NDP MP under fire for earning fees from CBC

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

It appears that musician turned NDP MP Andrew Cash is earning some extra cash on the side from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

According to the Sun News Network's David Akin, Cash provided music for CBC's hit show, the Dragon's Den. For his work, Cash earned $2,426.44 per episode or over $40,000 in 2011.

[ Related: Justin Trudeau under fire for earning speaking fees while serving as a Member of Parliament ]

While there's nothing illegal with an MP earning extra money, Sun News suggests that Cash is in a conflict of interest.

On Sept. 26, 2011, Cash provided a commitment in writing to the House of Commons ethics commissioner and to the clerk of the House of Commons that he "shall not participate in debate or voting at the Standing Committee of Canadian Heritage on matters to do with the CBC in which I have a private interest."

And yet, within a month of making that commitment - and on several occasions since - Cash has not only debated CBC matters, he participated in votes on CBC's funding.

Certainly Sun News' has had a long standing anti-CBC bias, but this topic is pretty significant.

Why is an MP who earns money from the CBC, sitting on the Heritage Committee advocating for taxpayer dollars going to the CBC?

Liberal insider, Sun News commentator and lawyer Warren Kinsella says Cash should resign his seat.

"On the face of it, he has violated sections 8, 11, 13, 14, 16 of the [Conflict of Interest] Code and possibly more. The [Conflict of Interest] Act applies, as well," Kinsella wrote on his website.

"He must be investigated by the Integrity Commissioner and he must be sanctioned."

[ More Political Points: CBC’s Rick Mercer rants about Senator Mike Duffy ]

Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson, however, doesn't necessarily agree with Kinsella's assessment.

In an email exchange with CBC News, her office had this to say:

While the Commissioner looks into any matter where a concern is brought to our attention in relation to any obligation under the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, she has not launched a preliminary review as she has no reason to believe that the Code has been contravened.

For his part, Cash has never shied away from publicly advocating for the CBC.

Here is an excerpt from a 2012 Heritage Committee meeting that Cash posted on his own YouTube page:

(Photo courtesy of Parliament of Canada)

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