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BriefsReportTable of ContentReport IndexRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and SciencesRoyal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences

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THIS chapter will be concerned with certain of the creative arts in Canada. It has been suggested to us that one measure of the degree of civilization attained by a nation might fairly be the extent to which the nation's creative artists are supported, encouraged and esteemed by the nation as a whole.

2. The Canadian Arts Council, representing eighteen societies comprising some 10,000 members engaged in such creative arts as architecture, painting, music, literature, sculpture and drama, submitted a brief to us at our Ottawa sessions in April 1950, which begins with the following statement:

"No novelist, poet, short story writer, historian, biographer, or other writer of non-technical books can make even a modestly comfortable living by selling his work in Canada. No composer of music can live at all on what Canada pays him for his compositions.
Apart from radio drama, no playwright, and only a few actors and producers, can live by working in the theatre in Canada. Few painters and sculptors, outside the fields of commercial art and teaching, can live by sale of their work in Canada".1

3. This very serious statement concerning the arts in Canada deserves the most earnest consideration.

4. It will be noted that in this chapter there is a considerable variation in the length of the sections discussing the creative arts in Canada. We should not like to give the impression that the respective emphasis given to these various subjects in the following pages corresponds to our estimate of their importance in our national life. Throughout this first part of our Report, as we have noted elsewhere, we have in general presented an account of the views which have been submitted to us by interested organizations and citizens. On certain of the subjects, such


as painting, we received copious evidence; on other matters, such as sculpture, folklore and Indian arts, the information at our disposal was relatively meagre. We do not presume to give anything like a full statement on the creative arts in Canada, which indeed would be in itself a task of considerable magnitude. We have, however, attempted to set down a fair account of the views which have been expressed to us, at a length and with an emphasis corresponding fairly closely to the submissions and to the statements which have been made to us.

* From: Canada. Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters, and Sciences. Report. Ottawa : King's Printer, 1951. By permission of the Privy Council Office.

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