The CBC is refusing to comment on whether it broke its own ethics code after failing to disclose that a pundit was a paid Liberal contractor during a July 29 Power and Politics segment on the WE Charity scandal.
Amanda Alvaro appeared as a pundit on the program, where she argued that the Liberal government’s relationship with the organization did not constitute a scandal, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“There isn’t a criminal investigation. There’s a lot that’s been put out there but none of it has been justified. There hasn’t been a lot of evidence behind it. And I think it’s very concerning, quite frankly, that we continue to put the word scandal beside We,” Alvaro said on the program.
On April 8th, Alvaro was paid $16,950 for a contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Her company was also later granted a $24,997 contract by the federal government to coach the Liberal Minister of Women Maryam Monsef on media engagement.
Alvaro has also advertised on her personal Twitter page that she is a proud Liberal.
When contacted on whether any conflicts of interest were screened before the program was aired, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson told Blacklock’s Reporter that all guests are screened before appearing on air.
“We endeavour to do that with all our guests,” said Thompson.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau have been accused of cronyism after awarding WE the administration of a $900 million federal contract despite financial and personal ties with the group.
According to the public broadcaster’s Journalistic Standards and Practices, Alvaro’s financial ties should have been made clear to the audience during the segment, but they never were.
“It is important to mention any association, affiliation or specific interest a guest or commentator may have so the public can fully understand that person’s perspective,” writes the CBC’s practices code.
Further, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code of Ethics also requires full disclosure of any interests held by pundits.
“It is recognized the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster,” says the code.
“This principle shall apply to all radio and television programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers.”