Eight weeks after Evan Solomon's sudden ouster from the CBC, he is back in the political mix.
The former host of Power & Politics and The House, dismissed by the public broadcaster in June over outside business dealings that breached CBC policies, is returning to cover the federal election campaign with a new radio show on SiriusXM Canada and a regular column in Maclean's magazine.
Mr. Solomon has been silent since his high-profile broadcasting career came to a sudden halt after the Toronto Star revealed that he had been running a side business brokering high-end art sales between a collector and prominent Canadian clients, some of whom he had interviewed or covered on his program.
An internal CBC review concluded that he had not been truthful about his role in the business, and had violated the corporation's ethics policies governing conflicts of interest. He was fired, and his reputation suffered as the news came on the heels of separate controversies over outside work taken on by broadcasters Amanda Lang and Leslie Roberts, which sparked a national conversation about journalistic ethics.
On June 9, Mr. Solomon issued a statement saying, "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."
Now, he appears to be on a comeback track. His new radio show, Everything Is Political: Campaign 2015, premieres on Thursday at 6 p.m., and will air weekly through August, before switching to a daily format in September.
And Mr. Solomon's first Maclean's piece appeared on Wednesday. He will pen a weekly column as "an election campaign commentator," to run online and in print, and contribute regular video commentaries.
"We talked a fair bit about what had transpired at the CBC," Maclean's editor Mark Stevenson said in an interview, although he declined to give his opinion of it. "I came away from that chat fairly convinced that we wouldn't have any problems going forward."
He noted that Mr. Solomon had apologized, and still appears to have "a lot of access. He knows a lot of people in Ottawa."
The deal with SiriusXM Canada puts Mr. Solomon on air through Nov. 5, and was sealed in recent days after weeks of discussions. The first contact was brokered by a mutual friend of Mr. Solomon's and SiriusXM Canada staff member.
"Evan had taken responsibility for his actions," said John Lewis, senior vice-president of programming and operations at SiriusXM Canada, who also used to work at the CBC. "Once somebody of his calibre, I think, has taken responsibility for it and moved on, [he is] deserving of another opportunity."
Mr. Lewis's first conversation with Mr. Solomon was about the way the host left the CBC, but both men feel that his Rolodex remains intact. As Mr. Solomon contemplated his future in journalism, Mr. Lewis said, "he reached out to the political parties to gauge the willingness to continue to work with him, and received incredible support."
The new hour-long radio program on SiriusXM Canada will feature news, political panels and a mix of partisan and non-partisan guests, much like Power & Politics. For the subscription satellite radio company, which is competing with the rise of a range of free streaming options, Mr. Solomon is as a high-profile name who fills a need for Canadian content.
The CBC, however, was a platform on which political insiders wanted to be seen, and put substantial resources into producing Mr. Solomon's programs. The new show will run with a smaller staff – two producers and one technical operator – and presumably target a smaller audience. SiriusXM Canada has about 2.6 million subscribers to more than 120 channels.
"It remains to be seen whether, in the midst of an election campaign with a lot of other pressures, it will be as easy to find people to go on a satellite radio broadcast," said Christopher Waddell, who holds a research chair in journalism at Carleton University.