones get a nod in Quebec's new cultural policy, but funding remains unclear

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed Jun 13 10:44:59 EDT 2018

 Anglophones get a nod in Quebec's new cultural policy, but funding remains
unclear$600M plan acknowledges 'undeniable' contribution of anglos, but
offers few details on financial support
Steve Rukavina · CBC News · Posted: Jun 12, 2018 4:24 PM ET | Last Updated:
June 12
Premier Philippe Couillard announced a sweeping, $600-million cultural
policy Tuesday in Montreal, saying anglophones have made undeniable
contributions to Quebec culture. (Radio-Canada)

The Quebec government's new $600-million cultural policy acknowledges the
"undeniable" contribution of the anglophone community to Quebec's culture,
but it offers few concrete details on how anglophone cultural institutions
might benefit.

Premier Philippe Couillard and Culture Minister Marie Montpetit presented
the sweeping cultural action plan before an audience of 200 industry
insiders in downtown Montreal Tuesday morning.

The five-year plan includes financial commitments for almost every aspect
of culture, including film and TV production, digital entrepreneurship,
more school field trips to cultural events, and even $5 million to allow
museums to offer free admission one Sunday every month.
English language not mentioned in financial document

While the new policy clearly underlines the important role of anglophone
culture in Quebec, the accompanying document that spells out specific
financial commitments makes no mention of anglophones or anglophone
cultural institutions.

While there's no mention of English, the document does mention other

It sets aside $11.5 million to protect the French language, including
"intensifying the promotion of the usage of the French language in the
public space."

It also makes specific mention of recognizing the value of Aboriginal
languages, as part of a $17-million investment in First Nations culture.

At the news conference, Couillard insisted that the anglophone community
was an important part of the plan, mentioning Leonard Cohen as an obvious
example of the richness of anglophone culture in Quebec.
Couillard said Leonard Cohen was an obvious example of the influence
anglophone culture has had in Quebec.

"English-speaking Quebecers are part of our community, and their culture
also must be seen and be heard as part of the Quebec
culture," Couillard said.
'At least they have made the commitment'

Guy Rodgers, executive director of the English Language Arts Network, said
even without specific financial commitments, mentioning anglophones like
this is significant.

"There's an inherent complication in supporting and promoting French, and
finding a place for English, and we've been hearing  that they were having
a very difficult time within the ministry juggling those two propositions,"
Rodgers told CBC News.

"In the briefing documents, there was nothing about English-speaking
artists. There was only one reference to the 'problem' of artists
performing in English," Rodgers said.

* - Couillard turns to fresh faces, appoints minister of Anglo affairs in
cabinet shuffle

Rodgers said the final policy document is therefore a big improvement.

"Given that we came into the process very pessimistic, we're OK with where
we are at the end of this. Exactly what they're going to do is not clear,
but at least they have made the commitment," he said.

While the plan makes spending commitments over five years, it my never see
the light of day if the Liberals are unseated in the fall election, set for
Oct. 1.

PQ leader Jean-Francois Lisée said releasing the plan in the months before
an election makes it more like a campaign promise, rather than a genuine
policy document.


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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