Natalia Lishchyna, Eve Adams's rival, also quits Tory nomination race
Natalia Lishchyna, Eve Adams's rival in the Conservative Party's nomination contest for the Toronto-area riding of Oakville North–Burlington, has also quit the race, saying it's best the party hit the reset button and start looking for new candidates to run in 2015.
- Tory MP Eve Adams quits bitter nomination race, cites health
- Conservative nominations raise odds of early 2015 election
Lishchyna announced her decision not to seek the nomination for Oakville North–Burlington four days after Adams abruptly withdrew from the race citing health reasons.
In a letter to Conservative Party members who live in the new Toronto-area riding, Lishchyna said, "After consultation with my team and senior officials within the party, I am saddened to advise you that I have withdrawn my name for candidacy for the Conservative nomination in Oakville North–Burlington."
Lishchyna said she thinks it's best the party go back to Square 1 and hit reset on the nomination process.
"I believe strongly that it is not in the best interest of the party's electoral prospects in our great new riding to proceed under the circumstances we find ourselves today.
"After almost a year of one of the most high-profile and controversial nomination campaigns in Canadian history, I believe it's best that the party re-start the nomination process to allow the grassroots to decide," Lishchyna said.
In her letter, Lishchyna said the party took her concerns "seriously enough to postpone the nomination meeting and conduct a thorough investigation."
However, Conservative members will never know the outcome of the party's investigation.
"Both candidates withdrew before the national candidate selection committee rendered a decision," Conservative Party spokesman Cory Hann told CBC News today.
Previously, sources had told CBC News that party officials were pushing to see both Adams and Lishchyna disqualified from the race.
While the party has promised fair and open nominations, "that is not what transpired" in Oakville North–Burlington, Lishchyna said.
"As you know, we have been faced with a very challenging campaign that was never fought on a level playing field."
The battle for Oakville North–Burlington, a riding that is widely perceived as a "safe seat" for the Conservatives, took a bitter turn after Adams launched her bid for nomination in the newly created riding. Adams is the current MP for Mississauga–Brampton South, a riding that has been redistributed ahead of the next election
The spat between the two Conservative rivals was further thrust into the national limelight when Dimitri Soudas, Adams's fiancé and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's former director of communications, decided to run the MP's campaign.
Accusations surfaced that Soudas, who was executive director of the party at the time, was using his position to outrival Lishchyna in favour of Adams's nomination battle.
Soudas was later dismissed by the party for interfering with the nomination race — although Harper's longtime aide claims he voluntarily left the party job to focus on running his fiancée's nomination campaign.
Both Adams and Soudas vehemently denied accusations they were not playing fair.
'Bitter contest of wills'
Lishchyna said she could not allow "the misinformation" propagated by Adams to stand, going on to state "for the record" that she ran a clean campaign.
"We are proud that we signed up hundreds of new and committed members without duress, misinformation or strong-arming."
She went on to characterize the nomination battle as "a bitter contest of wills."
A chiropractor by profession, Lishchyna said that "it is often said that time heals all, but I am not convinced that we have enough time to do the best in achieving unity before the next election under the current circumstances."
Lishchyna vowed to run again for Parliament.
"In the future I anticipate that I again will be a candidate and be elected to Parliament to work on your behalf and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast."
Read Natalia Lishchyna's letter here: