Series 14 - Other advocacy and activism

Identity area

Reference code

UTA 1287-14


Other advocacy and activism


  • 1965-1990 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

0.20 m of textual records

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Scope and content

Series consists of records relating to a wide range of advocacy and activism undertaken by Dr. Franklin throughout her life, including work against the amalgamation of Toronto, and testimony at the Toronto Board of Education public education hearings. Subseries also includes some background material and correspondence on aboriginal knowledge and rights. 3 files contain public literature distributed by Canada’s right wing and hate groups, some direct attacks on the kinds of groups with which Dr. Franklin worked.

Several files pertain to Aleksandra Vinogradov’s 1988 compliant of discrimination against the University of Calgary, in regards to her treatment as a candidate for an appointment in its Department of Civil Engineering. Records in these files include letters of support, news clippings, newsletters from The Aleksandra Vinogradov Defence Committee, and a report by the CAUT (Canadian Association of University Teachers’) Committee of Inquiry into the matter. Files also contain various legal documents, including judgments and appeals.

Another file relates to the court case of Donna Smythe, a well-known Canadian writer and professor English at Acadia University, who was charged with libel by Professor Leo Yaffe, professor of chemistry at McGill University, because of an op/ed signed editorial that Dr. Smythe wrote. According to Dr. Franklin, Smythe had commented on a talk given by Dr. Yaffe on “The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear”. The uranium mining industry in Nova Scotia used this case to try to destroy the citizen’s group in which Dr. Smythe and Dr. Gillian Thomas were very active. The group, many of them farmers, was struggling to have uranium mining prohibited in Nova Scotia because of the potential damage to water and soil. In spite of Dr. Franklin’s efforts to mediate between Dr. Yaffe and Smythe, the case came to trial before jury in Halifax. Yaffee claimed that Dr. Smythe’s article questioned his professional judgment. Dr. Franklin appeared as a witness on behalf of Dr. Smythe. Dr. Franklin relied on documents on academic promotion and tenure used in Canadian universities and could show that newspaper articles, be they positive or negative, were not considered evidence on which to base professional qualifications. The jury ruled that Dr. Yaffe’s reputation had not been damaged and that there were no grounds for libel. In spite of this positive verdict, the citizen’s group was destroyed for all practical purposes and during the two years prior to the trial had not been able to mount any political action. CBC’s Ideas covered some of the trial together with a libel suit against the CBC’s Max Allen regarding his program on lead pollution (Give Us This Day Our Daily Lead).

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File B2015-0005/061(17) is restricted for 30 years (until 2028). All other records are open.

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