"Inventory of Incidents" between R&D staff and board of directors


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

"Inventory of Incidents" between R&D staff and board of directors

  1. 1. INVENTORY OF INCIDENT BETWEEN MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND THE STAFF OF RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY, BETWEEN FEBRUARY 2009 AND JANUARY 2010 Note: the incident of the performance evaluation of President Beauregard, already well documented in the media, is not included in this table. 30 March, 2010 1
  2. 2. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) February 2009 Jacques Gauthier Rémy Beauregard Press release on "Operation Cast • The draft statement quoted from a position of Rights & Razmik Panossian Lead conducted by Israeli forces Democracy already published (in June 2006, under Jean- Michael Wodzicki in the Gaza Strip. Louis Roy) calling on both parties to respect the human Nicholas Galletti rights of non-combatants. Charles Vallerand • Mr. Gauthier, then acting president of the board of directors has asked us to issue instead a statement accusing the Palestinian authorities to be behind this latest escalation of violence. • Rights & Democracy did not issue a statement. March 2009 Jacques Gauthier Rémy Beauregard Mr. Gauthier has insistently • Mr. Beauregard has refused to disclose the amount for two Marie-France Cloutier sought to know the amount of reasons: Dominic Tremblay severance package paid to an 1. The board of directors of the Center approves projects, employee, first by his questions not staff salaries. This is the President’s prerogative during meetings of the Board of pursuant to Article 15.1 of the Act Directors, then the finance 2. Pay scales can be revealed, but not the exact wages committee then by asking Marie- which remain confidential under the federal Privacy Act. France Cloutier directly. • The Office of the Auditor General of Canada noted that the agreement giving rise to a severance payment after resignation was legal, but unusual. The OAG approved the financial statements without reservation. • Wage policy adopted since for non unionized employee state that no premium is paid in cases of voluntary departure. • The Board nevertheless seeks to adopt a bylaw to that effect. • No consensus was reached around the wording submitted by Mr. Beauregard at the June 2009 board meeting. • The board has not addressed this issue since. 30 March, 2010 2
  3. 3. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) Mars 2009 Aurel Braun Razmik Panossian Mr. Braun is informed of funding • Mr. Braun was visibly angry and very upset. He said how Michael Wodzicki for Al Haq, B'Tselem and Al that decision was wrong and what negative consequences it Mezan during the briefing session could have if the matter became public. given to him on the eve of his first participation to the board. • The funding for these three organizations came from the Urgent Action Fund: o The urgent action fund was established in 2000. Expenses over $5,000 were originally subject to board approval. Following an external evaluation conducted in 2002, the board deemed that given the amounts involved and the need for rapid response, authority over the fund would be delegated to the President of the Centre who would report back to the board. This change occurred in 2003. o The decision to provide funding to Al Haq, Al Mezan and B’Tselem was in line with this procedure. March 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Mr. Braun gets adopted a • Funding of $ 7,000 to support the visit in Colombia of the Razmik Panossian resolution requiring President Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and Beauregard to consult members fundamental freedoms of indigenous people is approved by of the executive committee of the all members of the Executive Committee, except Mr. board on all expenditures of the Braun, who says has a veto. urgent action and the important opportunities funds until this • Funding is finally granted at the next meeting of the Board of Directors in June 2009. matter it reconsidered at the June meeting of the board. • At its meeting on 7-8 January 2010, the Board adopts a resolution providing for a freeze of the urgent action and the important opportunities funds pending further consideration. • The freezing of the funds forced the management team to support the disaster relief effort to Haiti in January 2010 out of regular budgets. • The board later changed its mind later and approved that the funding come from the urgent action fund. 30 March, 2010 3
  4. 4. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) March 2009 Jacques Gauthier Sylvain Beauchamp, At meetings of the Board, it is • In his conversation with Sylvain Beauchamp, Mr. Gauthier Senior Advisor, customary to invite employees to indicated that it could be expected that important changes Partnerships meet board members during a would be made to the orientations of the Centre. buffet style luncheon. March 2009 Jacques Gauthier Razmik Panossian After each meeting of the Board, • Mr. Gauthier questioned Razmik Panossian at length about it is customary for the his ethnic origin, religion, migrations from Armenia, to management team to join Lebanon, London and then Canada. directors for dinner. • Mr. Gauthier later wrote that he had been offended by Razmik’s questions following set of questions on his own origins and the possibility that he or his wife would be Jewish given his great interest in the status of Jerusalem. March 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard The Board was informed by Mr. • During a telephone conversation with Secretary of the (and Jacques Gauthier Marie-France Cloutier Beauregard at the meeting in Board, Ms. Cloutier, Mr. Braun tried to amend the minutes throughout the March 2009 of its decision that to attribute this decision to himself. She refused. year, as Rights and Democracy would not evidenced by participate in any way to the • Mr. Braun insisted after this incident that the deliberations of the Board be recorded, which was done. conversations Durban Review Conference, nor with Cynthia to parallel events reserved for • Despite assurances given by Mr. Beauregard, Mr. Gauthier Gervais in civil society organizations even if and Mr. Braun continued to investigate whether Rights & October 2009 we had been invited to attend by Democracy had not participated in one way or the other at in particular) the civil society unit of the Office the conference. of the High Commissioner for • Both have interviewed, each in turn, the director of the Human Rights. Geneva Office of Rights & Democracy, Cynthia Gervais, on the subject. (see incident dated October 2009). • They have refused all offers to meet with the Assistant Program Director, France-Isabelle Langlois, to whom Cynthia Gervais reports. • In his memorandum announcing the postponement of the October board meeting, Mr. Braun continued to believe that Rights & Democracy participated in Durban II, that the intern at the Geneva Office had played an active role in it and that the decision to commission an external evaluation of the Geneva Office at great expense (in his words) was 30 March, 2010 4
  5. 5. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) made without consulting with him. May 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard The adoption of family law by • Mr. Braun was outraged that we had embarrassed the Razmik Panossian the Shia Family Law in Minister Cannon in an article in Embassy magazine which Charles Vallerand Afghanistan has raised suggested that the government knew of the Bill. Mr. Braun Michael Wodzicki international outcry and brought a insisted that a letter of apology be sent to the Minister. lot of media visibility to Rights and Democracy. • It was decided not to send a letter, since in fact the journalist had drawn his own conclusions. • The offices of Minister of Foreign Affairs and CIDA, with which we were in constant contact during this period, understood and accepted our position. Our collaboration with our counterparts continued as well as the coordination of messages. • The editorial board of the Embassy Magazine later published a long interview with Mr. Beauregard on our projects in Afghanistan, setting the record straight. • Mr. Beauregard has clarified this matter before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development at its meeting on May 7, 2009. June 2009 Board of directors Rémy Beauregard At the meeting of the Board of • Mr. Braun did not recall this discussion and attempted to Marie-France Cloutier Directors in March 2009, the first remove reference made to it in the minutes of the meeting. chaired by Mr. Braun, the director Guido Riveros Franck • A consultant is selected following a recommendation by staff of the Treasury Board and in coordination with the recommends training on rules of Office of the Privy Council and DFAIT. Mr. Braun governance. considers the cost of this consultant excessive. Mr. Gauthier did not participate in training. • Mr. Braun refused repeatedly to meet with officials of the Privy Council Office, which sought to explain to him the duties and obligations of a Chairman of the Board. 30 March, 2010 5
  6. 6. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) August 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Mr. Braun expected to approve • The established practice since the inception of the Center Charles Vallerand the Annual Report 2008-09 was that the board’s chair would approve his introductory remarks only. • The report on the organization activities is prepared in close collaboration with the program officers who have intimate knowledge of their achievements. • Mr. Braun took office at the end of the fiscal year 2008-09 and could not have been able to comment on the annual report for the period ending March 31st 2009. • Mr. Beauregard agreed, in an email dated September 10, 2009, to submit to Mr. Braun drafts of the next annual report in advance. September Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Preparing for an interview with • Mr. Braun is consulted by telephone on our set of 2009 Marie-France Cloutier journalist Graeme Hamilton of the anticipated questions and answers. He considers them to be Charles Vallerand National Post for a new article on inaccurate. He said there are serious problems at Rights & Phase 1 of the Special Review Democracy. We cannot hide them from reporters. "Press conducted by DFAIT’s Office of gets upset when they are in denial." If we do not talk, he the Inspector General following will do and make public the problems within the board. He allegations of mismanagement. also mentioned that there was "an alternate view about human rights". • It was decided to explain as planned to the reporter that his first articles made references to past events, and that administrative controls had since been implemented and the programming of the Centre was successful. 30 March, 2010 6
  7. 7. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) September Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Identify human rights experts who • Telephone consultation with Mr. Braun to identify experts: 2009 Razmik Panossian will bring new perspectives to the Charles Taylor (McGill), Andrew Arato (New School in Nicholas Galletti Board of Directors, following a NYC), Gerald Steinberg (Bar Ilan University). suggestion by Marco Navarro- Genie at the June Board meeting. • Gerald Steinberg, head of Israel’s NGO Monitor, is not approached contrary to what had been discussed. Other board members are strongly against the idea to invite him. • Decision made by Razmik Panossian, in consultation with the management committee that, given the travel costs to bring Mr. Steinberg to Canada and the short time before the Board meeting in October, it would be better to invite him at the next meeting which would also allow to better plan his visit. • Mr. Taylor and Mr. Arato are not available. We then turn to Frank Chalk (Concordia) who enthusiastically agrees to talk about his latest book on the "Will to Protect", widely covered in the media at the time. • Mr. Braun was outraged that we had not approached or asked Mr. Steinberg. October 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Mr. Braun announces • The board’s international members are insulted that the Jacques Gauthier Marie-France Cloutier postponement of the 22-23 announcement is made while they are en route to the airport Brad Farquhar October board meeting 48 hours Marco Navarro- before it is to take place • Cancellation fee of $ 15 000 Génie • Cancellation decided by a minority group of 5 members Elliott Tepper (out of 11) without consultation with the others. • Cited reasons to cancel are as valid reasons to hold the meeting without any delay. • Since the issue of the performance appraisal of the President had not been resolved, there was a risk that the October board meeting would face the same outcome as the previous June meeting. • Minority members can now hope that the two vacancies on the board will be filled to their advantage. 30 March, 2010 7
  8. 8. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) October 2009 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard The letter announcing the • Mr. Beauregard and the staff have devoted considerable Jacques Gauthier Marie-France Cloutier postponement of the Board energy to preparing this plan, which had been adopted in Elliott Tepper meeting of October invokes the the form of a white paper by the board at its June 2009 Brad Farquhar Government's intention to create a meeting. Marco Navarro- new institution to promote Génie democracy in the world. The • The adoption of the final version of five-year plan at the meeting of October 2009 would have allowed for it to be adoption of the new Five-Year presented before the Standing Committee on Foreign Plan 2010 – 2015 is jeopardized. Affairs in October 2009, in support of our request for a consolidated funding. • The preliminary agenda for the Board meeting of January 2010, prepared by Mr. Braun, did not include any discussion on the five-year plan, only a few months away from the new fiscal year. • The item was added to the agenda at the request of Payam Akhavan, but was never discussed following the death of President Beauregard. October 2009 Aurel Braun et Pierre Robert, Mr. Robert had planned to • Cancellation of the Board of Directors meeting to be held in Jacques Gauthier international consultant interview Mr. Braun and Mr. October in Montreal has not allowed Mr. Robert to meet Gauthier as part of his mandate to them. He had travelled from Berlin to Montreal for the evaluate the Geneva office occasion. project. Mr. Robert was selected after an international call for • Mr. Braun and Mr. Gauthier finally did a phone interview with him, but did not answer his questions. They instead tender. The external evaluation asked about the Durban II Conference, on the relationship had been approved as part of the between Rights & Democracy and the Office of the High initial project submitted to Rights Commissioner for Human Rights, with the Council on & Democracy board of directors Human Rights, or with Ms. Arbor or Ms. Pillay. in 2006. • In his report, Mr Robert noted the governance issues that he had observed at Rights & Democracy. 30 March, 2010 8
  9. 9. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) October 2009 Aurel Braun et Cynthia Gervais, Telephone conversation over an • On a few occasions, Mr. Gauthier and other board members Jacques Gauthier Director of the Geneva hour with Ms. Gervais, on her tried to visit Ms. Gervais at our Geneva office. For various office (non-unionized motivations, on the origins and reasons (illness, travels) such a meeting never took place. employee, but not part coordinates of the intern in the of the management Geneva office. • Mr. Beauregard was very uncomfortable with the idea that board members would deal directly with employees. team) Normally, it is up to the President to respond to their inquiries, to ensure that answers provided are accurate and complete. • Mr. Braun and Mr. Gauthier did manage, through persistence, to question Cynthia Gervais each in turn. They have both asked the same questions on the Durban II Conference, the presence (repeatedly denied) of the office’s intern at the Conference, on the relationships between Rights & Democracy and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and with the Council of Human Rights. • There were also questions on the choice of the external consultant Mr. Robert, the decision to conduct an external evaluation, the role of the Geneva office’s own board of directors - all of which seemed to show a misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities. • They also raised personal issues (history, contact information, skills, future projects, cause of sick leave), which are clearly a violation of the rights of persons concerned. 30 March, 2010 9
  10. 10. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) 29 October Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Appearance before the SCFAID • Mr. Braun asked that we address the existing issues within 2009 Razmik Panossian on Rights & Democracy five-year Rights and Democracy, especially between the Board and Nicholas Galletti review, and in order to get support the President. Charles Vallerand for a consolidated funding. Marie-France Cloutier • It was decided to that this was not the appropriate occasion since the purpose of our appearance is to discuss the five- year review, which is positive, and a consolidated funding • On the eve of our appearance, Mr. Braun declined Mr. Beauregard’s invitation to appear with him Jean Guilbeault and Payam Akhavan joined the President, Razmik and Marie-France for the presentation. • Elliott Tepper and Brad Farquhar, who did not announce their presence, showed up at the meeting. 30 October All Rémy Beauregard A majority of members of the • The Executive Committee is convened to approve the 2009 Marie-France Cloutier Board agree to convene a meeting renewal of two international members whose term expires of the Executive Committee, after (Sima Samar and Guido Riveros Franck) and to adopt three obtaining a legal opinion prepared projects. by the Mercier Leduc law firm confirming the legality of their • This meeting triggered a fiery email exchange between the two opposing factions on the Board. decision. • At its 7-8 January, 2010, the Board challenges the validity of decisions made by the Executive Committee and reviews them one by one. • The mandate of the Mercier Leduc law firm is terminated, considering that there could be a perceived conflict of interest and that the legal opinion was flawed. • The mandate of Sima Samar is extended but not that of Guido Riveros Franck. Sima Samar and Payam Akhavan then resign. • The three-year project “Sexual Violence in the Demoractic Republic of the Congo” is approved for the current fiscal year, and will again be discussed at the next meeting once new board members have had a chance to read the proposal. 30 March, 2010 10
  11. 11. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) November Elliott Tepper Nicholas Galletti, Mr. Tepper visits Nicholas • Mr. Tepper has hinted that there could be consequences if 2009 Senior Policy Advisor shortly after the opening of the Ottawa office was spreading rumours and helped to to the President Rights & Democracy’s Ottawa publicize the problems of the board of directors. offices. . • He also said that there was no possibility of reconciliation between President Beauregard and some members of the Board following the events arising from the June meeting. He said "We have an impasse and the solution will not be pretty." January 2010 Board of directors Rémy Beauregard The board adopts a resolution to • The statutes provide that the Center's President Rémy terminate the contractual Beauregard has full authority to hire consultants. agreement with the law firm Mercier Leduc January 2010 Board of directors Rémy Beauregard Mr. Braun presented at the • Mr. Beauregard was not entitled to an explanation of the meeting of the Board of January reasons that motivated Mr. Braun to move the President's 7-8, a modified agenda and cut report towards the end of the meeting rather than at the short all discussion on the opening as was customary. reasons for the changes proposed by imposing the vote. • Mr. Beauregard did not understand that one could hold an informed Board meeting without members having first heard the report of the President. January 2010 Aurel Braun Rémy Beauregard Mr. Matas came at the meeting of • Mr. Braun did not see fit to limit the speaking time of Mr. David Matas the board with in hand a 15-page Matas, as he had demanded of other members during the document arguing that that Al meeting, given the tight schedule. Haq, B'Tselem and Al Mezan were toxic and vicious groups • Mr. Braun did not refrain from insulting Mr. Beauregard, going as far as saying that his undergraduate students would making use of the technique of have done better than the staff Rights and Democracy in "lawfare" to attack Israel. their research on the three groups. • Mr. Navarro-Génie used a similar insult with Mr. Beauregard in denouncing the decision to hold the executive committee in October 30, 2009. 30 March, 2010 11
  12. 12. BOARD DATE EMPLOYEE(S) INCIDENT ISSUE MEMBER(S) January 2010 Board of directors Despite the briefing notes, the • The partnership agreement terminated on March 31, 2009. many questions asked during board meetings or interviews with Cynthia Gervais and Pierre Robert, the board adopted a resolution entrusting Brad Farquhar and David Matas to revise the partnership between Rights & Democracy and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. January 2010 Brad Farquhar Maxime Longangué, The day after sending the union • It is not common for board members to deal directly with president of the union had sent its own letter in support employees. of the letter signed by all members of the management • The union filed a grievance against the member of the board of directors Brad Farquhar for his communication of committee requesting the 20 January with the union president, Maxime Longangué. postponement of the meeting of the Board of Directors to be held in Montreal on the eve of Mr. Beauregard’s funeral service, Mr. Farquhar left a voice-mail to Maxime and wrote him an email commenting on the action taken by unionized members of the staff and his responsibility as union leader. 30 March, 2010 12