Embattled MP Eve Adams was hauled into Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office this week and told to "focus on her current jobs," CBC News has learned.
Adams has been the subject of complaints from some local Conservatives over her aggressive tactics in seeking the party's nomination in the new southern Ontario riding Oakville North-Burlington.
Sources tell CBC News that Harper instructed Adams to concentrate on her current position as a member of Parliament for Mississauga–Brampton South and on her role as parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.
For now, the party seems willing to allow her to run in the newly created riding she covets, according to correspondence obtained by CBC News.
But a letter from Conservative Party president John Walsh, obtained by CBC News, warns her to behave.
Walsh also demanded that she account for all contributions to her nomination campaign.
In the letter, Walsh tells Adams that she may already have gone over the spending limit for her nomination campaign.
The Oakville North–Burlington nomination race officially opened Thursday morning.
Adams must provide the full accounting of all non-monetary contributions by April 18. Elections Canada limits nomination campaign spending to 20 per cent of the amount allowed in a general election. In Adams's case, that would $17,721.66.
Sources tell CBC news that Adams that if she is found to have exceeded that spending limit, she will likely be disqualified from the nomination battle. The sources said the party will be "counting pennies to make sure she is on the up and up."
In the letter, Walsh also says the party's National Council has "grave concerns" about how she has conducted her nomination bid.
"Without waiving any previous conduct which National Council assesses as inappropriate, be advised that any improprieties will result in a NCSC review, and, if warranted, disqualification," Walsh wrote, referring to the National Council Secretariat Committee.
Adams's fiancé, Dimitri Soudas, was removed from his top job in the Conservative Party after a dramatic confrontation with senior party officials late last month over using his position to advance Adams's bid for the nomination in the new riding.
Board members raised concerns
The party has been looking into complaints about Adams's behaviour during her campaign to win the nomination in the riding. Some of the riding's board members complained she improperly used private information from the party's database to help her win the nomination battle.
Riding association president Mark Fedak also alleged Adams was verbally abusive at a March 19 riding meeting. Fedak sent a letter detailing the allegations to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and copied it to all Ontario Conservative MPs. Fedak supports local chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna for the nomination.
Fedak had also complained that Adams interfered in the riding association's ability to buy maps with detailed poll information to prepare for the 2015 election campaign. Adams told the consultant who provides the maps not to deal with the riding association.
He had also complained, along with a number of other party members, that Soudas fired Ontario organizer Wally Butts. Butts had complained to the party about Soudas's interference in the riding nomination battle.
In a letter sent to Fedak, Walsh said concerns about Butts's firing are being addressed, but that further comment wouldn't be appropriate.
Walsh also said the party is still reviewing complaints about Adams's use of CIMS, the party's database, but he dismissed the complaint about the riding association's inability to buy maps from one provider.
"The election readiness plans to which you refer are prepared by and purchased from private businesses not affiliated with the CPC [Conservative Party of Canada]. The CPC has made inquiries, and is satisfied that there has been no interference by any current or former CPC employee which blocked any sale to your EDA," Walsh wrote.
'Refrain from asserting any authority'
The party's president repeated to Fedak that they saw no cause to disqualify Adams from the riding nomination race, but pledged to continue monitoring it.
"The investigation has revealed numerous concerns regarding the conduct of Ms. Adams prior, during and after your Board meeting of March 19.... Ms. Adams has been advised that improprieties in the campaign will result in a NCSC review, and if warranted, disqualification."
In the letter to Adams, Walsh warned her to treat Conservative Party members and activists "with the respect and appreciation that they deserve."
"Without their selfless efforts at the EDA [riding] level we would not be in government and you would not have a position in the government," Walsh wrote, adding that Adams is to "refrain from asserting any authority or position other than your position as a fellow member under our Party’s Constitution."