She wins races, whether it’s claiming the crown as a Hungarian pageant queen in Ontario, a seat at Mississauga City Council by age 29, or her federal Mississauga-Brampton South riding in 2011. Then, the Sudbury-born politician was deemed a rising Conservative star, having beat out Liberal MP Navdeep Bains to help deliver Mr. Harper his coveted majority government. She was immediately made a parliamentary secretary, but has been passed over since. The 2013 cabinet shuffle, which was aimed at boosting the role of women and younger MPs in cabinet, saw four of eight female parliamentary secretaries promoted. Ms. Adams was not among them.
As an only child raised by a single mother named Georgia and his grandmother, Mr. Soudas was “restless, intense, gregarious … a lightning rod,” according to his longtime friend, Senator Leo Housakos, a fellow Greek Montrealer who is godfather to Mr. Soudas’ four-year-old son. The two met some 25 years ago, back when a young Dimitri played ball hockey in the lane behind the home of Mr. Housakos’ then-love interest and now-wife. Mr. Soudas, 34, has since gone on to earn a black belt second dan in judo.
Mr. Housakos and Mr. Soudas worked together politically, first at the Hellenic Congress of Quebec and later in Montreal municipal politics. Mr. Housakos later suggested Mr. Soudas for a job with Mr. Harper, who was at the time in opposition and hungry for a bilingual communications staffer. Mr. Soudas and Mr. Housakos, who was named to the Senate by Mr. Harper in 2008, were embroiled in 2011 in a controversy over the appointment of a new president at the Montreal Port Authority. The Prime Minister fended off calls for Mr. Soudas’ resignation.
Mr. Housakos saw Mr. Soudas fall in love, marry, divorce and fall in love again. He describes his friend as intensely loyal, competent and cerebral. “In [the Oakville North-Burlington incident], his loyalty probably overtook and overcame his capacity to do what needed to be done,” Mr. Housakos said. “He allowed his loyalty to overwhelm the cerebral part of himself.”
Mr. Soudas told The Globe on Thursday, “I’m sorry to the Prime Minister for all the grief that this has caused,” adding, “but ultimately in life you have to stand by the person that you care for and love in a difficult moment.”
Mr. Soudas and Ms. Adams, both dyed-in-the-wool Conservatives who chose and proudly wore their political stripes at a young age, met professionally in May of 2011, shortly before Mr. Soudas announced he would be leaving as director of communications. He said then that he was leaving to spend more time with his wife and family, including a new baby, tweeting, “Priority 1 my wife and 3 kids.” So when he parted ways with his spouse and news emerged that November that he was dating Ms. Adams, who had separated from her husband, there were those within the party who were put off and confused.
“That didn’t sit well with many people,” said one former political staffer who worked with Mr. Soudas on the Hill.
There were also those who said que sera, sera. “Life happens, right?” Mr. Butt said. “They found each other, and that’s great. I wish them the best.”
Ms. Adams, mother to an eight-year-old son, separated from Peter Adams in the summer of 2011, Mr. Adams said, noting they met through their Conservative activism. The two, who still co-own an Ottawa home, have not yet divorced and “still have some details to work out,” Mr. Adams said, citing the MP’s “dynamic schedule” for the delay in finalizing the split and saying, “we’ll do it when we do it.” Mr. Soudas divorced his wife several months ago.
“If you were to ask Eve or I, we’re divorced,” Mr. Adams said. “Eve and I are both moving on with our lives.… I wish Eve and Dimitri the best. There’s no animosity.”
Mr. Adams was Ms. Adams’ campaign manager for the 2003, 2006 and 2010 Mississauga council elections and also for the 2011 election. He and her older brother were charged with possession of stolen property after two rival candidates’ signs went missing, but those charges were dropped after he made a donation to charity. He denies any signs were stolen, and Ms. Adams said at the time, “I’m not interested in dirty politics.”