A few months before the elections, the Minister of Culture and Communications, Nathalie Roy, draws up a positive assessment of the past four years, even if “the pandemic has confused the cards for everyone and [que ] it was very difficult for the environment”. Le Journal discussed with her various issues that have marked her sector in recent years.
Law 35 on the status of the artist
Earlier this month, the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously adopted Minister Roy's Bill 35, which aims to “modernize and harmonize the rules relating to the professional status of artists”.
< p>What will it actually change? “We are bringing working relations for the cultural sector into the 21st century. There were two laws, dating from 1987 and 1988, and we made one. There is now only one category of artists. All artists now have the right to recourse, among other things with regard to psychological and sexual harassment.”
The cultural sector is also affected by a major labor shortage. Shows in Trois-Rivières recently had to be canceled due to a lack of technicians.
What has Ms. Roy planned to counter this scourge? “We’re kind of in the funnel effect right now, because there are so many shows. The environment is a victim of its own success. […] In the audiovisual sector, we injected $1.3 million [at AQPM and INIS] to train nearly 260 new professionals in the industry. I also doubled the amounts for aid to the operation of organizations. They will thus be able to pay their people better.”
The impacts of the pandemic
The cultural sector has been very affected by the pandemic, but after more than two years of crisis, Nathalie Roy prefers to be optimistic. “There is the expression “To something misfortune is good”. A certain form of complicity came out of that. I am very proud to have managed to understand the issues and to be there to ensure that artists from all cultural backgrounds are supported during this ordeal through which we have all passed. To see today that activities are resuming and that performance halls are already 100% full for the fall is unheard of.”
Help for festivals
Several cultural events owe their survival over the past two years to various government aids. Will the Ministry of Culture continue its assistance in the coming years, even if activities have returned to normal?
“Last April, I went to collect nearly $226 million more to establish a three-year plan [called Plan to consolidate, shine and propel the cultural milieu], answers the minister. People in the community told me how much they needed to know that the government would be there for several years. This money will therefore support them post-COVID. We are resolutely looking to the future.”
Minister Roy was in Baie-St-Paul, Charlevoix, this week to announce the fourth Blue Space. Does the CAQ still have the objective of opening 17 museums in all regions of Quebec in the coming years?
“That is the government’s intention,” replies Ms. Roy. But we are in an election year and it is not true that we are going to announce 14 at once. We will take our time to select them well. […] The first three Blue Spaces are under construction. We are really proud of what it gives. We can't wait to introduce them to Quebec. They will be places to share the history, the builders, the heroes and heroines of each region.”
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