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PRESS RELEASE - FEDERAL-PROVINCIAL-TERRITORIAL MINISTERS EXPLORE COLLABORATIVE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CULTURE AND HERITAGE SECTORS

WHITEHORSE, Yukon, July 7, 2011 – Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Culture and Heritage met today to discuss topics relating to the theme of this year’s meeting – New Collaborative Strategies for the Culture and Heritage Sectors. All Ministers agreed on the importance of working in collaboration to ensure a central role for arts, culture, and heritage in celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

At the meeting, which was co-chaired by Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament (Oak Ridges–Markham) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and by the Honourable Elaine Taylor, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Yukon, the Ministers discussed several issues of common interest.

150th Anniversary of Confederation
The Ministers recognized the 150th anniversary of Confederation as both a milestone event and a unique opportunity to work together.

“Our Government recently received a strong mandate from Canadians to collaborate with provincial and territorial governments, especially as we move closer to the 150th anniversary of Confederation,” said Minister Moore. “Planning for significant events is already well under way, including important and historic events for Canada such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the 200th anniversary of the Selkirk Settlement, and the bicentennial of the War of 1812.”

“The War of 1812 commemorations, along with the other milestone events, provide an opportunity for all Canadians to take pride in our history,” saidN Mr. Calandra. “We plan to build momentum on the road to 2017 and find new ways to engage Canadians with their culture and heritage.”

“ Yukon is renowned not only for its majestic landscapes, diverse wildlife and rich community spirit, but also for its distinctive culture and heritage,” said Minister Taylor. “ Yukon government attaches a high value to these attributes and recognizes the importance of working with our federal, provincial and territorial counterparts to safeguard them. We were pleased to host the FPT Meeting of Ministers responsible for Culture and Heritage and look forward to continuing to work together on a variety of issues aimed at preserving, promoting and protecting these important assets.”

Keynote speaker William Thorsell, former Director and CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum, and former Editor-in-Chief of The Globe and Mail, inspired the Ministers with his presentation about the changing face of Canada and opportunities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in the digital age. He spoke of the need to focus on building relationships between different communities and working together to create a meaningful legacy.

Cultural Statistics
Mr. Calandra and the Honourable David Wilson, Minister of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Nova Scotia, presented the Culture Satellite Account Project, an excellent example of what FPT governments can accomplish when they work together. All jurisdictions are now contributing partners in the development of a framework that will assess the economic impacts of culture, the arts, heritage, and sport in Canada—one of the most comprehensive Culture Satellite Accounts in the world.

Sustainable Development and Culture
Michel Pigeon, Member for Charlesbourg, spoke of the work being done by the Government of Quebec to develop an Agenda 21 for Culture, a framework outlining the principles and rationale for integrating culture fully in sustainable development. This promising initiative seeks to ensure the recognition of culture as essential to the development of Quebec society in the 21st century. Grounded in the three core values of diversity, identity, and creativity, the project is modeled after two other Agenda 21 for Culture initiatives, one adopted by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the other by the 27 member states of the European Union.

Built Heritage and Historic Places
The Ministers engaged in discussions regarding the achievements and future directions of FPT collaboration on built heritage and historic places, including the ongoing addition of historic places to the Canadian Register of Historic Places. The Ministers also considered the protection and conservation of heritage lighthouses and opportunities for sustainable use of these Canadian icons. In particular, they discussed the impact of the new Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act. The first designations of heritage lighthouses under the Act should be made this year. Discussion also took place on issues related to the Canada Shipping Act and the need for development and implementation of regulations related to heritage wrecks, in collaboration with the provinces and territories. Finally, Minister Taylor led a discussion on the importance of heritage and its preservation in the north and across Canada. She emphasized the need for continued efforts in heritage conservation, as the regional differences across the country are what make it unique and provide Canada’s distinctive cultural fabric.

During the meeting, the Ministers unanimously agreed to support the Bay of Fundy’s bid to become one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. The Bay of Fundy is Canada’s only remaining entry in the global New7Wonders of Nature campaign (http://www.new7wonders.com/). In lending their unified support to the “Vote My Fundy” ( www.votemyfundy.com) campaign, they hope to encourage all Canadians to vote for this extraordinary site, in order to showcase and promote the rich diversity of Canada’s natural heritage.

Next Ministerial Meeting
Manitoba was pleased to extend an official invitation to the FPT Ministers to hold the next meeting in Manitoba in 2012.