Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec

Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec (MACQ). The Act creating the Quebec Ministry of Cultural Affairs to 'favour and promote the specific cultural character of Quebec in the fields of arts, letters, and heritage'. Before 1960 Quebec government subsidies to artistic societies were controlled by the secretary of the province of Quebec, whose responsibilities included fine arts. This department was responsible for the Prix d'Europe and the Conservatoire de musique du Québec, created under its auspices in 1942. Study grants for young musicians, however, came under the Ministry of Youth. When the Quebec Liberal party was brought to power in 1960 the first plank in its platform called for the creation of a ministry of cultural affairs. The organizational structure and operation were established by Georges-Émile Lapalme, and in presenting the bill, 2 Mar 1961, Premier Jean Lesage declared, 'Government does not create culture, neither does it control it... it merely attempts to create a climate in which the arts may flourish.' The act passed by the National Assembly 24 Mar 1961 provided for the establishment of a ministry and also of a provincial arts council, which in 1991 still existed by virtue of the act but which last met in 1968. The ministers have been Georges-Émile Lapalme 1961-4, Pierre Laporte 1964-6, Jean-Noël Tremblay 1966-70, François Cloutier 1970-2, Claire Kirkland-Casgrain 1972-3, Denis Hardy 1973-5, Jean-Paul L'Allier 1974-6, Louis O'Neil 1976-8, Denis Vaugeois 1978-81, Clément Richard 1981-5, Gérald Godin 1985, Lise Bacon 1985-9, Lucienne Robillard 1989-90, succeeded by Liza Frulla-Hébert in 1990. One of the main architects of the policies of the MACQ was Guy Frégault, deputy minister 1962-68 and 1970-75.

After the conservatories that make up the Cons de musique du Québec were placed under the jurisdiction of the MACQ, the responsibility for music instruction was assumed by Wilfrid Pelletier 1961-7, Victor Bouchard 1967-71, and Jean Vallerand 1971-8. Vallerand later also became director of performing arts. Victor Bouchard was director of the music section 1971-5 and a consultant 1975-8; he again became director of conservatories in 1978 after Uriel Luft held the post for a few months that year on an interim basis. Léopold Simoneau was assistant to the director of music 1968-70 and artistic director in 1971 of the Opéra du Québec, a creation of the ministry. The administrative structure of the music section has undergone numerous changes and was reorganized in 1978. In 1979 its director was Jacques Langevin who, following his appointment as director of the Opéra de Montréal in 1983, was succeeded by Claudette Lacharité.

In 1991, besides subsidizing the professional and principal musical societies of Quebec, such as major and community orchestras, music camps, festivals, etc, the MACQ continued to be responsible for the conservatories and to fund the annual Prix d'Europe competition. (Study grants had become the responsibility of the Ministry of Education.) The MACQ has played a leading role in the establishment of musical societies, which it subsidizes but which enjoy much artistic and administrative autonomy. Particular mention should be made of the SMCQ (begun in 1966), the Opéra du Québec (1971-5), the OJQ (1977-91), and the Opéra de Montréal (begun in 1980). In 1977 the MACQ began to administer the annual Prix Denise-Pelletier for the performing arts; recipients in the field of music have been Felix Leclerc in 1977, Bernard Lagacé in 1978, Jean Papineau-Couture in 1981, Lionel Daunais in 1982, Gilles Vigneault in 1983, Jean Gascon in 1985, Colette Boky in 1986, John Newmark in 1988, Joseph Rouleau in 1990 and Gilles Tremblay in 1991.

In 1963-4 the total budget of the MACQ was $5,070,000. By 1978-9 it had increased more than thirteenfold, to $67,318,800, of which $12,553,600 was earmarked for the support of the performing arts and $8,415,300 for the teaching of them. During the same season 57 societies or musical organizations were assisted by the MACQ. The total amount of money granted by the MACQ for various purposes during the 1990-1 fiscal year was $8,566,500. This sum provided assistance to performers, composers, and scholars and subsidized periods of study in other countries. Bursaries to assist artists and encourage creativity are allocated at the recommendation of specialized selection committees.

Publications

Lasalle-Leduc, Annette. La Vie musicale au Canada francais (1964)

Vie musicale, periodical (1965-71)

Culture vivante, quarterly periodical (1966-73)

Cormier, Normand, et al. La Chanson au Québec 1965-1975 (1975)

Guide de spectacle et du disque (1978)

L'Industrie de la musique Québec 1980, 3 vols (1980): I Titres et fonctions; II Répertoire ; III Fournisseurs