"A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together."

Margaret Atwood

Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy

June 13 2019 – Cultural diplomacy should be a pillar of Canada’s foreign policy, affirms Senate Committee.

After a year-long study on the role of arts and culture in foreign policy, the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade released a long-awaited report, titled Cultural Diplomacy at the Front Stage of Canada’s Foreign Policy. This is the first comprehensive study of the role of arts and culture in Canadian foreign policy since 1994.

The Senate Committee's primary recommendation is that the federal government must develop a comprehensive strategy to strengthen cultural diplomacy as a pillar of Canada’s foreign policy. The report further stress the importance of establishing objectives and proposes priorities for countries and regions where our cultural engagement could focus. The report also speaks of the need for consistent and predictable level of investment.

Moreover, two recommendations address the crucial role of Canadian missions abroad:

  • That Global Affairs Canada enhance the capacity of Canadian missions abroad so that they have the skills, knowledge and tools necessary to support the federal government’s cultural diplomacy initiatives.
  • That Global Affairs Canada provide cultural diplomacy training to its employees, with particular attention on rotational employees posted abroad.

Most importantly, the implementation section of the report stresses the need to facilitate artist mobility and to reduce fiscal barriers. These sections of the report fully echo messages conveyed by CAPACOA in briefs and during the Canadian Arts Coalition' hearings.

This report will be an important asset and reference document for both CAPACOA's International Market Development Committee and the Performing Arts Tax Working Group.


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