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The Salon is ONW's weekly gathering place where three of Canada's brightest and most respected political strategists - John Capobianco, Marit Stiles and Bernie Farber - come together to analyze national issues affecting Ontario.




Eve Adams, the controversial MP who won in 2011 for the CPC, has taken a leap across the Commons floor and into the arms of Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party. With Ontario as ground zero in the already-underway federal election, Adams' musings about running in Eglinton-Lawrence is creating even more political drama, with the current Liberal provincial member there, Mike Colle, responding "Over My Dead Body."     

 

Bernie Farber:

“Crossing the floor” has had a long history of principled action and murky political egoism. When folks like Belinda Stronach, Lucien Bouchard and even Jean Lapierre did it, many understood and even praised them for doing so. The case of Eve Adams seems a bit more mired in both mystery and politics.

Eve Adams has arrived in the Liberal fold with a history. She had had her peaks and valleys and what is clear to any reasonable thinker is that now at least within the Conservative ranks she was in a very deep valley and about as low as one can go,

So why would Justin Trudeau acquiesce and bring her onboard?  

One word writ large: POLITICS.

It can be a dirty game at times and strategy, as we head into a fall election, is all the focus now. I’m sure the insiders within the Liberal party believe there is an advantage to Adams crossing the floor.  Even if it’s not readily apparent, it may become less muddled over the next few days.  

 

John Capobianco:

I completely agree with Bernie — this was pure politics. I personally can't understand the concept of crossing the floor politically, especially when someone ran in an election and got elected based on their political affiliation. To jump on board an opposing political party after campaigning against it and its leader, and opposing everything they stand for — is foreign to me.

To Bernie's point, there are special instances where one crosses for policy reasons, but no one will argue that this was the case with Eve Adams. She claims it was income splitting, but she was perfectly fine to support the legislation when she was still a Conservative.

Look, according to the CPC, Eve Adams severely mishandled the nomination process for the new riding Oakville North-Burlington where she wanted the Conservative nomination. The party told her she couldn't run as a result of various issues they found fault with whilst she was campaigning and told her she couldn't run for the party in the next election - so she decided to jump on board the very party she spent decades of her life fighting against.

Great one-day news story.

 

Marit Stiles:

What a bizarre bit of political theatre this is.

Justin Trudeau expounding on the values of having Eve Adams as a potential Liberal candidate. It's really the stuff that political satirist dreams of made of. But truly, who would have seen this coming?

I think, with due respect, Bernie, the Conservatives are going to have a great time with this. Eve Adams was one of the Conservative attack dogs, trotted out to spin on national TV, regularly. There are, I'm sure, a multitude of clips that can be used to both undermine her as a candidate and damage the Liberal party.

I've already heard a lot of rumbling from the party faithful (Liberals, that is) that Justin is making a massive mistake.

 

Bernie Farber:

I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. Eve Adams is not the first to have loyally served a party only to cross the floor years later and certainly will not be the last.

Ontario is the crucial battlefield for the next election. Despite the issues Adams had with the Conservative nomination process, my guess is voters will be more pragmatic in the end. I’m not sure her problems vis-a-vis the nomination process will resonate with voters. And John, this is front-page news and trending in spots. This is no one-day story.

Rumour has it she wants to run in Eglinton-Lawrence, Joe Oliver’s riding. Numbers say it’s a vulnerable spot. She brings a fresh face to Joe’s dour outlook. It could be very interesting fight to watch.

 

John Capobianco:

Adams has had her issues in the media over the last little while and will be known to many voters; not sure how that will ultimately play out in the next election wherever she decides she wants to run.

She started off in Mississauga, didn't like that so she tried Oakville North-Burlington, that didn't work out so well, so perhaps Toronto might be the right fit. I suspect voters will be wise to this and to her moves, but as we all know — voters are always right and they may elect Adams as a Liberal.

My view is this: notwithstanding Eve's recent move, I believe that if someone wants to cross the floor to another party as a sitting member, they should have the courage to resign their seat and run in a by-election as a member of the party they want to join. I think it is undemocratic to do it any other way.


Marit Stiles:

The pay off to the Liberals, presumably, is access to whatever her fiancé, Dimitri Soudas, knows, having worked for years in the Stephen Harper PMO.  But really, he'll be limited — legally speaking — in what he can share without being slapped with lawsuits.

And while some Liberals hope she'll just lose her nomination and that will be the end of the story, the question will become one of Trudeau's judgment.

Soudas and Adams have become an embarrassment to the Conservative Party: Adams has been banned from running in ANY riding by the party president. This wasn't based on a difference of 'values' or any significant issues, unless you count whether a party will look the other way over unethical behaviour by their staff or a sitting MP.

It's laughable that Adams would claim otherwise, and positively astounding and astonishing that Trudeau would try to spin the same tale.

I think the damage potential here is enormous, and I wonder at Trudeau's judgement and the Liberal party's desperation that they were willing to step into these murky waters.  

About The Salon

John Capobianco is a former CPC candidate and long-time party activist in both the federal and Ontario Conservative parties; Marit Stiles is a federal and Ontario NDP strategist; Bernie Farber is a former Ontario Liberal candidate and one of Canada's leading human rights experts.
Posted date : January 28, 2015

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