Carole LAVALLÉE

LAVALLÉE, Carole

Personal Data

Party
Bloc Québécois
Constituency
Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert (Quebec)
Birth Date
January 23, 1954
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_Lavallée
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=eb5609d3-e55e-43f5-a34f-cf49ae1bbabb&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
communication consultant, communicator, journalist

Parliamentary Career

June 28, 2004 - November 29, 2005
BQ
  Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert (Quebec)
January 23, 2006 - September 7, 2008
BQ
  Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert (Quebec)
October 14, 2008 - March 26, 2011
BQ
  Saint-Bruno--Saint-Hubert (Quebec)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 5 of 131)


December 14, 2010

Mrs. Carole Lavallée

Mr. Chair, the member does not understand how it works. Canada and the European Union signed the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. This means that all Canada has to do with this agreement with the European Union is to simply write it in the preamble.

All they have to do is sit down and decide to resolve the issue of arts and culture right away. In fact, in the first paragraph of the preamble, all they have to say is that since the European Union and Canada signed the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, which exempts arts and culture from a free trade agreement, they are exempting arts and culture and acknowledge that the UNESCO convention applies. Then, they no longer have to talk about it and can negotiate other things, such as the software industry, the biomedical industry or the aerospace industry, but they will not talk about arts or culture because these topics are already exempt. As the member said earlier, when something is exempt, it means that it is truly exempt and is not included. Let us remove these issues and stop talking about them.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic Negotiations with the European Union
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December 14, 2010

Mrs. Carole Lavallée

Mr. Chair, unfortunately, the NDP member who just spoke is right. I said “unfortunately” because, to this point, the Conservatives have given no indication that they like the arts, culture and artists.

On November 30, 120 of the most famous, symbolic and legendary Quebec artists came to meet with Conservative members on Parliament Hill. Luc Plamondon, Robert Charlebois, Michel Rivard, Ariane Moffatt, Louise Forestier and the members of Mes aïeux and Cowboys fringants were there. Who met with them? Not one Conservative member met with them. Zero, net, none.

These are some of our most legendary artists. Usually, someone who likes artists will meet with them, especially when they are generous enough to travel to attend a meeting. They all spoke to us; we were at the same table. We went from table to table and they talked about themselves. Meeting so many great Quebec artists, many of whom are stars on the international stage, was truly an extraordinary experience.

They spoke against Bill C-32, which runs counter to artists' interests. We cannot understand why the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages defends industry at the expense of artists, and takes away $74 million in revenue per year. That makes absolutely no sense.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic Negotiations with the European Union
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December 14, 2010

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ)

Mr. Chair, on Thursday, November 10, 2005, Quebec became the first government in the world to approve UNESCO's convention to defend and promote culture. The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was adopted at the 33rd UNESCO General Conference held on October 20, 2003.

By so doing, Quebec hoped to ensure the right of governments to adopt policies and measures to promote and preserve their culture. Quebec wanted to maintain full authority to intervene to support its culture through its cultural policies.

Quebec refused to make liberalization commitments and wanted to have recourse to the reserves needed to preserve its policies any time issues were raised that could affect its ability to support its culture during trade negotiations—whether through the WTO, the FTAA, bilateral agreements or others—or during trade and investment liberalization.

Finally, Quebec made a significant contribution to the 2005 campaign in favour of adopting UNESCO's Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. In passing, I would like to congratulate three great Quebeckers, Louise Beaudoin, Pierre Curzi and Robert Pilon, for their hard work and dedication.

The Quebec Liberal minister, Claude Béchard used to say, and I quote:

The UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions is just what we need. That is what he said in 2005. It will be a reference tool for states facing pressure to liberalize their cultural sectors and help legitimize their cultural policies on the international stage

That is the situation today. I think that it is an excellent quote in these circumstances. “It will be a reference tool for states facing pressure to liberalize their cultural sectors.” When I hear a speech like the one by the member for Kelowna—Lake Country, I am not convinced that our culture is being protected in the current free trade negotiations with the European Union.

While Canada and the European Union were the first to promote and sign a treaty on cultural diversity, I find it worrying that it is not already written in the first paragraph of their negotiations so that they can move on to something else. I understood what the member for Kelowna—Lake Country said, which is that culture is currently on the table.

The response from the Minister of International Trade is also worrying because she was just as vague and implied that there is a lot of room to manoeuvre and a lot of flexibility. But there should not be. The UNESCO convention on the diversity of cultural expressions signed by Canada and the European Union should have been in the first paragraph. It should have already been signed so that they could move on, but this aspect of the negotiation was left in play.

The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions was passed by UNESCO in October 2003. Canada, taking its lead from Quebec, helped campaign in favour of adopting the convention. Canada and the European Union were the first to support and then ratify this UNESCO convention.

What are the objectives of this convention? Are they still up to date? The first objective is “to protect and promote the diversity of cultural expressions”. The second is “to create the conditions for cultures to flourish and to freely interact in a mutually beneficial manner”.

I am going to skip a few objectives and go on to objective (e): “to promote respect for the diversity of cultural expressions and raise awareness of its value at the local, national and international levels”. Objective (h) reads: “to reaffirm the sovereign rights of states to maintain, adopt and implement policies and measures that they deem appropriate for the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions on their territory”.

Canada would remain—so I thought—an ardent defender of the cultural exemption clause, which it has included in all bilateral and regional trade agreements since NAFTA, in other words, its agreements with Israel, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia. I had some concerns and after the responses I have heard this evening, not only do I have even more concerns, but they are also more serious. The responses I have heard raise many questions. The policy on culture in this agreement is one of the main points that raises some concerns.

For instance, the cultural exemption clause excludes cultural industries from the provisions of liberalization rules governing the trade agreement. This clause allows signatories to implement cultural policies and to take measures to ensure the development and enrichment of national cultural industries, such as awarding grants and imposing national content quotas for radio and television programming. Without the cultural exemption clause, these kinds of measures would violate the liberalization rules of the trade agreement and would be considered protectionism.

Traditionally, the European Union's cultural exemption clause, also known as the “cultural exception clause”, applies only to audio-visual services and does not include areas such as publishing, music and visual arts, while Canada's cultural exemption clause is broader.

I am about to recite a long list, but my hon. colleagues will understand how important this is. Indeed, I want to make sure that my hon. colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country, who said he was present at the negotiations, knows what is covered by Canada's exemption clause. So, it applies to the following:

(a) The publication, distribution, or sale of books, magazines, periodicals or newspapers in print or machine readable form but not including the sole activity of printing or typesetting any of the foregoing;

(b) The production, distribution, sale or exhibition of film or video recordings;

(c) The production, distribution, sale or exhibition of audio or video music recordings;

(d) The publication, distribution or sale of music in print or machine readable form; or

(e) Radio communications in which the transmissions are intended for direct reception by the general public, and all radio, television and cable broadcasting undertakings and all satellite programming and broadcast network services.

In the case of the free trade agreement with Colombia, the production and presentation of performing arts, the production and exhibition of visual arts, and the design, production, distribution and sale of handicrafts are also exempt.

For now, there is still uncertainty about the effect the cultural exemption clause will have on the future comprehensive economic and trade agreement with the European Union. According to the chief negotiator from Quebec, Pierre-Marc Johnson, the Europeans have already made requests to liberalize the cultural sector. I gather from the responses from the minister and the hon. member for Kelowna—Lake Country this evening that these requests have not been turned down as they should have been.

France's Ambassador to Canada, François Delattre, has confirmed that his government would support Quebec in preserving the cultural exemption in its entirety. However, he cannot support it without Canada's support.

I have some questions for the Minister of International Trade. He has been invited to appear before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. He will undoubtedly be there on Monday, January 31, 2011. He will have to answer questions from the members of the committee and give them an update on the status of the free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union. I am concerned this will change by January 31, 2011. I have prepared a few questions. The minister may want to write them down. That way he will already have my questions. I have six questions for him.

First, will the Minister of International Trade ensure that the scope of the exemption clause is kept in its entirety in the text of the final agreement in order that Canada and the provincial governments may maintain their right to implement cultural policies?

Second, in his testimony before the Committee on Institutions in Quebec City last October 6, Quebec’s chief negotiator, Pierre-Marc Johnson, said he was surprised to hear the Europeans trying to edge into certain cultural areas and get them subject to the agreement. It is very surprising to see the European Union exerting this kind of pressure, which is contrary to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, as ratified by the European Union and 26 of its 27 member states. What does Canada intend to do to get culture fully exempted and protect the integrity of the UNESCO convention recognizing that cultural goods and services are not like the others because of their dual nature, both economic and cultural?

Third, it was Quebec that promoted the idea of linking to the main trade deal side agreements to cooperate in such areas as science and technology as well as the cultural sector. What is the Canadian government’s reaction to this proposal?

Fourth, if a cultural co-operation agreement is linked to the main trade deal, might this not leave the impression that there is no cultural exemption?

Fifth, before any consideration is given to a cultural co-operation agreement with the European Union, should we not ensure first that the trade deal includes a complete exemption for culture?

Finally, I want to repeat and reiterate the question I already asked of the minister and my colleague from Kelowna—Lake Country. Should we not set an example by agreeing with the European Union on a complete exemption for culture in the trade agreement by including in the preamble a reference to the UNESCO convention?

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic Negotiations with the European Union
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December 14, 2010

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ)

Mr. Chair, my question is for the Conservative member who just spoke to us about cultural diversity.

Canada and the European Union were the first countries to sign the UNESCO convention on cultural diversity. Would it not make sense for them to start by setting an example by agreeing to completely exempt culture from the trade agreement, as is set out in the convention on cultural diversity, and to include in the agreement's preamble a reference to the fact that the UNESCO convention is a legal framework for the cultural exemption? My question is for the member who just spoke.

Topic:   Government Orders
Subtopic:   Economic Negotiations with the European Union
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December 13, 2010

Mrs. Carole Lavallée (Saint-Bruno—Saint-Hubert, BQ)

Mr. Speaker, the second petition that I have before me was signed mainly by veterans from the Saint-Bruno and Saint-Hubert Canadian Legions. They are asking that the veterans charter be amended to restore the lifetime monthly pension as a means of compensation for injured military personnel.

This petition is an initiative of my colleague, the member for Québec.

Topic:   Routine Proceedings
Subtopic:   Petitions
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