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Cultural Heritage


Cultural Heritage as a Means to Sustainability Experiences from Quebec and Canada Hertogenbosch Colloquium, Netherlands 3 March 2016 Laurier Turgeon, Laval University – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Cultural Heritage

  • Cultural Heritage
  • as a Means to Sustainability
  • Experiences from Quebec and Canada
  • Hertogenbosch Colloquium, Netherlands
  • 3 March 2016
  • Laurier Turgeon, Laval University
  • Quebec City, Canada

  • -In this presentation, I will explore the
    different ways in which cultural heritage,
    tangible and intangible, can be used to
    contribute to sustainable development, by drawing
    from Québec experiences within the larger
    Canadian context.
  • - I would like to consider cultural heritage
    neither as an end in itself, nor as a forth
    pillar of sustainable development, but as an
    important means to attain the three basic goals
    of sustainable development protection of the
    environment, economic progress and greater social
  • - If we use the anthropological definition of
    culture, taken in its broad ethnographic sense,
    it is a complex whole that encompasses knowledge,
    belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other
    capabilities and habits acquired by man as a
    member of society. It becomes then clear that all
    change is brought about by cultural change.
  • - It is therefore suggested here that if we
    consider heritage as form of cultural action and
    social agency, we will be better equipped to
    achieve the policies, processes and practices of
    sustainable development.

  • - Cultural heritage and sustainable development
    are two concepts that present certain analogies.
    They express a desire to better integrate the
    temporal dimension to social life, and to better
    articulate the past, present and future of
    societies in a spirit of hightened transmission
    of resources and intergenerational solidarity.
  • - Cultural heritage can be considered as a
    resource to be safeguarded, transmitted and
    valorized. According to the well-known cultural
    geographer, Lazzarotti, The reference to
    heritage and its preservation and transmission
    have become the privileged means of the
    legitimization of sustainabilty at the planetary
    level (Lazzarotti, 2013). Lazzarotti O., 2003,
    patrimoine , dans Lévy J., Lussault M. (dir.),
    Dictionnaire de la géographie et de lespace des
    sociétés, Paris, Belin, 2013, p. 692-693.
  • - My aim is to take heritage beyond its
    aesthetics values and to consider it as form of
    social and economic action, as a means of
    sustaining pride in oneself, of developing better
    relationships with others, as obtaining a
    healthier environment, greater social justice and
    durable economic development.

  • Examples from Quebec and Canada
  • - Quebec is on the only province and territory in
    Canada (12) with a majority of French speakers
    it has a population of about 8 million
    inhabitants, of which 85 are French-speaking,
    the other 15 are English-speaking. The other
    provinces all have an English-speaking majority.
  • - As part of the Canadian federal state, Quebec,
    like the other provinces, has the right to pass
    legislation in the areas of language, culture,
    education, health and natural resources.

  • - In this presentation, I would like to review
    recent legislation on cultural heritage and the
    different actions taken in safeguarding and
    valorizing cultural heritage, particularly
    intangible cultural heritage, to achieve
    sustainable development.
  • Legislation
  • The Quebec Sustainable Development Act of 2006
  • - Quebec prides itself as being one of the first
    and still very few nations in the world to have
    adopted rigorous legislation on sustainable
  • - According to the Minister of the time, Claude
    Béchard This Act brings Québec into the ranks
    of those few political entities in the world,
    among them a few American states (Oregon,
    Massachussetts), Manitoba, Luxembourg and
    Belgium, who have enacted legislation bearing
    specifically upon sustainable development. In so
    doing, and with the support of the people of
    Québec, we have responded to the urgent appeal of
    the United Nations, which in 2002 at the
    Johannesburg World Summit exhorted the nations of
    the world to accelerate their efforts to
    implement sustainable development.

  • - The act is the result of a vast public
    consultation held in 21 cities and towns of
    Québec, followed up by a parliamentary commission
    in 2005.
  • - Québec has focused its approach on legislation
    that puts sustainable development at the heart of
    government action by setting clear rules. Thus,
    the law
  • establishes a definition of sustainable
    development for Québec (it picks up on the
    Brundtland definition development that meets
    the needs of the present without compromising the
    ability of future generations to meet their own
    needs. Sustainable development is based on a
    long-term approach which takes into account the
    inextricable nature of the environmental, social
    and economic dimensions of development
    activities. (It does not include culture as a
    4th pillar)
  • introduces 16 principles to guide the actions of
    the public service (The 16 principles which
    summarize the 29 principles of the Rio
    Declaration of 1992, include Protection of
    cultural heritage, defined as made up of
    property, sites, landscapes, traditions and
  • commits the government to adopting a sustainable
    development strategy, a single one applicable to
    all departments and a considerable number of
    government agencies
  • assigns responsibility to the premier to table
    the Government Sustainable Development Strategy
    in the National Assembly and report on its
    progress every five years
  • commits departments and agencies concerned to
    identify actions they will take to help reach the
    strategys governmental objectives and annually
    report results of their undertakings

  • - The Act introduces sustainable development
    evaluation and accountability mechanisms to
    measure progress. Among other things, the Act
    commits the government to
  • adopt a system of sustainable development
    indicators, and
  • appoint a Sustainable Development Commissioner
    reporting to the office of the Auditor General of
    Québec to ensure the transparent evaluation of
  • The Rapport on the application of the Sustainable
    Development Act of 2013 takes stock of the first
    years of the implementation of the governments
    approach, from the time the Sustainable
    Development Act came into force on April 19, 2006
    to April 19, 2013.
  • - The Act is aimed primarily at government
    departments and agencies with the hope that they
    will set an example and that their actions will
    create incentives in civil society.
  • - However, there are not coercing measures in the
    Act for neither civil society nor the civil
    service. In keeping with international law on
    sustainable development, the Quebec Act is geared
    to creating incentives, but not applying measures
    in a forceful manner. It remains a  soft law .

  • The Quebec Cultural Heritage Act of 2012
  • - Cultural Heritage legislation in Quebec is much
    more constraining and coercing than sustainable
    development legislation.
  • - With the aim of modernization, and taking into
    account the evolution of the concept of cultural
    heritage, the province of Quebec has undertaken
    to reform the law applicable to the protection of
    cultural heritage by replacing the existing
    Cultural Property Act of 1972 with the
    new Cultural Heritage Act, effective October 19,
  • - The new law has broadened the definition of
    heritage to include to historic sites and
    material objects (architectural and
    archaeological heritage present in the Cultural
    Property Act of 1972) intangible heritage,
    cultural landscapes and historic figures and
    events. It provides for the making of inventories
    of these new categories of heritage the listing
    of their elements in the national heritage
  • - It also enables municipalities the right to
    inventory, create registers, list and valorize
    its tangible and intangible heritage. So that
    heritage matters are no longer the sole
    responsibility of the provincial government, but
    also now a municipal affair.

  • - Quebecs new law also restricts the removal of
    cultural property from its territory  no
    classified may be transported outside of Quebec
    (including other Canadian provinces) without
    Ministerial authorization .
  • - First, there is the general obligation of
    maintenance. Whereas the CPA obliged the owner to
    maintain any classified cultural property or any
    historic monument in good condition, the CHA is
    much more exacting, in that it requires the owner
    to take the necessary measures to preserve the
    heritage value of any classified or recognized
    heritage property.
  • - Both the Minister and the local heritage
    council of a municipality may now, among other
    things, call for any measure that either of them
    deems necessary to prevent any real or perceived
    threat of deterioration of a property that may
    have heritage value, or to reduce the effects of,
    or eliminate, any such threat.
  • - Persons named or designated in an order under
    the CHA who transgress the order or refuse to
    comply with it, as well as any person who
    knowingly contravenes it, is guilty of contempt
    of court, which may result in the imposition
    of fines ranging from at least 2,000 up to
    100,000 for a natural person and from at least
    6,000 up to 200,000 for a legal person, as well
    as imprisonment for a term not exceeding one

  • 1.  The object of this Act is to promote, in the
    public interest and from a sustainable
    development perspective, the knowledge,
    protection, enhancement and transmission of
    cultural heritage, which is a reflection of a
    societys identity. 
  • - Although sustainable development is one of the
    primary objectives of the act, it is only
    mentioned once, in the first article, but the
    text never explains how to achieve it. This is a
    very similar situation to the UNESCO Convention
    for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural
    Heritage of 2003 sustainable development is
    mention in the definition but nowhere else in the
    text of the Convention.
  • - To make the concept operational, Québec, like
    UNESCO, requires that people wanting to register
    elements of heritage on the lists have to provide
    a safeguarding plan and explain the measures that
    will be taken to contribute to sustainable
    development. These include the preservation of
    the heritage element itself, the dissemination of
    knowledge about the element, the involvement of
    the communities, the transmission of the elements
    and even the transformation of its use in order
    to envision new uses and practices.

  • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the
    Diversity of Cultural Expressions 2005
  • Article 13 Integration of culture in
    sustainable development 
  • Parties shall endeavor to integrate culture in
    their development policies at all levels for the
    creation of conditions conducive to sustainable
    development and, within this framework, foster
    aspects relating to the protection and promotion
    of the diversity of cultural expressions. 
  • - Canada has ratified this convention and Quebec
    has taken article 13 rather seriously. As a
    response to the requirements of this convention
    and to compensate for the lack of direction of
    the Cultural Heritage Act in this area, Quebec
    adopted a policy statement in 2012 called Agenda
    21 for Culture aimed specifically at making
    culture and heritage active agents of sustainable
    development through five principles, that is by
    using them as
  • 1) a tool for developing a sense of belonging and
  • 2) a vector of intercultural dialogue,
  • 3) an instrument of social cohesion and
  • 4) a way of creating sustainable economic wealth,
  • 5) a means of managing and structuring

  • Practice
  • - The second way of having heritage contribute to
    sustainable development is through practice. It
    is not sufficient to simply transmit traditions
    for the sake of transmission because if they are
    no longer used to fulfill social and economic
    needs, they will die off and produce
    unemployment. In fact, it is the best way to make
    it unsustainable. It is necessary to put
    heritage to new uses, to think of creative ways
    of using it, even to create new forms and
    expressions from it. Here are a few examples I
    have drawn for Quebec.

A Catholic Church transformed into a training
center for the Circle du Soleil
  • Moulin à images, Robert Lepage. Used abandoned
    grain elevators 150 meter high and 600 meters
    long as as a screen to do a 40 minute light and
    sound projection to present the history of Quebec
    that contributed to the revitalization of the

  • Inuit throat singing a traditional method of
    singing between inuit women that is now serving
    as a breeding ground for the creation of new song
    forms for inuit artists. Tradition is a great
    source for creation. (1st ICH practice to be on
    the Quebec register of ICH)

  • Preserving traditional practices through sports
    Ice canoe races in Quebec, a traditional method
    of transportation in winter turned into a
    sporting competition (Quebec ICH Reg.
  • Courses de canot à glace inscrit sur la liste du
    patrimoine culturel immatériel du Registre du
    patrimoine du Québec en 2014.

  • Using digital technologies to safeguard and
    disseminate tangible and intangible cultural
  • On-line multimedia encyclopedia of the tangible
    and intangible heritage of French North America
    (340 articles, 300 000 single visitors per year
    since 2012, national prize for the best website
    in 2011)

  • On-line virtual exhibit of the food heritage of
    Francophones in Canada to illustrate intangible
    cultural heritage (Museum of civilization, Quebec
    City). The virtual exhibit is now being presented
    as a physical exhibit in the Museum.

  • Multimedia mobile the interpretation of 100 sites
    of Old Quebec with the help of 6 medias text, 2D
    photos, 3D photos, videos, sound recordings and
    3D animations that makes residents and visitors
    more aware of their heritage (two national prizes
    and an international prize in the USA in 2014)

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  • Conclusion
  • - Legislation on sustainable development is not
    very constraining and elaborate in Quebec as well
    as in other parts of the world (soft law).
    Legislation on heritage is much more elaborate
    and coercing (hard law). Therefore, I would like
    to suggest using heritage legislation as an
    efficient way of attaining sustainable
  • - Legislation is helpful, but it is not
    sufficient alone to ensure sustainability,
    cultural or otherwise. It is through practice
    itself that heritage can contribute in the
    greatest ways to sustainable development. But to
    do so, heritage must be transmitted, not solely
    as a replica of a disappearing tradition, but
    also be considered as a renewable resource and
    used in new and creative ways.