The Massey report

In 1949, the government of Canada created the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. The future governor-general Vincent Massey chaired the Commission and Father G.-H Lévesque represented French Canadians. The Commission submitted its report in 1951. It contained fundamental proposals for the history of Canadian culture and argued for Canadian government involvement in culture. The federal government’s support for culture and the arts over the past fifty years stems from this important report. Among the report’s recommendations was the creation of the Canada Council for the Arts. The Commission’s hearings were the opportunity for the National Film Board and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to advance their opposing viewpoints around the imminent arrival of television. The NFB argued its jurisdiction over film and the role it could play as a producer of television programs. The CBC emphasised its broadcasting experience. The CBC won out, with the NFB supplying it with documentary and dramatic programming for a few years’ time.