November 25, 2002
(Tourism, Culture and Recreation)

The following statement was issued today by Julie Bettney, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. It was also read in the House of Assembly:

Cultural Policy

I rise today to inform my honourable colleagues about the cultural policy announced on Saturday that will help preserve and enhance the culture of Newfoundland and Labrador. This policy focuses on both the tangible and intangible heritage of the people of this province. It includes the activities of artists and arts professionals, heritage professionals and volunteers, and Aboriginal and European-based tradition bearers.

Our culture is the heart of our identity. We are very much defined by the marine environment in which we live. Our culture includes our past and present day peoples, including their art forms expressed in music, dance, theatre, literary works and film. We want to preserve, protect and strengthen our culture by valuing the legacy created by our predecessors and contemporary professionals alike. Our province has made, and continues to make, significant contributions to the cultural fabric of Canada and the world.

The main component of our cultural policy is a set of guiding principles which will direct government in setting cultural goals and developing cultural strategies, initiatives and programs. These principles focus on all aspects of culture from its inherent value and quality of life, socioeconomic value, linguistic diversity and peer assessment. They will allow us to clearly articulate priorities on cultural matters to our federal partners, and help us work collaboratively to identify priorities in our existing programs. In drafting the policy, we reviewed international models of cultural policy from countries such as Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Australia, and identified the best practices within each.

Based on the guiding principles of our cultural policy, I am proud to say we have one of the most progressive cultural policies in Canada, if not North America.

This policy is the result of efforts by several stakeholders in the cultural community. The Association of Cultural Industries, the Association of Heritage Industries, the working committee on cultural policy, and the planning support of several people in the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation contributed to its development.

The creation of this policy represents Phase I of the Cultural Policy Development Plan. It will form the basis for the Strategic Cultural Plan. Phase II of the plan will outline the goals, objectives and key actions which flow from the guiding principles announced on the weekend.

We take great pride in the cultural identity that binds us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We recognize the social and economic contributions culture makes to our province. It is important that we benefit from the uniqueness that is ours, and future generations should be able to do the same. We, as a government, share this obligation with the people of our province. We support cultural products and activities targeted to our own residents, as well as national and international audiences. Adopting this cultural policy visibly demonstrates that we are meeting our commitment to nurture and preserve our province’s culture.

2002 11 25             1:50 p.m.


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