Twenty-five years after the launch of Quebec’s first Cultural Policy, which led to the creation of CALQ and SODEC, and 15 months after consultations began, Luc Fortin, Minister of Culture and Communications, has released a draft of the new Cultural Policy.

ELAN consulted its members last summer and presented a brief to the Minister last fall, expressing our concerns that the working documents indicated an alarming discomfort with English-language art and artists. We understand the importance of celebrating French-language culture, but we also know that when Arcade Fire won a Grammy Award in 2011 the National Assembly voted a unanimous resolution recognizing that English-speaking artists can also be worthy ambassadors for Quebec.

The new policy fills many gaps from 1992, particularly the digital shift, and recognition of the importance of Indigenous artists. It is not perfect, but the Minister and his team have made a serious effort to be modern and inclusive.

The Ministry of Culture and Communications is currently inviting feedback on the draft Cultural Policy (FR). This is the last chance for you to have your say! Take a few minutes to review the document, then send your comments to the Ministry, or to ELAN (admin@quebec-elan.org) and we will include them with ours.

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ELAN is an official minority language organization within a country that only recognizes two languages as official. ELAN is located in Tiohtiak:ke, which is the original name for Montreal in Kanien’keha:ka, the language of the Mohawk—also known as Mooniyang, which is the Anishinaabeg name given to the city by the Algonquin. While we are based in this city, our projects have also taken place in many regions across Quebec.
We would also like to acknowledge the important work being done by First Nations to revive the traditional languages of these territories, and their advocacy for the official status of Indigenous languages. Kanien’keha:ka and Anishinaabeg are but two of the original languages of this province, in which English and French are colonial languages. The province that we know as Quebec is an amalgamation of the traditional territories of the Innu and Inuit nations, Algonquian nations, as well as the Mohawk nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Atikamekw, Cree, Inuktitut, and Innu-aimun are also among the many Indigenous languages spoken across Quebec as majority languages, and well before French and English.