André Bachand, Canada's Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Visits

Montréal, August 25, 2009 – Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, and Christine St-Pierre, Minister of Culture, Communications and the Status of Women, held a working meeting in Montréal yesterday with André Bachand, Canada's new Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. Michel Audet, Québec's representative within Canada's permanent delegation to UNESCO, also attended the meeting. Mr. Arcand and Ms. St-Pierre congratulated Mr. Bachand on his appointment and assured him that he will have the full support of the Government of Quebec.

The working meeting, which touched on issues discussed at UNESCO and implementation of the Québec–Canada agreement on UNESCO, exemplified the ongoing synergy that the two levels of government have developed in recent years.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to review the Government of Québec's past initiatives and its priorities for the immediate future, particularly those pertaining to the 35th session of the UNESCO General Conference.

“Thus far, Québec has successfully defended the implementation of UNESCO's Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions thanks to outstanding cooperation with the federal government,” said Ms. St-Pierre.

Mr. Arcand observed that “the new ambassador and Michel Audet—Québec's representative within Canada's permanent delegation to UNESCO—will enjoy a relationship marked by trust and close cooperation.”

Ms. St-Pierre and Mr. Arcand were very pleased with the outcome of the meeting and confident that the intent to continue a collaborative approach will only benefit UNESCO causes.

As Minister of International Relations and Minister responsible for La Francophonie, Mr. Arcand will travel to Spain for an official visit September 6–12. The trip will mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Québec Government Office in Barcelona, which took place in 1999.

Mr. Arcand's first destination will be the city of Tàrrega in Catalonia, where he will attend Fira Tàrrega, a performing arts festival that attracts broadcast industry professionals from around the world. Government support is enabling three Québec companies to perform at this year's festival as part of a salute to the province's circus arts tradition.

In Barcelona, Mr. Arcand will meet with José Montilla, president of Catalonia's Generalitat de Catalunya. The minister will also take part in a reception commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Québec Government Office in Barcelona and in activities held in conjunction with Catalonia's national holiday.

While in Madrid, he will meet with senior political officials.

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