Rosemary Barton steps in to host CBC Radio show The House after Evan Solomon firing

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      This morning, I turned on CBC Radio to find out who would be in the announcer's booth for one of my favourite programs on the network.

      CBC parliamentary reporter Rosemary Barton ended up hosting today's show, which came a few days after the regular host, Evan Solomon, had been fired.

      She's been at the helm of Power & Politics, which Solomon was also hosting until he was dumped on June 9. So it's no surprise that she would move into his radio spot as well.

      Prior to her first interview with Auditor General Michael Ferguson, Barton delivered a concise message to listeners, noting that Solomon hosted the program for four years and "contributed greatly to its success".

      She then added that there's also a team of people behind the host, who is "the voice of the show".

      "But that voice is also shaped by the producers researching topics and pushing to ask tough questions," Barton stated. "And there's a dedicated parliamentary bureau here that also contributes to the show in countless ways."

      It's true that researchers and producers play an instrumental role in the success or failure of CBC Radio programs. But without a clever and quick-thinking interviewer, even shows with the best staff can still bore an audience.

      The House was launched on CBC Radio in 1977 and Solomon was its eighth regular host.

      Solomon had sufficient intellect and personality to make The House a compelling show. This was the case even when he was interviewing Conservative parliamentary secretaries who responded to questions with scripted answers.

      (Not being privy to what goes on in CBC's Ottawa bureau, I have no idea whether The House or Power & Politics were infected with "host culture", which was referred to so disparagingly in a CBC workplace investigation.)

      Evan Solomon sought a $1-million finder's fee, according to the Toronto Star.

      Meanwhile, more damaging revelations about Solomon have surfaced in the Toronto Star. This comes after the paper reported that he had received commissions for the sale of art to Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Research in Motion cofounder Jim Balsillie.

      According to reporter Kevin Donovan's June 11 story, Solomon and art collector Bruce Bailey feuded over the size of Solomon's commission over the sale of a painting by Scottish artist Peter Doig.

      Solomon reportedly demanded $1 million whereas Bailey had claimed in an email that he had agreed to a $200,000 finder's fee. They later settled their dispute.

      In a statement released earlier this week, Solomon maintained that he did not see his art business as being in conflict with his political journalism. The former broadcaster also claimed that he "never intentionally used my position at the CBC to promote the business".

      The Toronto Star revealed that Solomon sought an interview with Balsillie. When they met, the paper claimed that Solomon was accompanied by Bailey.

      An intriguing sidelight to this story is that one of the art buyers, Carney, is the former governor of the Bank of Canada. In this role, he had appeared on Power & Politics to be interviewed by Solomon.

      In 2012, rumours were rife that Carney might seek the leadership of the federal Liberals. According to a Globe and Mail report, some Liberal organizers tried to recruit him as "the perfect alternative to Justin Trudeau".

      Shortly before becoming governor of the Bank of England in 2013, Carney insisted that he never had political ambitions in Canada. He maintained this even though he had reportedly spent time in the summer of 2012 at the home of Liberal MP Scott Brison.

      According to the June 11 Toronto Star story, Carney didn't close the sale of a $22,500 painting with Bailey until December 2014, which was long after he had become governor of the Bank of England.

      But those earlier televised images of Carney appearing on Solomon's program have been played repeatedly on TV newcasts, reinforcing an impression that the former CBC host was doing a business deal with somone he was covering as a journalist.



      Virginia Crabill

      Jun 13, 2015 at 2:24pm

      CBC's treatment of Evan Solomon is disgraceful ! If they had a problem with his work on the side, they should have said so, when he first told them about it. And what about the egregious shilling for the oil business that Rex "Thesaurus " Murphy and Peter Mansbridge undertook ? How has Amanda Lange escaped unscathed ?A little consistency, CBC !

      James Blatchford

      Jun 13, 2015 at 6:09pm

      Good choice...very credible.

      Evan's dalliances in the art world a disappointment. The emails don't flatter the man.


      Jun 14, 2015 at 4:27pm

      As if I'm going to believe his partner is impartial?

      Doug Fir

      Jun 14, 2015 at 10:05pm

      Not exactly reassuring for CBC guests to know they could have a "finders fee" hanging over their heads. I very much wanted to give Evan the benefit of the doubt, but it does in fact look like he wore out his welcome at a job most journalists can only dream of.


      Jul 16, 2015 at 3:31pm

      Ms. Barton should know some thing about the subject she discussing --her interview on July 16th with Premier Wall showed clearly she hasn't much knowledge regarding the Energy Industry..she asked stupid question favouring Premier Notley in a back door way!Typical CBC

      JG Bourque

      Aug 19, 2015 at 2:13pm

      Please CBC replace the host Rosemary Barton..... she does not belong there. .... Terrible host

      martha griffith

      Aug 29, 2015 at 7:21pm

      Do miss Evan Solomon ---can't U find another male--host 2 take his place? To listen 2 Rosemary--is not easy-- she lets the guest" intertalk" & laughs into it all--can't hear everything that's being said. Please find someone 2 run the show --cleanly & with better knowledge of all . At least Macleans has him writing a column now---U sure lost a good thing when U fired him---I'm sure he;'ll find another TV show soon!!!!

      tom nguyen

      Sep 3, 2015 at 2:29pm

      Is it just me or is she a very biased host? Beyond that it feels like she is pretending to understand certain issues and asks a lot of stupid questions. Get her to host a show on entertainments or the weather, let a good host deal with power and politics.