The Canada Council at Work
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 24 Oct 1968, p. 24-34
Martineau, Jean, Speaker
Media Type
Item Type
The creation of the Canada Council, more properly "The Canadian Council for the encouragement of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences" in 1957, a recommendation of the Massey Commission. Facts, figures and activities from those days to now.
Date of Original
24 Oct 1968
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Empire Club of Canada
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Full Text
OCTOBER 24, 1968
The Canada Council At Work
CHAIRMAN Edward B. Jolliffe, Q.C.

The President,


Our guest of honour today has had a most unusual and distinguished career.

A son of the late Mr. Justice Martineau, he was educated at the University of Montreal, called to the Bar in 1919 and quickly attained great eminence in his profession. He became Batonnier of the Montreal Bar and in 1953 Batonnier-General of the Bar of the Province of Quebec. He served as a Judge of the Court of Appeal and a Royal Commissioner from 1954 to 1959, when he resigned to return to his first love as a very active counsel and senior partner in the firm of Martineau, Walker, Allison, Beaulieu, Tetley and Phelan. He has also found time to be Chairman of the Quebec Advisory Council on the Administration of Justice, a member of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada, and a director of important companies.

Our guest is a man of many parts. He is a great traveller, a connoisseur of the produce of the field and the vineyard, and I can certify that in the Court-room he is un adversaire formidable.

But man does not live by bread alone and no one knows this better than our guest. He has always had a zealous interest in arts and letters, of which he is a notable patron. His friends include many artists in this and other countries, and he must have agreed completely with the St. Laurent government more than a decade ago when it took note that two of our leading taxpayers had passed away at about the same time, and that substantial funds thus became available to create and endow the Canada Council.

Today he is its Chairman and he has graciously agreed to speak to The Empire Club on the work of the Canada Council. Mr. Jean Martineau, Q.C., LL.D., D.C.L.


Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I was looking forward to this moment with confidence until I received, last Friday, the invitation to this luncheon sent to all of you and on which it was said that, if you accepted, you would hear a "brilliant and witty speaker". Whoever wrote this could show tricks to any Madison Avenue expert and he must be a firm believer in McLuhan's dictum that the media is the message.

Needless to say that, after reading this card, I became a thoroughly frightened man and the introduction of your Chairman, as misleading to you as it was friendly to me, did nothing to restore my confidence. I must therefore warn you that you will have to accept me at my worst, which can be very bad indeed.

However, this does not prevent me from being very grateful to your Chairman and officers for having thought of inviting me to be the guest speaker at a luncheon of this historic Club, nor from being proud in the knowledge that you do not look at me as a stranger but as a fellow citizen of our beloved Country, nor of being happy for feeling so at home in your great city, where I have so many friends.

How times have changed, and for the better! About twenty years ago, a client of our firm was buying a rather large business in an important town of Ontario and I had to make many trips there before the deal was closed. I did not at first feel completely confident because I had the impression of being in a strange land. I also soon became conscious that the business man with whom I was dealing was watching me with a suspicious and then a surprised look in his eyes. Well, the papers were signed and about a million and a half dollars changed hands and, subsequently, the seller happily invited us all to his country club, where many toasts were drunk. Our host then said to me: "Mr. Martineau, I have a question to ask you but you must first promise me that it will not offend you". This was of course a question which could only be asked by a person who has somewhat lost his sense of logic but, as I was in the same state, I unhesitatingly assured him that I would not mind any question he would put to me. The question was this: "Mr. Martineau, you are the first French-Canadian I have ever spoken to. Are you a typical one?", which was meant of course as a compliment, but solely to me. I assured him that I was only too typical a French-Canadian, so our host said: "If this is so, how mistaken I have been all my life". So, to celebrate our new-found understanding, we had of course another toast.

When your Chairman invited me, he gave me the choice of the subject of my address and I thought that such a great occasion to make better known the Canada Council should not be missed, and I will therefore speak to you about it.

1. In 1957, the Canadian government of the day decided to carry out one of the recommendations of the Massey Commission and to create the Canada Council, the name of which should really be "The Canada Council for the encouragement of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences".

(a) Miraculous times those days. We had a surplus of $500,000,000.
(b) $100,000,000. given to the Council
One-half to be used to help Universities and similar institutions of learning in respect of building construction projects
One-half to be invested and the revenues thereof to be used to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences;
(c) The Council was to be composed of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman and no more than 19 other members, to be appointed by the Governor-in-Council;
(d) The law stated that the Chairman and ViceChairman might be paid such salary or other amount by way of remuneration, and the members of the Council such allowance for each day while in attendance at meetings of the Council as might be fixed by the Governor-in-Council.
The per diem of the members was fixed at $50. and has remained so ever since, and no Chairman or Vice-Chairman, including the present ones, were ever paid any salary or remuneration.

2. During most first years--

(a) $3,000,000. to spend seemed inexhaustible; and
(b) This sum soon became inadequate because needs were increasing all the time and everywhere, while the revenues remained about the same.

3. In 1965, representations were made to the then Secretary of State, the honourable Maurice Lamontagne, that the Council could not fulfill its object without a very important increase in its revenues. Mr. Lamontagne recognized this fact and soon afterwards the government voted to the Council a sum of $10,000,000 to be spent in the course of the next three years.

(a) Everyone was happy during the following year because we were able to increase our grants and help many institutions and persons, whom we had been unable to help up to that time.
(b) However, the inevitable result was felt immediately and, before the first year ended, we asked the government to authorize us to spend the balance of the $10,000,000 during the second year, which it authorized us to do, so that in 196566 the Council distributed $6,832,047. and in 1966-67 the sum of $11,133,041.

4. Of course the same causes produced the same results. The more help was given the more needs were created and we therefore returned again to the Secretary of State, who was then the Honourable Judy LaMarsh, and explained the situation to her. She was very understanding and, thanks to her efforts and to the enlightened views of the Cabinet, Parliament voted the Council the sum of $16,000,000. which brought to about $20,000,000. the amount which the Council could distribute during the year 1967-68. The government further agreed to increase its subsidy to $21,000,000. for the year 1968-69. However, this subsidy was slightly reduced because of the government's austerity programme, but the Council should anyway be able to make grants up to about $25,000,000. during the present year.

5. I might digress here for a moment and say:

(a) that the Council administers the Cultural Exchange Treaty between Canada and France, Belgium and Switzerland;
(b) The National Commission of UNESCO is also looked after partially by the Council;

6. The Council has received gifts, the largest amounting to about $16,000,000. from the Dorothy Killam estate, $600,000. from the Molson foundation and lately a legacy of $700,000. by a distinguished Canadian citizen whose name I am not now at liberty to disclose.

7. Budget for 1968-69:

(a) The Humanities and Social Sciences $16,000,000
(b) The Arts 9,240,000

8. The Humanities and Social Sciences:

(a) Doctoral fellowships; Post-doctoral fellowships; Sabatical fellowships; Research grants; Publications; Exchanges; Research collections; Special awards;
(b) In 1967-68: The Council gave 769 grants to career scholars, that is for post-doctoral fellowships, leave fellowships and grants for research;
(c) It gave 1554 doctoral fellowships; and
(d) $1,000,000 to universities for research collections;

9. (a) Grants made after competitions first decided by three judges who rank the applicants;

(b) The decisions of the judges are submitted to the Academic Panel presided by the Vice-Chairman of the Council and composed of 17 persons, including 3 members of the Council, chosen across the land;
This panel reviews the work of the judges and makes its own report;
(c) This report and the decision of the judges are given to the officers of the Council who study them and make their submissions;
(d) These recommendations are then studied by the Academic Committee of the Council which is composed mostly of university men;
(e) The report of this Committee is thereafter submitted to the Council sitting as a whole and discussed thoroughly. The awards are then made.

10. Some special demands are submitted to the Academic Panel and then to the Council when they are of such a nature that they cannot form part of the general competitions;

11. The Arts: $9,240,000 divided as follows:

(a) Assistance to individuals: $1,725,000
(i) Bursaries: 800,000
Number of applicants-- 698
Number of bursaries-- 214
Average value - $3,740
(ii) Awards: $575,000
Number of applicants-- 280
Number of awards - 83
Average value - $6,950
(iii) Short-term awards,
travel grants, etc.: $350,000
(b) Festivals: $470,000
(c) Other grants: $280,000
Conferences, studies, artists in residence, etc.

12. Music: $1,720,000

(i) Orchestras:$1,230,000
(ii) Chamber music: 87,000
(iii) Other music: 403,000
Music Centre, La jeunesse Musicale, etc.

13. Operas: $645,000 increase over 1967-68 of $220,000 that is 51.8%

14. Dance: $930,000 increase over last year of $175,000 or 23.1 %

15. Theatre: $2,000,000

(i) Theatre companies: $1,545,000
(ii) Other theatre: 455,000
The National Theatre School;
The Canadian Theatre Centre; The Dominion Drama Festival; The Theatre Arts Development Programme;

16. Visual Arts: $960,000

(i) Galleries: $609,000
40% increase
(ii) Films: 100,000
25% increase Includes: La Cinematheque Canadienne Canadian Film Institute The Vancouver Film Festival The Montreal International Film Festival;
(iii) Other visual arts: $251,000
Arts Canada Vie des Arts Purchase awards, etc.

17. Creative writing: $250,000

18. Panels, Committees, etc.: $60,000

All of these grants, except a few short-term awards and travel grants, are made by competition following the same system which I explained a few moments ago, except that the decisions of the judges are reviewed by an Advisory Arts Panel, then by the Arts Committee of the Council and finally by the Council sitting as a whole.

20. All the other awards, except a few small ones, are studied first by the Arts Panel, then the Arts Committee and finally by the Council itself.

21. No pressure whatever from anyone. Members are free at all times to decide according to their judgment and conscience.

22. However, even if free, it is not always easy to decide when the Arts are concerned;

(a) They must satisfy the public, but must also understand artists; and
(b) An open mind is therefore necessary, though hard for the older ones;
(i) Music--Schoenberg
(ii) Painting -Picasso
(iii) Sculpture--Moore
(iv) Bizarre--Ortiz


1968-69 Season

Music Amount Month
National Youth Orchestra $ 25,000 April
Canadian Opera Company $260,000 April
Toronto Symphony Orchestra $265,000 May
Canadian Music Centre $ 2,500 May
Festival Singers Toronto $ 37,000 Sept.
Toronto Repertory Ensemble $ 7,585 Sept.
Treatre Toronto $ 13,000 April
Theatre Toronto $125,000 Sept.
Canadian Theatre Centre $ 89,000 May
Toronto Workshop Productions $ 35,000 May
Toronto Arts Foundation $ 15,000 Sept.
New School of Art $ 10,000 Sept.
Intersystems $ 10,500 May
National Ballet Guild
of Canada $350,000 April
National Ballet School $100,000 Sept.
Royal Ontario Museum $ 80,000 April
Art Gallery of Ontario $140,000 May

TOTAL $1,564,585

23. What impact has had the Canada Council?

Immense, I would say without modesty;

(a) In the fields of the Humanities and Social Sciences,
(i) It has made possible researches which otherwise would not have been made by Canadian scholars;
(ii) It has allowed thousands of graduates to obtain a Ph.D., thereby helping to train Canadian students to become professors of our schools of higher learning;
(iii) It has contributed to the purchase of research collections by universities without which our young men could not have completed their graduate studies without going to other countries.
(b) In the field of the Arts:
(i) It has helped train a great number of artists of whom Canada is now proud;
(ii) It is in great part responsible for the incredible forward strides of the theatre, of music, of ballet (voir Toronto list of the year).
(iii) It has helped a great many Canadian writers, composers, painters and sculptors to create original works;
(iv) It has caused Canadians to acquire a lively interest in many forms of arts, an interest which holds for them the promise of a more understanding mind, of a more human heart and, therefore, of a fuller life.

24. Thus, The Canada Council has helped and continues to help the blossoming of a true Canadian culture, that is one born of our own spirit and genius. This does not mean an ingrown culture, blind and ignorant of others, but a culture which has become great enough, though indigenous, to enlarge and enrich the universal one.

25. The members of the Canada Council are grateful for the opportunity given to them of contributing to this great achievement and they are happy in the thought that their work is helping national unity; the Arts, the Humanities and the Social Sciences, knowing no boundaries between provinces, no barrier of languages nor of distances.

It is true that this unity is at last within our grasp but we all must make sure that it is finally attained and then never lost.

Thanks of the meeting were expressed by Mr. Sydney Hermant.

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The Canada Council at Work

The creation of the Canada Council, more properly "The Canadian Council for the encouragement of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences" in 1957, a recommendation of the Massey Commission. Facts, figures and activities from those days to now.