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Canada/ 2. General objectives and principles of cultural policy  

2.3 Cultural policy objectives

While there is no single statement of Canadian cultural policy objectives, the federal government supports two strategic outcomes whereby: "Canadians express and share their diverse cultural experiences with each other and with the world and Canadians live in an inclusive society built on inter-cultural understanding and citizen participation." The mission or raison d'être of the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Federal Cultural Portfolio of organisations is to contribute to a cohesive and creative Canada in which all Canadians have opportunities to participate in the nation's cultural and civic life. These strategic outcomes are the desired results of the policies, programmes and services provided to Canadians and are intricately linked to the government of Canada outcomes related to strengthening Canada's social foundations. These are, respectively: (1) a vibrant Canadian cultural and heritage and (2) an inclusive society that promotes linguistic duality and diversity. (2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report).

The first strategic outcome - cultural expression - subsumes four activities: creation of Canadian content and performance excellence, sustainability of cultural expression and participation, preservation of Canada's heritage, and access and participation in Canada's cultural life. The second strategic outcome - inclusion - subsumes the promotion of inter-cultural understanding, community development and capacity-building, and participation in community and civic life. It is revealing that the most significant element in common with the two strategic outcomes and activities is that of participation, whether civic or cultural. 

Principles, values and traditions flowing from these strategic outcomes and objectives include freedom of choice, a domestic market open to the world, diversity of content and content providers, the reservation of cultural shelf-space for Canadian content, access to new technologies by increasingly diverse artists, producers, distributors and consumers, public / private sector partnerships and more universal and extensive civic and cultural engagement including community building, the promotion of cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, exchanges and volunteerism. In recent years, coupled with the continuing saga of technological innovation, the principle of diversity has transformed the elaboration and implementation of cultural policies. Today, the principle of dialogue is increasingly important in regard to cultural governance and multiculturalism in both domestic and global settings. These strategic outcomes and principles have generally attracted broad public support in Canada as part of a shared commitment amongst governments and citizens to maintain an active presence in charting the country's present and future cultural affairs.

Chapter published: 24-11-2008

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