CBC is making headlines once again for the termination of yet
another of its high-profile personalities. On June 10, 2015,
CBC News fired Evan Solomon, host of the television program Power
and Politics and the radio show The House, for allegedly violating
CBC's code of ethics. This comes on the heels of CBC's
termination of Jian Ghomeshi last October. Mr. Solomon's
termination stems from a story published in The Toronto Star
outlining his dealings with art collector Bruce Bailey in which it
is alleged he used his position at the CBC and his journalistic
contacts to broker art deals between the rich and famous and
collect secret lucrative commissions.
In defending its decision to terminate Mr. Solomon, the CBC
referred to its code of ethics which states that employees
"must not use their positions to further their
personal interests", and said that Mr.
Solomon's activities were inconsistent with its conflict of
interest and ethics policies or its journalistic standards and
Generally, if proven, conflict of interest will constitute cause
for discharge. Conflict of interest typically arises in four
involvement with competitors;
involvement with companies dealing with the employer;
taking a benefit; and
Notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Solomon's behavior may be
a breach of CBC's code of ethics, employees owe an obligation
to be faithful and honest in their dealings with their employer and
owe a duty not to use special information obtained in the course of
their employment for their own purposes and contrary to the
interest of their employer.
There's no question that Mr. Solomon, both as a TV and radio
host at CBC, came into contact with some of the most high-profile
people on the planet. It is alleged Mr. Solomon brokered art deals
with these same contacts, such as Jim Balsillie, co-founder of
Research in Motion (now BlackBerry) and Mark Carney, former
governor of the Bank of Canada and the current governor of the Bank
of England. Furthermore, the Toronto Star's investigation found
Mr. Solomon collected secret commissions in excess of $300,000 in
These allegations suggest Mr. Solomon not only used his position
and his connections for his own self-interest but he also enjoyed a
significant financial benefit from his dealings. His activities
could also fall under the conflict of interest rubric as outside
work. Lastly, Mr. Solomon's outside activity could be perceived
as prejudicial to his ability (and his employer's) to carry out
the job functions. Particularly given the potential bias, real or
perceived, created by his outside dealings with guests of his
shows, raising questions as to the transparency of his
In his defence, Mr. Solomon maintains that he has done nothing
wrong and that he disclosed his business involvement in art to his
employer. However, it is unlikely Mr. Solomon disclosed that he was
using contacts made in the course of his employment and in so doing
receiving significant financial kickbacks. As such, his behavior
likely violated CBC's code of ethics as well as his general
obligation and duties to his employer.
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