The fate of beleaguered Conservative MP Eve Adams could very well be decided this week as the party considers whether to bar her from seeking a nomination in a Toronto-area riding for alleged improper conduct – a case that’s rattled Canada’s governing party.
Sources say, however, that the Tories, as they probe the accusations, are seriously weighing reprimanding Ms. Adams rather than disqualifying her bid for the Conservative Party nomination in Oakville North-Burlington.
The Adams controversy is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the governing party’s National Council teleconference Wednesday evening, which brings together as many as 30 officials. Council secretary Michael Lauer has been investigating accusations from people supporting Ms. Adams’s rival who allege the Mississauga MP has been granted unfair advantages in the race, has interfered with the district’s election planning, and has verbally abused party members.
This power struggle has already cost the Conservative Party its executive director, Dimitri Soudas, who is also Ms. Adams’s fiancé. He resigned his post in late March after extensive evidence arose showing he’d violated a contractual pledge against intervening in the nomination on her behalf.
Mr. Lauer’s report is expected to be wrapped up Wednesday. It’s possible the National Council could drag out deliberations, but sources say Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as party leader, is anxious to put the matter behind the Tories.
While Ms. Adams faces possible disqualification from running in Oakville, a number of voices within senior Conservative ranks are advocating sticking to a reprimand and letting party members in the riding decide whether they want her to represent them in the expected 2015 election. The MP, who currently represents a riding in nearby Mississauga, faces a steep battle for the Oakville nomination. Supporters of her rival, Natalia Lishchyna, won many of the seats in elections for the riding association board last fall.
Sources say for the National Council, the most serious allegation is that Ms. Adams verbally abused Tory officials at a board meeting to which she was not invited. A Conservative source said Mr. Harper was especially unhappy about this accusation.
Ms. Adams, for her part, told The Globe and Mail last week the accusations against her contained a “slew of inaccuracies” and has filed a rebuttal of these accusations with the party.
One objection raised by Ms. Adams’s detractors, that she was unfairly granted access to the Conservative database of party membership information for the Oakville riding, appears to be incorrect. Two sources said all sitting Tory MPs have been granted access to this database for the nomination they seek – even if the riding is entirely different from the one they currently represent.
John Mykytyshyn, an Oakville North-Burlington board member playing a role in the campaign of Ms. Adams’s opponent, Ms. Lishchyna, said the Conservative Party’s reputation for sticking to the rules is at stake in this review of the allegations.
“Prime Minister Harper in large part got elected, originally to government, by defeating the Liberals on the issues of integrity in government. And I think integrity, living up to the rules and the spirit of the rules, and respecting democracy are the centre points to the concerns involved in the way Eve and Dimitri have been running their campaign,” Mr. Mykytyshyn said Monday.
Conservatives in the riding have been asked to submit information about the allegations, sources say, as Mr. Lauer works to complete his review. One Conservative source said Mr. Lauer “wasn’t tied into any timelines or drop-dead dates.”
Ms. Adams, Mr. Soudas and Ms. Lishchyna didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.