GATINEAU, QC, June 23, 2017 /CNW/ - Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism), attended the first biennial Arctic Arts Summit in Harstad, Norway. The summit is the first to bring together representatives from the eight Arctic countries—Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United States, Denmark and Iceland—in order to discuss circumpolar arts and culture. Mr. Virani took part in the summit on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The Arctic Arts Summit unites countries for the purpose of sharing knowledge and perspectives on Northern development. At the event, participants discussed ways to collaborate on approaches to strengthen arts and culture in the North. The summit also encourages Arctic countries to ensure that Northern people are central in the development of circumpolar cultural policy and Arctic development.
While in attendance, Parliamentary Secretary Virani spoke to participants on the importance of programs managed and implemented by Indigenous Peoples. He also noted Canada's support for Indigenous languages, the importance of diversity in cultural content in a digital age, and the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to opening new markets for creators and cultural industries, including those with our Arctic neighbours.
While in Norway, Parliamentary Secretary Virani also conducted a series of bilateral meetings with political and cultural officials from other Arctic countries.
"It is important that Indigenous and Northern voices in Canada are heard, not only across our country but also around the world. By participating in events like the Arctic Arts Summit, we are promoting the unique Indigenous cultures of the Arctic to a global audience, and helping build a stronger circumpolar community."
—Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)
Arts and culture define us and bring us together. They link communities across the country, the circumpolar region, and around the world. They enrich our lives and broaden our horizons. Canadian Heritage is working to foster new relationships with artists and creators across the country, particularly Indigenous and Northern artists, and promote their success internationally.
No relationship is more important to the Canadian Government than the one with Indigenous Peoples. The Government is committed to a renewed partnership based on recognition of rights, respect and cooperation.
Part of the Government's response to the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is recognizing that support for Indigenous languages and culture is critical for reconciliation.
Arts and culture contribute significantly to the Canadian economy. The sector accounts for 3 percent of our gross domestic product and employs more than 630,000 Canadians.
Diversity is one of Canada's greatest strengths. Our country is strong—not in spite of our differences, but because of them. Canada's heritage and unique culture, shaped by our diversity, deserves to be celebrated and shared.
Global citizens are interested in the visions and stories of creators with distinct and varied voices. The diversity of cultural content is a path to success in the new digital distribution of content. Canada is uniquely positioned to lead and succeed in the global digital marketplace.
SOURCE Canadian Heritage
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