PM under pressure to bar Eve Adams from seeking nomination in new riding: sources
Andrea Janus and Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014 11:01AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 3, 2014 9:09AM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is under pressure to strip MP Eve Adams of her job as the health minister’s parliamentary secretary and disqualify her from seeking the Conservative nomination in a Toronto-area riding, sources tell CTV News.
But Harper will not remove Eve from her post as parliamentary secretary nor will he disqualify her from the nomination, according to his communications director Jason MacDonald. He has asked the Conservative Party’s National Council to review allegations against Adams as she engages in a pitched battle for the nomination in the newly created Oakville-North Burlington riding.
The allegations are contained in a letter obtained by CTV News that Mark Fedak, the president of the Oakville-North Burlington Conservative association, sent directly to the prime minister.
“It is with a heavy heart that I feel I must write you directly with regard to recent actions by Eve Adams MP that I believe are both negatively impacting the internal workings of our local association and are beginning to take a toll on the brand of the Party,” Fedak wrote.
In the letter, dated April 1, Fedak says he was going to write to Harper about one specific incident at the last board meeting. However, he writes, “things have only gotten worse.”
Fedak writes that nothing in the party’s constitution allows the riding association’s board to take action against Adams directly. “As such I am asking your assistance in bringing resolution to the issues I will now expand on.”
Fedak outlines five incidents, including one in which the association attempted to hire a consulting firm to prepare pre-election demographic and poll analysis from 2011 as they prepare for 2015.
The company denied the riding association’s request “as a result of, to our knowledge, the direct instruction of MP Eve Adams,” Fedak writes. When the association made it clear the work was to be done for its board, and not any particular candidate, the request was still denied.
“The is also the first instance we are aware of being denied services by a private sector supplier to the Party,” Fedak writes. “We don’t know how many others Eve Adams may have instructed not to work with the EDA. We request your intervention.”
Fedak also outlines the previously reported incident at a March 19 board meeting to which Adams arrived late and began to speak. Fedak says he was unaware she was planning to attend the meeting and invited her back to the next scheduled meeting. “Not only did she not leave, I requested nine times for her to leave. Her continuous response was to continue to filibuster the meeting, without ever being recognized with a right to speak…”.
Fedak writes that Adams then began to “verbally abuse” at least four other board members, and then asked him how much money he has donated to the party. She then says she would use her access to the party database to find out.
It was after that meeting that longtime regional party organizer Wally Butts wrote to party brass to complain of the incident, and he was dismissed. Fedak writes that even if party restructuring was the reason for Butts’ firing, and not his letter of complaint, “there should definitely be a position for Wally Butts.”
Fedak also writes that the board is “very concerned” about mailings that Adams has been sending into the new riding, and asks five questionsabout them, including whether supporter data is being used “within the rules,” and why Adams is “hiding what riding she represents in these mailings?”
Adams has denied any wrongdoing in relation to the mailings. She is also denying the riding association’s allegations and says she won’t quit the Tory caucus.
Adams is currently the MP for Mississauga-Brampton South. However, she and her fiancé Dimitri Soudas recently moved within the boundaries of the new riding, and she is fighting local chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna for the nomination.
Soudas was fired as the Conservative Party’s executive director over his involvement in Adams’s campaign.
MacDonald, confirmed to The Canadian Press that the PMO received Fedak’s letter and Harper has “asked national council to review it and follow up accordingly.”
Gas station dispute
It’s not the first time Harper has received a formal complaint about Adams. The Prime Minister’s Office was informed early this year about a December incident at an Ottawa gas station, in which Adams was accused of blocking a gas pump with her car for 17 minutes because she wanted a refund on a $6 car wash.
The owner of the gas station told CTV that he asked Adams “at least four times” if she could move her car to the side, but she refused to do so until she got her refund. Surveillance video footage from that day shows Adams’ SUV parked in front of one of the gas pump lanes. She is also seen apparently arguing with a man outside her vehicle.
“I politely asked at least four times if she would please pull off to the side,” owner John Newcombe said. “She refused. She rolled up her vehicle window and said: ‘I’ll be answering emails until I get my refund.”’
When Adams got her refund, she said she’d demanded it because there was a little ice on her bumper, Newcombe said. “The car was spotless.”
He said Adams later offered a half-hearted apology.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked the prime minister during question period Wednesday if he had asked Adams to step down.
Harper did not directly answer the question.
With a report from CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
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