Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The board of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts tried to turn the page on controversy Tuesday – only to find itself rebuked by the museum’s membership.

Outgoing board chair Michel de la Chenelière, the philanthropist who was instrumental in firing director Nathalie Bondil, lost his seat at the annual general meeting. The membership elected three of four independent candidates, all of them women, who were challenging the board’s official nominees. One of those board-approved nominees was de la Chenelière, who was stepping down as chair but seeking to keep a seat.

The museum has been mired in controversy since the board fired Bondil in July, citing a dysfunctional working environment. Bondil’s supporters have attempted to turn her dismissal into an issue of governance suggesting the board was meddling inappropriately, while both the board and museum staff have said that the workplace situation was untenable. A Quebec government report that was filed with the National Assembly last week found that staff concerns about the work environment were legitimate and serious, but also found that rules covering the museum’s governance needed to be updated.

Story continues below advertisement

At the meeting, held virtually, museum members voted for four seats that were up for renewal on the 20-member board. The board’s nominating committee had put forward three incumbents, including de la Chenelière, and one new candidate. Only one of them, Sylvie Demers, who has sat on the board since 2018, won a seat. The other three seats went to Montreal lawyer and AI advocate Valentine Goddard, governance expert Caroline Codsi and art historian Claudette Hould. The fourth candidate, lawyer and museologist Lydie Olga Ntap, did not win a seat.

“It was perceived as a battle for and against Nathalie Bondil. I have made it clear that is not why I was in the race,” Goddard said in an interview, adding she was surprised the three won. “We are going into this with a love of the museum and a love of art. This is a temporary crisis. It’s important to reassure employees who might have been in an uncomfortable environment that we are coming in with solutions, and to reassure the other board members that we are going to collaborate.” She also expressed sorrow that Ntap did not get a seat but predicted she would join the board in the future. The government report called for more diversity on the board; Ntap, who is Black, was the only non-white candidate in the election.

Introducing the meeting in French, de la Chenelière had said: “It’s time to turn the page, that’s why with serenity I have decided not to run for another term [as chair] and with a feeling of duty done, hand the torch to Pierre Bourgie.” Bourgie, another board member and one of the museum’s major donors, is expected to be confirmed as the board’s president at its next meeting. De la Chenelière did not immediately respond to a request for further comment Tuesday but before he lost his seat he had promised that he would still be involved in the museum he loved.

The meeting concluded with numerous questions from members about the nomination process, complaints about online voting and queries about Bondil’s departure. One member asked whether the working environment could really have been that bad; another asked why the board hadn’t fired Bondil sooner. Organizers, who had sorted questions into batches, pointed to the government report and its finding that the board had acted in good faith to protect employees.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies