Adams, Soudas speak out: 'We have at every opportunity taken the high road'
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, May 25, 2014 10:57AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, May 25, 2014 11:26AM EDT
The Conservative MP at the centre of a highly contentious nomination race in a Toronto-area riding says her campaign has “taken the high road,” at every opportunity, despite accusations of fraud from a rival contender.
In an interview with CTV’s Question Period that aired Sunday, Eve Adams and her fiancé and campaign manager Dimitri Soudas struck back at allegations of fraud, denying any wrongdoing in the fight for the Conservative nomination in Oakville-North Burlington.
“This is a campaign that gotten far too negative and certainly not from our side,” Adams said. “We have at every opportunity taken the high road.”
Soudas and Adams spoke with CTV Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife a day after the Conservative Party of Canada postponed a nomination vote in the riding over complaints of improper campaign activity.
The couple laid blame on rival nomination challenger, Oakville chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna, who has accused the Adams/Soudas camp of running an unethical and unscrupulous campaign.
“That other campaign has done nothing but sling mud and smear and attack people and make personal family attacks,” Adams said.
Lishchyna alleged this week that Adams’ campaign signed up five members of the same household who did not pay for Conservative Party memberships. Lishchyna further alleged that Adams’ campaign paid for those memberships, violating party and Elections Canada rules.
Soudas said on Question Period that the family members initially agreed to sign up but had no cash on hand. According to Soudas, when the campaign went back, the family said they had changed their mind and no longer wanted to sign up.
“And guess what we did, we immediately contacted the party,” Soudas said.
Soudas also responded to allegations that Adams had left a threatening phone message with a party official.
“The individual you’re referring to was actually calling current supporters of Eve’s and making incredibly personal attacks on her,” Soudas said. “And yes, we did call him up, and yes we did tell him that he should not resort to personal attacks.”
Members of Adams' team, meanwhile, have complained that a firm doing survey calls in the riding did not identify itself as working for Lishchyna, and allege that constitutes a violation of telecommunications rules around political calls.
On Question Period, Soudas said Adams’ campaign has filed a complaint with the CRTC and Elections Canada.
Soudas suggested that Lishchyna’s camp has taken aim because Adams’ campaign has signed up significantly more members.
“They’re now attacking the Sikh community, they’re attacking the Tamil community, they’re attacking the entire membership of this riding association, saying, ‘You’re not good enough to be a Conservative, you’re not good enough to sign up for this party and vote because you don’t support the candidate that I support, because she only has a 150 members.’
“You know what? The challenge is very simple: let the members vote,” Soudas added.
Adams says she has nothing to hide.
“I’m happy to go toe-to-toe and reveal my voting record, there is absolutely nothing there that I am embarrassed about,” she said. “We’re still receiving calls, even today, saying, ‘Can we join the team.’”
Conservative Party targeting Adams?
Adams has drawn attention from the upper echelons of the Conservative Party due in part to her relationship with Soudas.
Once a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s inner circle, Soudas was ousted as Conservative Party director in March over his involvement in Adams’ nomination campaign.
He had been specifically ordered not to get involved in her campaign. Soudas said he did so anyway out of loyalty to his fiancé.
“As everyone knows, Eve had a concussion, and she basically went from working 18 hours a day, to being incapacitated and not being able to work,” he said. “Loyalty is at the core of my values, and in this instance, I chose for my loyalty to be with my family.”
Soudas said he has apologized to Harper, who he called a “great prime minister” and a “father figure.”
“I’m very confident that our roads and our paths will cross again probably sooner than later,” Soudas added.
Adams said while she doesn’t think party headquarters are targeting her campaign, she said they did make “over 300 administrative errors” in processing her membership information.
“They dropped off over 150 members who had properly and appropriately signed up,” she said. “And they did that with paid resources.”
Adams, MP for Mississauga-South Brampton, is seeking the Conservative nomination in one of the newly created ridings for the 2015 election. She and Soudas recently moved within the boundaries of the new riding.
It’s not the first time Adams has drawn attention.
Earlier this spring, Harper asked the Conservative party national council to review a scathing letter of complaint from the constituency board about Adams' behaviour.