CBC cuts ties with Evan Solomon - Macleans.ca
 

CBC cuts ties with Evan Solomon

One of the CBC’s best-known on-air news personalities loses job over report that he helped broker lucrative art deals


 
Evan Solomon is seen in this undated handout photo. (CP)

Evan Solomon is seen in this undated handout photo. (CP)

TORONTO — The CBC has abruptly “ended its relationship” with high-profile news host Evan Solomon, saying it determined he had acted in ways that were “inconsistent” with its code of ethics.

The departure of Solomon, one of CBC’s best-known news personalities, was announced Tuesday night barely an hour after the Toronto Star alleged he had “secretly been brokering lucrative art deals” with people he has dealt with through his job.

In a statement issued about two and a half hours later through his lawyer, Solomon said he never intentionally used his position at CBC to promote a private business partnership he was involved in.

Solomon said he formed the partnership with a friend in 2013 to broker Canadian art. He said the business involved only two clients and noted that he disclosed the business to CBC earlier this year.

“I did not view the art business as a conflict with my political journalism at the CBC and never intentionally used my position at the CBC to promote the business,” he said. “This month, following a difficult dispute with my partner, I took steps to end our business relationship.”

Solomon said he was “deeply sorry” for any damage his activities had done to the trust CBC, its viewers and its listeners put in him.

“I have the utmost respect for the CBC and what it stands for,” he said.

Solomon, who is based in Ottawa, was the host of Power and Politics show on CBC television and host of “The House” on CBC radio.

CBC News editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire sent a note to staff on Tuesday night announcing that the broadcaster was cutting ties with the 47-year-old journalist.

“I regret to inform you that CBC News has ended its relationship with Evan Solomon host of Power and Politics and The House,” she said in an email. “We will be making announcements about the interim hosting of these programs in the next few days.”

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster determined some of Solomon’s activities were “inconsistent” with the organization’s conflict of interest and ethics policy, as well as its journalistic standards and practices.

Sources at the CBC said Solomon’s departure was discussed at an emotional meeting of the Power and Politics team after its Tuesday’s show, which was airing when the Star story was published.

The issue over Solomon’s activities comes after several CBC on-air personalities also found themselves in the news over their alleged conduct.

Former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi is facing several sexual assault charges and was fired after CBC executives saw what they described as graphic evidence that he had physically injured a woman. Ghomeshi has admitted to engaging in rough sex but said it was consensual. His lawyer has said he will plead not guilty to the charges.

CBC business reporter Amanda Lang recently came under fire for an alleged conflict of interest in her reporting — although a review by the broadcaster found she abided by journalistic standards.

Even CBC’s chief correspondent and national anchor, Peter Mansbridge, faced questions last year after reports he made a paid speech to petroleum producers. Mansbridge said he has never publicly promoted or opposed oilsands development and the CBC’s ombudsman said Mansbridge did nothing wrong by accepting fees for the speaking engagement, noting that his speech focused on what it means to be a Canadian.

In its report on Solomon, The Star cited the CBC code of ethics, which states “employees must not use their positions to further their personal interests.”

The newspaper alleged Solomon was taking “secret commission payments” related to art sales between a Toronto-area art collector and people he dealt with as a host at CBC.

In at least one case, the Star reported, Solomon took commissions of over $300,000 and allegedly didn’t tell the buyer he was being paid fees for his involvement in the deal.

The newspaper said Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research In Motion (now known as BlackBerry), and former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney were among the people Solomon connected to an art collector he knew.

Solomon has dealt with both Balsillie and Carney through his hosting duties at CBC.

Solomon, who has won two Gemini awards, is also a guest anchor on CBC News’s flagship nightly newscast, “The National.”

He joined the broadcaster in 1994 and worked in a variety of roles. Before his latest positions, he co-hosted weekly news and current affairs shows “CBC News: Sunday” and “CBC News: Sunday night” where he reported on a range of national and international stories. Prior to that he hosted a show about print culture and ideas, another about technology, as well as a CBC mini-series about writers and thinkers who made a radical difference.

Earlier in his career, Solomon was co-founder of a technology and culture magazine called “Shift,” where he was editor in chief from 1992 to 1999.

Solomon has also published a novel, “Crossing the Distance,” two children’s books, and a non-fiction book on energy.


 
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CBC cuts ties with Evan Solomon

  1. I know Elizabeth May is a Christian and will not be experiencing great joy in Solomons misery, but after he elevated her little speech faux pas to the level of a national political, ethical, and moral crisis, it must feel OK at least.

    • Schadenfreude!

      • Too lazy to look up the spelling.
        Can you imagine Solomon handling this story if it was a prominent political leader?

    • What does being a Christian have to do with anything? It isn’t a positive in my book. I’m willing to bet it’s just a political thing with her. If it turns out she is superstitious, it will lower her esteem in my eyes.

  2. I could tolerate the guy way back in the day when he did a weekend artsy-fartsy program.
    But I think he got the PnP gig by almost getting a passing grade on the Wolf Blitzer Journalisty
    Intelligence Test. Unwatchable. CBC got rid of a lot of its’ quality talent but there are still a few
    around. Hope they can charm Susan Bonner or Mark Kelly into it. But I’m not sure why they
    would want to take it on.

  3. Time to end CBC-TV. Keep the radio.

    Jian Ghomeshi, Amanda Lang, Peter Mansbridge, Evan Solomon, all with severe ethical breaches. What the heck is going on over there?

    Put in a severe salary cap.

    Knowlton Nash, Barbara Frum, and Peter Gzowski must be rolling over in their graves.

    • Move over Mike Duffy.

    • Don’t forget Rex Murphy

    • Ghomeshi was radio.

      I don’t get why Solomon was fired but Amanda Lang wasn’t. What she did was much worse.

  4. I hope Mansbridge is next, that waste of skin. No ethics in the CBC “Journalists” never was. I hope Harper cuts the whole organization loose as his final act before retiring in 2019.

  5. Bring Kathleen Petty back!!!!

  6. I am mad about this!

    Here are the facts as I see them:

    This is playing out exactly as the Helena Guergis witch hunt which resulted in the final realization that she had done nothing wrong whatsoever ! But she had already been tarred and feathered and run out of town. Shame, Shame Shame on the self-righteous hypocrites !

    There is no crime.

    There are many much more important “news” stories which effect all Canadians much more, like the continuing terrorist financing Afghan illicit opium production (90% of the world’s supply); which I personally shared with Donovan and many other Star “reporters”.

    This all boils down to some one getting finder’s fees, and I doubt the customers like Carney mind at all that Solomon got a finder’s fee and I think the customers assumed he did but they are too sophisticated to bring up the matter.

    This is a perfect example of “Let him without sin cast the first stone” in terms of all the sharks that smell Evan’s blood.

    This , again, puts the Toronto Star firmly into the British gossip tabloid category which it became when they brought some guy/editor over from London a few years ago who has that bent.

    This was a chance for our funded CBC to show some balls and tell the Star to “F___ OFF and go find some REAL stories that are important like stories to do with wars that are claiming lives of young Canadians or to do with the screwing up our economy like free trade with slave labour countries.”

    CBC should have recognized that Evan was more important to Canada in his job than this manufactured “story” ever will be.

    This “story” never would have seen the light of day in any European country or even the U.S.A.. This is a sad reflection on the inner workings of our Canadian society that this has happened to this great talent who worked for us.

    Derek

    • I agree with you. There are so many important things to investigate and the Toronto Star is going after irrelevant stories like this.

      • Part of the problem is that he was so unmerciful and judgemental in his treatment of others, and full of himself, a smug, ego maniacal,self righteous crusader against nothing. Example Elizabeth May.
        Go Rosie go!

    • There was no crime. But that is not the question.

      The question is journalistic integrity. He was trading on his connections for private gain. He was allegedly piggy-backing his private brokering of art deals on top of his journalism relationships.

      Manbridge and Lang should be gone too, as they were doing pretty much the same thing.

      What else is going on inside the CBC? There never is just one cockroach.

  7. I am mad about this!

    Here are the facts as I see them:

    This is playing out exactly as the Helena Guergis witch hunt which resulted in the final realization that she had done nothing wrong whatsoever ! But she had already been tarred and feathered and run out of town. Shame, Shame Shame on the self-righteous hypocrites !

    There is no crime.

    There are many much more important “news” stories which effect all Canadians much more, like the continuing terrorist financing Afghan illicit opium production (90% of the world’s supply); which I personally shared with Donovan and many other Star “reporters”.

    This all boils down to some one getting finder’s fees, and I doubt the customers like Carney mind at all that Solomon got a finder’s fee and I think the customers assumed he did but they are too sophisticated to bring up the matter.

    This is a perfect example of “Let him without sin cast the first stone” in terms of all the sharks that smell Evan’s blood.

    This , again, puts the Toronto Star firmly into the British gossip tabloid category which it became when they brought some guy/editor over from London a few years ago who has that bent.

    This was a chance for our funded CBC to show some guts and tell the Star to “F___ OFF and go find some REAL stories that are important like stories to do with wars that are claiming lives of young Canadians or to do with the screwing up our economy like free trade with slave labour countries.”

    CBC should have recognized that Evan was more important to Canada in his job than this manufactured “story” ever will be.

    This “story” never would have seen the light of day in any European country or even the U.S.A.. This is a sad reflection on the inner workings of our Canadian society that this has happened to this great talent who worked for us.

    Derek