ARCHIVED - II Linguistic Duality in Key Programs and Initiatives

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Turning to departmental programs and initiatives developed for achieving international policy objectives, this section addresses the issue of linguistic duality’s place in prominent cultural strategies (the Public Diplomacy Program, the Canadian Studies Program and the government’s international cultural diversity agenda). It also addresses linguistic duality’s place in Canadian trade missions and in Canada’s involvement in La Francophonie, the Organization of American States and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

1. Public Diplomacy Program

DFAIT introduced the Public Diplomacy7 Program in 2000 to contribute directly to the third pillar of Canada’s international policy. Its strategic outcome is described as

“increased recognition of, and respect for, Canada’s role as an active participant in world affairs and as an economic partner, as well as promotion of Canadian identity and values abroad and development of an international environment that is favourable to Canada’s political and economic interests.” 8

Under the program, Canadian identity encompasses its “diversity, values and excellence,” which are promoted through the arts, academic relations and exchanges.9 Public diplomacy stresses the use of partnerships in its implementation. At the mission level, this refers to working with local interests in host countries to promote Canada. Domestically, this means coordinating provincial and territorial policies in international affairs with the federal government’s global agenda. The program is scheduled to end in 2005, although it may be renewed.

Within DFAIT, the Public Diplomacy Program is widely seen as an important source of funding for projects relating to Canada’s linguistic duality. Funding levels increased significantly in 2002 when the program qualified for support under Canadian Heritage’s Interdepartmental Partnership with Official-Language Communities (IPOLC) Program, a federal initiative that encourages partnerships between official-language minority communities and federal organizations.

As a result of the IPOLC agreement, DFAIT has targeted Public Diplomacy Program support to Francophone communities outside Quebec. During hearings of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages in March 2003, questions were raised about the program’s application to Quebec. DFAIT officials replied that although the program is focussed on French-speaking communities outside the province, it is open to all.

Our study confirmed that individuals and organizations from across the country receive support under the Public Diplomacy Program. Within Quebec, the federal program builds on existing provincial support programs in arts and culture to reinforce connections within Canada’s Francophone population. One example was a Quebec youth organization that, with federal assistance, expanded its existing international program to include Francophone youths in other provinces.

DFAIT officials added that Public Diplomacy Program funding is available for projects involving both of Canada’s linguistic communities. Examples included political simulations for youth of the Canadian and European parliaments and of the United Nations.

DFAIT officials pointed out that the Public Diplomacy Program supplements other federal government arts and cultural programs, such as federal partnerships with Quebec to support that province’s artistic community. We were told that the combination of provincial and federal support in this area results in a perception within the Canadian cultural community that Quebec artists are given more support than what is available to artists in other parts of the country. The program’s regional orientation is said to address that perception and ensure a balanced representation of Canada’s linguistic duality by targeting Francophone community needs in other parts of the country.

The need for such a program nonetheless raises questions about linguistic duality’s overall integration in government programming in this area. By supplementing existing programs, the Public Diplomacy Program reveals their weaknesses and the need for an international policy in which Canada’s linguistic duality is effectively translated into program development.

There is widespread concern within DFAIT about the future of the Public Diplomacy Program. The uncertain status of continued funding beyond 2005 inhibits long-term planning and adversely affects the program’s application at the mission level, as we show in the following chapter. We understand that DFAIT will audit the Public Diplomacy Program in the coming months. It is important that the audit fully incorporate linguistic duality in its assessment.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

1. the Department of Foreign Affairs ensure that its forthcoming audit of the Public Diplomacy Program include a comprehensive assessment of the program’s contribution to linguistic duality in Canada’s international relations.

The Government of Canada stated that it “will ensure that the evaluation of Public Diplomacy will address all issues related to Public Diplomacy including its contribution to linguistic duality in Canada’s international relations.”

The federal government’s Canadian Studies Program predates our current international policy. Like the Public Diplomacy Program, it is primarily a funding program, but one with a domestic and international agenda to promote learning about Canada. Canadian Heritage is responsible for it in Canada and helps DFAIT apply it internationally.

Under the Canadian Studies Program, DFAIT has established a series of programs supporting 26 national and multinational Canadian studies associations and almost 250 Canadian studies centres around the world. Each year, the programs help finance hundreds of research projects relating to Canada. Canada’s linguistic duality can be seen in the mix of English and French in the language of courses, the subject matter, the language of publications and even the mother tongue of visiting Canadian academics.

Officials at all levels emphasized the importance of respect for academic freedom in Canadian studies programs. We were repeatedly advised that funding assistance can only influence, not dictate. Our study found that the degree of influence in some programs largely depends on the role of our diplomatic missions. By developing close relationships with Canadian studies associations and centres in the host country, academic relations officers in our missions can effectively suggest themes, speakers or academics that would be in keeping with Canada’s linguistic duality.

Diplomatic missions play only a minor role in the Faculty Research Program, which offers grants to academics researching Canada or its international relations. Missions process grant applications before submitting them to a regional committee for consideration. In keeping with respect for academic freedom, approval criteria are broadly based, although the context or perspective must be Canadian. A review of proposals being processed at some missions during our visits showed that, nonetheless, several covered issues relating to Canada’s linguistic experience.

The integration of linguistic duality in the Canadian Studies Program is understandably restrained by the principle of academic freedom. It was suggested that minimal increases in financial assistance for Canadian studies associations and centres would enhance the degree of influence exercised by our missions. Our visits to 11 embassies and consulates provided convincing evidence that this would be effective where the responsible officials are sensitized to Canada’s linguistic duality and have established close working relationships with the targeted institutions. However, as we see in the next chapter, more work is needed to ensure the benefits are more widely spread around the world.

In the meantime, a suggestion concerning the Faculty Research Program merits consideration. Although academic freedom prevents DFAIT from including linguistic duality as a selection criterion, an official proposed that it be added to the list of topics of interest that are included in funding application forms. This would encourage applicants to consider applying for projects in this area.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

2. while fully respecting the principle of academic freedom, the Department of Foreign Affairs include Canada’s linguistic duality as a topic of interest in the application forms for the Canadian Studies Faculty Research Program, and that it do so in time for the program’s 2004 applications.

The Government of Canada informed us that the International Council for Canadian Studies has already been instructed to add linguistic duality to the list of topics of interest for the Faculty Research Program. It added that the theme of linguistic duality “is integrated in many research projects on a wide variety of subjects and we are firmly convinced that this subject is already a growing source of interest to many scholars.” Moreover, it “will continue to advocate this as an area of interest.”

Our review of another Canadian studies program, the Bank of Missions, revealed that federal efforts are affected by provincial activity in this area. The Bank of Missions facilitates exchanges (called “missions”) between Canada and countries with which we have reached a bilateral cultural agreement. Although France is among the countries covered by the program, we learned that the federal arrangement with France excludes Quebec because of an existing exchange program between the Quebec and French governments. The situation is contrary to the federal government’s responsibility to represent all of Canada in international relations and must be addressed.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

3. the Department of Foreign Affairs take steps, by December 31, 2005, to ensure that all international Canadian studies programs apply to all parts of Canada and both Anglophone and Francophone populations.

The Government of Canada explained that France has required the non-inclusion of Quebec at joint cultural commission meetings and that the requirement does not refer specifically to Canadian studies. Although Canada has previously acceded to the French requirement, the Government of Canada confirmed that this position would be reviewed at the next meeting, which will take place in 2005.

3. Cultural diversity agenda

The federal government has been playing an active role, even a leadership role, in the search for international protection of domestic policies favouring cultural diversity. This global campaign has been prompted by the worldwide trend toward trade liberalization and economic integration. Canada’s efforts have centred on the development within UNESCO of an international cultural agreement, the New International Instrument on Cultural Diversity (NIICD). The NIICD, which will be presented at the 2005 UNESCO General Assembly, will establish for the first time a set of international rules allowing countries to promote their culture.

The federal government has also been instrumental in the creation of the International Network on Culture Policies (INCP), which brings together cultural ministers and officials from various countries to promote national cultural diversity policies. Canadian Heritage has been at the forefront of such efforts, working with DFAIT, although we understand that DFAIT’s role will increase as the UNESCO agreement proceeds.

Canada’s linguistic duality is reinforced by the federal government’s cultural diversity agenda. Our prominent role in developing the NIICD and the INCP confirms Canada’s reputation as a culturally diverse country and sends the message that policies promoting diversity, both linguistic and cultural, are important to the Canadian identity.10

Canada’s effectiveness in shaping the global agenda on cultural policy is enhanced by its participation in organizations, such as La Francophonie, that recognize the importance of an international cultural agreement. Membership in such organizations enables Canada to work strategically with like-minded countries while sharing our experience as a culturally and linguistically diverse nation.

Such opportunities exist within the Latin Union, a network of 35 countries sharing Latin-derived languages, including French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. Active since 1983, the Union’s mission is to promote and protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of its members. Canada, however, has yet to join the Latin Union, despite shared interests and mutual benefits. A review of the organization’s activities over the years shows that many of these activities parallel Canada’s own actions abroad favouring cultural diversity. The Latin Union actively supports the development of an international cultural agreement. It organizes forums and coordinates studies related to the use of languages other than English on the Internet and to the development of language industries and terminology banks.

Canada’s failure to join the Latin Union is at odds with the federal government’s cultural diversity agenda. It runs counter to the inherent value of partnerships for the achievement of common goals, a value Canada readily recognizes when it joins and actively participates in other international organizations. Given the Latin Union’s mission and activities, membership in the organization would also enhance international recognition of Canada’s linguistic duality as well as our cultural diversity. Canada’s participation in the Latin Union would furthermore complement its membership in the Organization of American States, which shares French, Spanish and Portuguese as official languages (in addition to English).

Federal officials previously explained that membership in the Latin Union was not under study, given that Canada has well-established relations with the member countries. This rationale falls short of an adequate explanation, as it could apply to other organizations as well.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

4. the Department of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with Canadian Heritage, take the necessary steps by March 31, 2005, enabling the Government of Canada to seek membership in the Latin Union.

The Government of Canada responded that Canada supports the Latin Union activities and maintains close relations with the organization as well as with its member countries. It explained that, although Canada is not, for the time being, considering joining the Latin Union, the government “will work to develop its ties with the Latin Union, notably through its membership in the International Organization of the Francophonie.”

The Commissioner is pleased the government intends to develop its ties with the Latin Union. She nonetheless maintains her position that Canada’s membership would best complement government initiatives in promoting cultural diversity.

The fact that Canada’s linguistic duality is part and parcel of our cultural diversity appears to be well understood by the officials we met at the headquarters of Canadian Heritage and DFAIT. The same cannot be said at all the embassies and consulates we visited. We encountered Canadian officials in our diplomatic missions who suggested that our linguistic duality held little interest locally, while remarking on the great interest in Canada’s experience in managing our cultural diversity. Not only do these officials fail to understand that our linguistic duality is the result of successfully managing societal differences, but also they ignore their responsibility for promoting understanding of this important facet of Canada’s identity.11

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

5. the Department of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with Canadian Heritage, develop, by December 31, 2004, internal communication strategies to enhance understanding of linguistic duality’s pertinence to our cultural diversity and to related government initiatives.

The Department of Foreign Affairs stated it would develop a strategy in accordance with the recommendation. “The strategy will be designed to raise awareness among Canadian employees in missions abroad and locally recruited employees of the importance of linguistic duality as a foundation of our foreign and trade policies. This will enable us to promote Canadian identity (a product of cultural and linguistic diversity) more effectively with host countries, while working to promote our political and trade interests on the international scene.”

Canadian Heritage commented that it contributes to training sessions and briefings of outgoing Heads of Mission and cultural attachés “with the purpose of educating officials about the international cultural diversity agenda, including specific policy and program objectives of Canadian Heritage related to supporting cultural and linguistic diversity.” Canadian Heritage noted that “consistent messaging both at home and abroad among government officials contributes to a reinforced message about the objectives and successes of the Canadian cultural policy model.”

4. La Francophonie

The federal government describes La Francophonie as one of the main thrusts of Canada’s international policy. As a prominent member of this collection of states and governments representing the world’s French-speaking populations, Canada’s main goal is to further democratic, cultural and economic values inherent in La Francophonie. DFAIT manages the roles of several departments and agencies, including Canadian Heritage, that are involved in the organization.

La Francophonie offers a global forum for promoting Canada’s own Francophone community and our linguistic duality in general. The organization has multiple facets and Canada’s involvement and contribution takes many forms. For our study we focus on the Francophonie Promotion Fund, TV5 and Canada’s participation in Francophonie institutions.

a. Francophonie Promotion Fund

As the name implies, the Francophonie Promotion Fund financially supports projects that in turn support Francophone interests, both within Canada and abroad. Among other things, it finances Canada’s participation, through its missions, in annual international Francophonie celebrations.12

Officials advised us that the program is being directed away from large projects undertaken by major national and international organizations. Instead, it is being directed toward smaller, more citizen-focussed activities. Although in 2003–04 the program supported several projects by Quebec organizations, we were told that greater attention is being paid to projects by Francophone communities outside Quebec and to increasing awareness among these communities of such funding opportunities. While doing so, the federal government must ensure that the program remains open to Canadians in all regions.

The need for openness extends to Canada’s Anglophone population. It is in the interest of Francophones, both at home and abroad, that DFAIT take advantage of opportunities within Canada’s large Francophile population, and in particular that it strengthen ties between our linguistic communities. Our study revealed that recent awareness-raising consultations with Francophone community representatives included representatives of Canadian Parents for French. Several officials agreed that more could and should be done to reach out to our Anglophone community. We note that a survey conducted by Canadian Heritage in the late 1990s discovered important support for La Francophonie within our Anglophone community. The survey showed that support among English-speaking Canadians was proportional to their understanding of the issues.

Currently, the Fund’s main contribution to Canada’s linguistic duality lies in its support for Francophone interests and in a certain emphasis, reflected in its eligibility criteria, on building bridges within Canada’s Francophone community. Although eligibility criteria also include making La Francophonie known to the Canadian public, it is not clearly stated that this encompasses both linguistic communities.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

6. the Department of Foreign Affairs revise, by December 31, 2004, eligibility criteria for its Francophonie Promotion Fund to include projects aimed at improving links with, and awareness within, Canada’s Anglophone population.

The Government of Canada responded: “The primary purpose of the Francophonie Promotion Fund is to enable Canadians and organizations to take part in activities of the international Francophonie and to enable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within the international Francophonie to raise awareness of their activities with communities. The Fund is barely sufficient to respond to the numerous applications from NGOs to participate in events of the international Francophonie.

“All Canadians, Anglophones and Francophones alike, can apply for funding through this program. The key criterion is that projects submitted respect the objectives of the Fund, which are to promote the international Francophonie.

“In addition, the provincial governments of provinces with substantial Francophone communities (Manitoba and Ontario) are usually associated with major events of international Francophonie. Provincial government representatives are encouraged to participate, within the Canadian delegation, at international meetings such as the Francophone Summit. Provincial governments are generally reluctant to commit human and financial resources in order to enhance their participation in activities of the international Francophonie.

“The Department is committed to using the opportunity of the next Francophone Summit, in Fall 2004, to develop a strategy in conjunction with Canadian Heritage to encourage greater participation by provincial governments. The Department will continue to directly support projects designed to enhance the participation of Francophone communities in the international Francophonie.”

The Commissioner welcomes the commitment by the Department of Foreign Affairs to encourage greater participation by provincial governments in La Francophonie activities. However, she maintains her position that the Francophonie Promotion Fund offers an opportunity for drawing increased support from Canada’s Anglophone community for La Francophonie. Eligibility criteria should reflect more clearly the fact that the Fund is open to applications for projects that build bridges between linguistic communities, in favour of La Francophonie. It is incumbent upon the Government of Canada to ensure that funding levels are sufficient to fulfil objectives supportive of Canada’s linguistic duality.

b. TV5

Launched in 1984, TV5 has grown into an international French-language television network, broadcasting in more than 150 countries. France contributes the bulk of the network’s financing and programming. Canada’s contribution to TV5 is jointly managed by the federal and Quebec governments and their agencies. Canadian programming content on TV5 is divided 60–40 between Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec.

Canadian Heritage is the lead federal department. In a 2002 assessment of Canadian participation in TV5, Canadian Heritage concluded that it is an effective means of promoting Canada’s cultural diversity. Discussions with responsible officials suggest that, domestically, linguistic duality would be enhanced by greater efforts to promote TV5 among bilingual English-speaking Canadians. In addition, Canada’s Francophones would be better reflected in TV5 by the participation of other provinces and territories. This applies especially to Ontario, given that province’s important Francophone community and its own French-language television network, TFO.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

7. a) Canadian Heritage develop and implement, by December 31, 2004, a campaign aimed at promoting TV5 within Canada’s Anglophone community; and

7. b) actively encourage the involvement and participation of more provinces and territories, notably Ontario, in the Canadian contribution to TV5 programming and financing.

Canadian Heritage responded that it would work closely with TV5’s Canadian operator, TV5 Québec Canada, to implement the first part of the recommendation. Canadian Heritage has already taken steps to improve awareness of TV5 within Canada’s English-speaking community. For example, it funded an advertising campaign in May 2003 by TV5 Québec Canada that was directed at both Anglophones and Francophones.

Responding to the second part of the recommendation, the Government of Canada explained that Canadian Heritage “ensures that Canadian programming, on both TV5 Québec Canada (which manages the signal in Canada) and TV5 Monde (which manages the seven other signals worldwide), is representative of the Canadian Francophonie in its entirety.”

While pointing out that each operator chooses its own programming, the Government of Canada advised us that Canadian Heritage has financed initiatives to include more producers outside Quebec in the Canadian programming broadcast by TV5 Québec Canada. It also noted that TV Ontario is a part of TV5 Québec Canada’s administrative council and that Radio-Canada offers Canadian programming on TV5 Monde’s international signals, in collaboration with TV5 Québec Canada and Télé-Québec.

With respect to financing, the Government of Canada responded that provincial and territorial governments interested in participating in TV5 financing should send submissions to the appropriate authorities, which, in the case of TV5 Québec Canada, are the governments of Canada and Quebec.

Since the Government of Canada actively encourages provincial participation in other Francophonie activities, such as the Francophone Summit, the Commissioner expects it to explore ways of promoting greater provincial and territorial involvement in TV5.

c. Canadian participation in Francophonie institutions

A distinguishing feature of Canada’s involvement in La Francophonie is the level of participation by certain provinces, notably Quebec and New Brunswick. At times, this receives a high public profile, such as at the Francophonie Games, where the Canadian contingent consists of three teams: Canada, Canada-Quebec and Canada-New Brunswick.

Quebec and New Brunswick are also formally recognized as “participating governments” within the Intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie, which is responsible for programs adopted by La Francophonie summits. The status enables the provinces to comment freely within the organization on matters under their jurisdiction. On other matters, they require federal authorization.

Questions have arisen in recent years about the federal government’s participation in the Agency and related activities, in relation to that of Quebec in particular. Officials acknowledge that Quebec’s activity and investment in the organization have created a certain imbalance in how the interests of Canada’s Francophone community are represented. This office has directly witnessed how limited federal participation is at certain Francophonie-related conferences and seminars, in relation to Quebec’s. When this occurs, Canada’s Francophone community is presented largely in terms of Quebec, thereby presenting a skewed picture of our society’s true linguistic duality.

An internal study commissioned by DFAIT found that a similar situation exists among Francophone organizations in the United States. The May 2003 report titled Promouvoir l’identité bilingue du Canada aux États-Unis noted that Canada and its missions in the U.S. have few relations with American Francophone associations. These associations, meanwhile, tend to have strong ties with Quebec due to ongoing promotional efforts by that province’s American delegations. As such, the national character of Canada’s Francophone population is little understood, as is our contribution to the international Francophonie.

The federal government is said to be taking steps to promote more actively all of Canada’s interests within La Francophonie, especially in France. DFAIT has also been reviewing Francophonie networks to assess the level of Canada’s participation. The resulting inventory will help the government identify sectors where its presence has been weakest and where attention and resources need to be focussed.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

8. the Department of Foreign Affairs and Canadian Heritage use the results of the current review of Canadian participation in Francophonie institutions to ensure that Canada’s Francophone community is fully reflected and represented.

The Government of Canada responded: “The federal government authorities who sit on various bodies of the international multilateral Francophonie represent all Canadians, regardless of their language of use or mother tongue. The marquee event of the Francophonie is the Francophone Summit, which is held every two years and is attended by the Prime Minister of Canada, representing the Canadian population. Canadians are thus already represented within the International Organization of the Francophonie and the Intergovernmental Agency of the Francophonie.

“The operators of the Francophonie include the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie, whose membership comprises almost all Francophone universities outside Quebec; the Assemblée des parlementaires de la Francophonie, […] whose membership includes parliamentarians from all provinces; and the Association internationale des maires francophones (AIMF), which is accessible to Canadian municipalities.”

The Commissioner notes the positive examples cited in the Government of Canada response and looks forward to learning of the results of the review under way at the Department of Foreign Affairs of Canadian participation in Francophonie institutions.

Another means of ensuring a balanced representation of Canada’s Francophone community in this context is through greater involvement of other provinces. As already noted, New Brunswick has established itself within La Francophonie. In addition to its status as a “participating government” within the International Agency of the Francophonie, New Brunswick is officially designated, along with Quebec, as an “interested observer” within Canadian delegations at Francophonie summit meetings.

In its response to the preliminary report, the Government reiterated that, as a member state of La Francophonie, Canada represents all Canadians within the institutions and bodies of the organization. It pointed out that the Prime Minister has in the past invited the premiers of other provinces with a substantial Francophone population and that had expressed an interest in designating representatives to join the Canadian delegation attending Summits of Heads of State and Government of La Francophonie. Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island have done so.

The Commissioner urges the federal government to encourage all provincial governments to become involved in La Francophonie. A possible vehicle might be the Ministerial Conference on Francophone Affairs, which brings together representatives from Anglophone-majority provinces and territories that have established agreements with Canadian Heritage to provide services in French in areas other than education. A more uniform provincial involvement in La Francophonie provides an additional mechanism for linking Canada’s Francophone communities across the country with each other and with global efforts to promote the French language and culture.

The Francophonie Games, referred to above, were cited by the federal government as an excellent example of provincial involvement. The pan-Canadian dimension of the Canadian team for each Games is said to be an ongoing concern, although the Government of Canada is not directly involved in participant selection. The artistic contingent of each Games is being made more representative of Canada through national contests for selecting artists, the use of Anglophone and Francophone media, and regional representation in selection juries.

Canada participates in many other multinational organizations. For purposes of our study, we examined the projection of Canada’s linguistic duality in two regional bodies with widely divergent approaches to linguistic diversity: the Organization of American States and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

a. Organization of American States

The Organization of American States (OAS) brings together 35 nations of the Americas in a forum with four official languages: Spanish, Portuguese, English and French. As one of only two French-speaking countries,13 Canada has actively promoted the place of French within the OAS.

Canada is often obliged to insist that documents be in all four official languages, given a tendency within the OAS to produce documents only in Spanish, or in Spanish and English. Officials explained that Canada is frequently expected to take care of the French translation of documents. This is an apparent source of frustration within DFAIT given that it does not always have the funds to do so. According to Canadian Heritage, it has actively promoted and supported the translation of OAS documents into English and French. The Commissioner calls upon the two departments to work together to address ongoing translation issues concerning the OAS.

Our study revealed that the federal government has pursued its cultural diversity agenda on several levels within the OAS. Canada led the implementation of a recommendation for seminars on cultural diversity that was part of an action plan adopted at the Quebec City 2001 Summit of the Americas. The federal government subsequently hosted two meetings of cultural experts to share strategies on preserving and promoting cultural diversity in the region. Canada’s active role on cultural issues within the OAS is reflected in its election in 2003 as First Vice-Chair of the organization’s Inter-American Committee on Culture.

These initiatives speak well of Canada’s promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity within the OAS. This office encourages the government to pursue every such opportunity. For example, Canada should help implement resolutions on linguistic diversity adopted at an OAS seminar organized by Quebec’s Conseil de la langue française in 2002. It could also implement the remaining recommendations contained in the action plan adopted at the Quebec City summit.

The government should also revisit one of the actions taken following that summit, the creation of the Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA). One of the goals in creating the ICA, which is located in Ottawa, was to build on and export Canada’s success in bilingual electronic connectivity. It was therefore surprising to learn that, although the ICA’s Web site is multilingual, its mandate does not specifically refer to linguistic and cultural diversity.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

9. a) as part of the federal government’s cultural diversity agenda, Canadian Heritage, in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and other responsible departments and provincial governments, pursue the implementation of all outstanding resolutions and recommendations on cultural diversity within the Organization of American States since the 2001 Quebec City Summit; and

9. b) take the necessary steps by December 31, 2004, in collaboration with other member states of the OAS, to fully integrate linguistic diversity in the mandate of the Institute for Connectivity of the Americas.

The Government of Canada indicated that it would implement both parts of the recommendation, noting that it has been a champion of linguistic and cultural diversity in the OAS and Summit of the Americas process. Among other measures taken by Canadian Heritage in this regard was funding for a feasibility study on an Inter-American Cultural Policy Observatory. The observatory would make it easier to share information on cultural policies and cultural diversity and to promote the dissemination of cultural information on the Americas throughout the world. Another measure was the organization, in conjunction with the OAS, of a Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Cultural Diversity, Youth Employment and Youth Exchanges in October 2003. One of the workshop’s themes was the importance of Canada’s linguistic diversity.

b. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a regional trade liberalization forum of 21 member economies, contrasts sharply with the OAS with respect to language. English is the sole official and working language within the organization.

Government officials explained that Canada has never opposed APEC’s language policy. They described the decision as pragmatic, suggesting that promoting the use of French or multiple languages within the organization would be a “lost cause.” There is said to be little support for such an initiative among other APEC members, who tend to regard English as the language of business.

Instead of encouraging APEC to recognize the use of other languages, Canada has defended the principle of linguistic and cultural diversity in the policy positions it has taken within the organization. It opposed, for example, a proposal to invest APEC funds in making English-language training more available in certain member countries. Canada argued that APEC should not be used as an instrument to promote English at the expense of other languages. Canada also refused to support a draft APEC position recognizing English as the lingua franca of Internet activity and calling for strengthening the use of English as a working tool.

APEC’s English-only policy nonetheless raises questions about its impact on awareness levels within Canada’s Francophone community. DFAIT addresses the issue by providing some information about APEC in both languages on its Internet site and in brochures. We were told that DFAIT also offers briefings in English and French to Canadian non-governmental organizations and provincial officials. The effectiveness of these measures is unclear and at least one official suggested that more could be done.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

10. by December 31, 2004, the Department of Foreign Affairs review the impact on Canada’s Francophone community of the English-only language policy of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the effectiveness of existing communication efforts.

The Government of Canada responded: “The report tries to link Canada’s policies within the OAS and APEC, and indirectly criticizes the Government of Canada for not succeeding in having French adopted as an official language of APEC, as it did within the OAS and the Summit of the Americas process. We feel that criticism is unjustified. The OAS comprises countries where a majority of the population speak only four languages: Spanish, Portuguese, English and French. It was therefore relatively easy for member countries to reach agreement on a multilingual organization that would use four languages. Within APEC, there are not four languages, but rather 14 […]. As French is the 14th most widely spoken language in the APEC region, it would be extremely difficult to have it adopted as an official language without giving equal status to the 13 other languages. Moreover, it would be impossible for an organization the size of APEC to function in 14 languages (its secretariat comprises only 40 people and its annual budget is under $5 million).

“That being said, the Government of Canada is doing everything it can to ensure that APEC’s initiatives and services are accessible to Canadians in both official languages. To that end, we have set up a Web site providing a host of information on APEC in English and French, and we answer all enquiries on APEC in the official language of the originator. We also organize information sessions on APEC for businesspeople and non-governmental organizations. The information sessions are bilingual, or in French in Francophone regions.

“Moreover, Canada is recognized as one of the strongest defenders of the concept of cultural diversity within APEC, [where] we take pains to ensure that it does not adopt common positions advocating the use of one language rather than another by citizens of member economies. There [are] also a large number of Francophones in Canadian delegations attending APEC meetings, and it is very clear to all the other delegations that Canada is a bilingual country. Delegation meetings are bilingual, and Canadian delegates very frequently communicate with one another in French. As well, the current chair of the largest APEC committee is French-Canadian.”

The Commissioner acknowledges measures taken to make APEC’s initiatives and services accessible to Canadians in French as well as English. The recommendation refers, however, to the need to assess the impact of these measures and ensure their effectiveness in order that Canadian businesses and entrepreneurs of both language groups fully share the advantages of the Asia-Pacific region’s economic development.

Canada’s trade missions represent federal–provincial–private sector partnerships that increase commercial opportunities abroad. Within the federal government, DFAIT has organized over 20 Team Canada and Canada Trade missions since 1994, often in coordination with other departments and agencies.14 A member of the study team accompanied DFAIT’s Canada Trade mission to Chile in December 2003.

In order to measure linguistic duality’s integration in trade missions, we looked at the provision of service in both official languages, the process for determining the composition of each mission and the choice of industrial sectors.

Our participation in the Canada Trade mission to Chile revealed that DFAIT understands its obligation to provide service and information in English and French to Canadian participants. DFAIT officials and embassy staff were bilingual, if not trilingual, and their presentations and documentation were in both official languages. Federal participation by other organizations, however, included at least one English-only presentation, during which simultaneous interpretation was not provided. Given that a major role of federal officials in trade missions is to advise Canadian business participants, the federal government should ensure that all key officials can do so in both English and French.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

11. for each trade mission, the Department of Foreign Affairs remind participating departments and agencies of their responsibility to ensure that the linguistic rights of private sector participants are respected at all times.

The Department of Foreign Affairs stated that it recognized the importance of the recommendation but that, in its view, it had satisfied the requirement in the case of the Chile mission. The Department explained that it “had taken all necessary precautions by advising participating federal partners, verbally and in writing, of their obligation to present information in both official languages out of respect for mission participants.” The Department subsequently emphasized that it will continue to take all necessary steps in the future.

In light of the situation that prompted the recommendation, despite the positive measures taken, the Commissioner calls upon the Department to explore ways to make its reminders more effective.

In discussing the private sector composition of trade missions, officials pointed out that DFAIT’s Team Canada and Canada Trade Mission Web sites invite businesses interested in a trade mission to register. We were assured, however, that the process is not entirely reactive. The Team Canada Division at DFAIT uses its own databases, other government departments and provincial contacts to identify businesses with a potential interest in a particular market and encourages their participation in writing.

Trade missions with a cultural dimension are handled differently under Canadian Heritage’s Trade Routes program, which is designed to help arts and cultural industries take advantage of international business opportunities. Businesses are invited to participate in cultural trade missions through an industry advisory board. Participation on the board is open to all Canadian arts and cultural organizations, and membership includes representation from both linguistic groups. It was pointed out that linguistic duality is built into the Trade Routes program in that one of its goals is “stronger international positioning for Canada’s English and French language cultural products and services.”

The make-up of other types of trade missions depends largely on the targeted business or industrial sectors. A mission focussed on Canada’s auto industry will be dominated by Ontario companies, given the industry’s concentration in that province. Similarly, one can expect Quebec companies to be well represented in a trade mission oriented to the aerospace industry. Linguistic duality is deemed to have little place in this exercise. We nonetheless note that a priority of Team Canada and Canada Trade missions is targeting the participation of specific populations: Canadian youth, Aboriginals and women entrepreneurs. Without questioning the needs of these groups, their identification suggests there is room for exploring the linguistic dimension of Canada’s business sector, beyond arts and cultural industries.

The Commissioner therefore recommends that:

12. the Department of International Trade review, by December 31, 2004, its priorities to ensure they fully incorporate and reflect linguistic duality, and that it modify programs accordingly, including those related to trade missions.

The Government of Canada responded: “From the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) perspective, priorities and results are driven by the priorities of International Trade Canada. These tend not to be on a sector-specific basis but are more general, for example, ‘expanded base of Canadian businesses active in world markets.’ Each of our trade posts abroad use these priorities to develop their plans on a post-by-post basis. Priority sectors for each of these posts are determined by the business environment they are facing locally and the interest of Canadian companies in that particular market. In the report, a specific example is cited related to the Chilean government’s goal of promoting second-language training. Our post in Santiago recognized this opportunity and identified this as a priority sector for Canadian companies. This priority would not be shared by all of our posts abroad.

“Our posts abroad are constantly reviewing the business environment in which they are operating and these are reflected in the individual annual business plans developed by each post. Trade missions and other elements in individual post strategies flow from the results that a post hopes to achieve in particular sectors. If language-related opportunities exist based on their analysis of the business environment, these will be reflected in their business plans.”

True integration of linguistic duality in Canada’s identity means that it is embedded in all activities. The Commissioner recognizes that linguistic duality will take different forms in different activities and she acknowledges the federal government’s commitment to reflect language-related opportunities in the business plans of trade missions. However, the response does not address the fact that population groups targeted by TCS’s priorities do not include Canada’s minority-language populations.

Linguistic duality in trade missions and trade matters generally should be discernible in all sectors targeted for government attention. The federal government’s Action Plan for Official Languages, released in 2003, represents a significant step forward. Although the plan is otherwise silent on international relations, it does include specific measures to assist the development and export potential of Canada’s language industries, including enhanced use of trade missions.

Canada’s experience in second-language teaching appeared to be a valuable element in the recent trade mission to Chile. An ambitious plan by the Chilean government to promote English in its school system calls for heavy investment in second-language learning. We understand that this has led to considerable interest among government and education officials in Canadian initiatives and programs in this area. Accordingly, among the trade mission’s targeted sectors were education, on-line learning and related information technology.


7. Public diplomacy holds that a country can promote its interests abroad by bringing about greater understanding of its society. Such efforts have been around for a long time, but they have taken on increased significance in recent years. Sources include Dr. Evan H. Potter’s Canada and the New Public Diplomacy from Discussion Papers in Diplomacy, published by the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘’Clingendael ‘’

8. 2003-2004 Report on Plans and Priorities, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada, 2004, page 50.

9. Ibid., page 54.

10.This message was reinforced in a recent United Nations report Human Development Report 2004. Cultural Liberty in Today’s Diverse World. United Nations Development Programme. New York. 2004. The report cites Canada’s leadership in recognizing the value of diversity through a policy of multiculturalism, asymmetric federalism and measures to ensure political representation for various groups. It also noted Canada’s support of domestic cultural industries.

11. The relationship between linguistic duality and Canada’s multiculturalism is widely recognized within Canada’s immigrant population, according to a December 2003 survey by the Centre for Research and Information Canada. The survey found that 75% of immigrants thought that Canada’s bilingualism makes it more welcoming to immigrants with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

12. These celebrations revolve around the Journée internationale de La Francophonie every March. Celebrations include a series of activities and events promoting the French language and culture in cities around the world. Programs are usually developed jointly by missions representing French-speaking countries and local Francophone agencies and associations.

13. The only other French-speaking member country is Haiti. However, France and Belgium are among several countries with observer status within the OAS.

14. For purposes of our study, the term “trade mission” refers to missions organized by headquarters. It includes Team Canada missions, which are led by the Prime Minister, and Canada Trade missions, led by the Minister of International Trade and/or other government officials.

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