Minister St-Onge. Image courtesy of the Gov't of Canada
Minister St-Onge. Image courtesy of the Gov't of Canada

Quebec Minister Pascale St-Onge Now Heads Heritage

Pascale St-Onge replaces Pablo Rodriguez as Heritage Minister following PM Justin Trudeau’s Wednesday cabinet shuffle.

She was elected as the Member of Parliament for Brome—Missisquoi in 2021. She has previously served as Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

In her parliamentary bio, it says Minister St-Onge is a champion for equity, democracy, and social justice with a strong track record in leadership, focused on implementing effective and concrete solutions to complex issues.

Continuing: Over the past decade, Minister St-Onge served as Secretary General and then President of the Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture, where she worked to address the challenges facing the media, newspapers, and the cultural sector. In this role, she oversaw expert studies aimed at developing public policies, participated in the creation and adoption of programs to support the print media, and contributed to the implementation of policies and programs designed to help the media and cultural sectors adapt to shifts brought about by digital platforms. In addition, she was instrumental in the purchase of the Groupe Capitales Médias and its transformation into a cooperative that allowed its daily newspapers to survive and continue their mission.

Minister St-Onge holds a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Studies from the Université du Québec à Montréal and a certificate in journalism from the Université de Montréal. She also enjoyed a career as a musician for many years. She is also the first admitted lesbian in a cabinet post.

One of her first priorities in handling the wide-ranging portfolio is to mollify Google and Meta, both of whom are irate over Bill C-18, sometimes known as the Online News Act. The legislation mandating these companies compensate news organizations for hyperlinks on their platforms that tease news stories becomes law sometime this fall. Alexandra Mae Jones has the details in a detailed CTV News report that can be found here.

Acknowledging the new portfolio minister, Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) President & CEO Erin Benjamin stated that her constituency welcomes The Honourable Pascale St-Onge as the new Minister of Canadian Heritage… "(and) sincerely thanks outgoing minister Pablo Rodriguez and his team for their years of leadership—in particular during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our live music industry remains grateful to Minister Rodriguez and the Federal government for the emergency support provided during our time of greatest need."

“That support helped in two vital ways: it ensured the survival of many businesses (essential to live performance touring infrastructure), and it signalled that the government believes live music companies, organizations and entrepreneurs matter. Emergency support was a historic first step in harnessing the potential for impact that can be found within Canada’s extraordinary and diverse live music sector.

“The economic and cultural value of live music in Canada is enormous, but our industry’s true potential can only be fully realized through policy and investment that embraces live music entrepreneurs as stakeholders by leveraging their direct impact on an artist’s ability to succeed…”

Heritage Ministers over the years:

Sheila Copps (L): July 12, 1996 - Dec. 11, 2003

Hélène Scherrer (L): Dec. 12, 2003 - July 19, 2004

Liza Frulla (L): July 20, 2004 - Feb. 5, 2006

Bev Oda (C): Feb. 6, 2006 - Aug. 14, 2007

Josée Verner (C): Aug. 14, 2007 - Oct. 29, 2008

James Moore (C): Oct. 30, 2008 - July 15, 2013

Shelly Glover (C): July 15, 2013 - July 18, 2018

Mélanie Joly (L): Nov. 4, 2015 - July 18, 2018

Pablo Rodriguez (L): July 18, 2018 - Nov. 20, 2019

Steven Guilbeault (L): Nov. 20, 2019 - Oct. 26, 2021

Pablo Rodriguez (L): Oct. 26, 2021 - July 26, 2023

Pascale St-Onge (L): July 26, 2023 - Incumbent

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