Evan Solomon fired by CBC News in wake of alleged secret art deals
'I did not view the art business as a conflict with my political journalism at the CBC,' Solomon says
CBC News has "ended its relationship" with Power & Politics host Evan Solomon, CBC editor in chief Jennifer McGuire said in a note to staff.
The note came after the Toronto Star published a report claiming that Solomon had brokered art deals involving people whom he also dealt with as a journalist.
Solomon, who came to CBC as a host in 1994, also hosted the radio show The House, which looks at political issues of the week.
"We will be making announcements about the interim hosting of these programs in the next few days," the note said.
Carmel Smyth, national president of the Canadian Media Guild, could not offer specifics, but said, "We are working with Mr. Solomon as he considers his options." Smyth said CBC's collective agreement provides people the "right to work outside of the CBC and to be paid for it, and many people do."
'Deeply sorry,' Solomon says
"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.
"I am deeply sorry for the damage that my activities have done to the trust that the CBC and its viewers and listeners have put in me. I have the utmost respect for the CBC and what it stands for."
The report from journalist Kevin Donovan alleges that Solomon brokered the sale of paintings belonging to art collector Bruce Bailey to BlackBerry founder Jim Balsillie and former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.
Solomon, in his statement, said the art business involved only two clients.
The Star refers to email exchanges reportedly between Solomon and Bailey about art sales and alleges that Solomon received secret commissions on the sales.
CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson told reporter Ioanna Roumeliotis that based on information that came to the broadcaster's attention on Monday, CBC determined that some of Solomon's activities were inconsistent with the organization's conflict of interest and ethics policy, as well as journalistic standards and practices.
The decision to end Solomon's employment was based on the findings of an internal review conducted over the last two days, he said.
Thompson said that Solomon had told senior management in April that he and his wife had become involved in a business partnership with Bailey, and that Solomon said at the time that he wasn't active in the partnership. Thompson said CBC management at that time told Solomon the partnership could not interfere with his work as a journalist or cross any ethical or conflict of interest lines.
The CBC code of conduct says employees "must not use their positions to further their personal interests" and CBC News recently tightened rules around paid speaking engagements by on-air employees after questions about paid engagements by CBC journalists.
A spokesperson for the Bank of England issued a statement early Wednesday on behalf of Carney saying the governor "has no enduring professional relationship with" Solomon and that he "never comments on matters relating to his personal life."