Quebec wants to know where the museum's money is going

Quebec wants to know where the museum's money is going

The Minister of Culture Nathalie Roy wants to change the law to hold the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) to account, after learning of a scathing report on governance problems within this institution.

Quebec wants to know where the museum's money is going

Nathalie Roy

“When we give $ 16 million (of public funds) per year to a museum, Quebeckers have the right to know what we are doing with their money,” said the minister last night in a telephone interview.

She was reacting to the conclusions of the independent expert report that she commissioned following the saga of the dismissal of the former director general of the museum, Nathalie Bondil.

The report is due to be released today. In an executive summary of which our Bureau of Investigation has obtained a copy, Professor Daniel Beaupré, from the School of Management Sciences at UQAM, recommends nothing less than a big clean-up within the museum.

He believes that the open war between Ms. Bondil and the president of the museum's board, Michel de la Chenelière, has plunged the institution “into the heart of an unprecedented crisis”

The expert proposes in particular to set up at the MMFA, “on a permanent basis, a governance and ethics committee as well as a human resources committee”.

Michel de la Chenelière (left) recently announced that he was stepping down as chair of the MMFA's board. Nathalie Bondil is suing him for $ 2 million following his dismissal.

Curiously, the MMFA has never had such structures and still operates under its own law which dates back to 1972.

He had escaped the reform of the Couillard government in 2016 which concerned the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée de la civilization and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

Psychological harassment

Yesterday, Minister Roy clarified that she does not intend to “convert (the MMFA) into a state museum like the other three”. She was not in a position to say whether Quebec intends to appoint more than 9 of the 21 directors of the museum, given that it is, by far, its largest funder.

Nevertheless, she intends to “apply the rules of good governance to the museum”, and “proceed as quickly as possible”.

In his report, the independent expert believes that the government must “better frame the roles and responsibilities of general management and the board”.

He believes that Quebec must “specify and formalize” how the MMFA reports to it, “given the significant financial contribution of the Ministry”.

It also recommends improving internal human resources management, and “continuing to disseminate new policies related to psychological harassment”.

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