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The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences, often referred to as the 'Massey Commission', was established by Privy Council Order on April 8, 1949 and was chaired by the Honourable Vincent Massey, who later became the first native-born Governor General of Canada. The Commission was instrumental in the establishment of the National Library, for which its recommendations were strongly influenced by many submissions such as those of the Canadian Library Association, the Association canadienne des bibliothécaires de langue française, and many other groups. The Commission also made recommendations upon the principles which should govern broadcasting and television policies in Canada, upon federal cultural agencies1, aid to research, and Canada's relations with UNESCO2.
This site incorporates the full text of the Commission's 1951 Report in English and French. Part I of the Report consists of a survey of the many and varied subjects which the Commission had under review. Part II presents the recommendations of the Commission, 146 in all, under eight principal headings: Broadcasting (Radio Broadcasting and Television; National Film Board; Other Federal Institutions (The National Gallery, National Museums, Federal Libraries, Public Records And Archives, Historic Sites And Monuments); Aid to Universities; National Scholarships; Scientific Research under the Federal Government; Information Abroad; a Council for the Arts, Letters, Humanities and Social Sciences.
During the course of its two-year inquiry, the Commission held 114 public hearings throughout Canada at which some twelve hundred witnesses appeared. The Commission received 462 formal submissions, and many hundreds of letters from Canadian citizens. The briefs are a wealth of information about the organizations submitting them and about their opinions, attitudes, and positions.
1 These agencies included the National Film Board, the National Gallery, the National Museum [now the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Museum of Nature, and the National Museum of Science and Technology], the Public Archives [now the National Archives of Canada] and the Library of Parliament.
2 The Commission was also charged with making recommendations concerning the relationship of the Government of Canada with various national voluntary bodies.