Liberal MP Eve Adams is working to line up support behind her bid to win the nomination in the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, despite the opposition of some long-time party members in Toronto.
Ms. Adams confirmed on Wednesday she wants to run against Finance Minister Joe Oliver in the next election. In a television interview, the former Conservative MP promised to work day and night to win local support for her attempt to "paint Eglinton-Lawrence red again."
Ms. Adams said she is house-hunting in the riding and insisted she has already won over a number of Liberals, including many of her new caucus colleagues.
Still, there are many Liberal supporters, including local MPP Mike Colle, who feel Ms. Adams does not deserve the nomination in the riding that is within the party's grasp in the next election.
In a radio interview, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau conceded that Ms. Adams's baggage in the Conservative Party gave him pause when she approached him about switching parties. Still, he praised her willingness to go up against a Conservative heavyweight.
"One of the things that we agreed is that she's going to have to convince an awful lot of Liberals and local folks that she is the best voice for them … and then she's going to take on someone who is a pillar of the Conservative Party to demonstrate her strength and her value as a politician," Mr. Trudeau told Winnipeg's CJOB.
Ms. Adams, who won as a Conservative in 2011 in Mississauga Brampton-South, crossed the floor to the Liberal Party on Monday.
"I can tell you that I have received a great deal of local support, but it is going to come down to meeting with people, winning them over and assuring them that in fact I am here to work awfully hard and to advocate for them," Ms. Adams said in an interview with CP24 on Wednesday.
Ms. Adams said her fiancé, former senior Conservative staffer Dimitri Soudas, is "very supportive" and will campaign with her in the riding. Still, she said the move to the Liberals was "not a package deal."
"He has his own career," Ms. Adams said.
The Conservative Party told Ms. Adams in January that she would not be allowed to run in any riding under the party's colours, due to allegations of misconduct in a nomination race last year. Ms. Adams said she has been the victim of a Conservative "smear campaign" since she announced her move to the Liberals.
"They're embarrassed, they're hurt," she said, adding her departure was especially stinging in the context of the recent retirement of John Baird as foreign affairs minister.
Ms. Adams said her campaign will be managed by Tom Allison, who has worked with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
But Mr. Colle, who has represented Eglinton-Lawrence at Queen's Park for nearly 20 years, had nothing but harsh words for Ms. Adams's bid to run in the federal riding. "Over my dead body," Mr. Colle wrote on Facebook on a link to a Huffington Post article about Ms. Adams's intention to run in Eglinton-Lawrence.
In an interview, Mr. Colle accused the Liberal Party of ignoring local members by looking to bring Ms. Adams in as a candidate. "Imposing someone or someone coming in out of the blue with no knowledge of the issues here or ever involved in any issues here, to think they could come in and take the nomination, is a real back of the hand to the regular people who vote Liberal and volunteer for the Liberal Party in Eglinton-Lawrence," Mr. Colle said.
Lawyer Marco Mendicino, a former Crown attorney, has already declared his candidacy for the nomination.
"I am looking forward to an open and fair race. I hope to earn the privilege of being the Liberal candidate on the ballot for Eglinton-Lawrence and to being the next MP for this great riding, representing my family, friends and neighbours," he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.