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News Flash: David Franklin Court Documents Unsealed; Canada National Gallery’s Conflicts Revealed

In Toronto’s Globe and Mail later this morning (but online now), James Bradshaw and Josh Wingrove report on the contents of the legal affidavits in the dispute between the National Gallery of Canada’s director, Pierre Théberge, and its deputy director, David Franklin, (who was abruptly put on leave). Franklin’s July 16 request for a judicial review of the situation was dismissed by a Federal Court judge and the file was “permanently” sealed. The Ottawa Citizen newspaper promptly announced it would file a motion to have the affidavits made public. Now they are.

The convoluted intrigue at the museum resists summary and defies complete comprehension. You’ve got to read the the story, and then you’ll still have unanswered questions. (I assume there will also be a report in tomorrow’s Ottawa Citizen).

Here, from the Globe and Mail, is part of the tangled tale:

The documents detail the planned termination of Mr. Franklin from his
post, which Mr. Franklin later challenged in federal court, and a
growing rift between Mr. Franklin and gallery director Pierre Théberge.

A sworn affidavit from Mr. Franklin claims his employment was
terminated on June 11. On June 13, Mr. Franklin submitted a formal
letter of application for the director’s job, soon to be vacated when
Mr. Théberge’s current one-year term expires at the end of 2008. The
gallery then withdrew his dismissal and placed him on paid leave on
June 16.

In yet another reversal, Mr. Franklin was informed on June 27 that his
termination would be reinstated effective June 30. But as Mr. Franklin
complains in the affidavit, gallery staff had already been informed
that he would not be returning as deputy director.

As late as July 17, the National Gallery was still publicly describing Franklin as its deputy director.

It gets more complicated from there, with other staffers involved in hostilities. Let’s just say that this was not a harmonious working environment.

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