Mike Colle says it's 'preposterous' for Eve Adams to join Liberals
Toronto MPP says many local Liberals 'totally negative' about Adams running in Eglinton-Lawrence
If Eve Adams becomes the federal Liberal candidate in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, local MPP Mike Colle says it will be "over my dead body."
Colle, who's represented the riding provincially for the Liberals for 20 years, says the Conservative defector can't be allowed to simply parachute into a party and a constituency to which she has no ties.
"I just find the whole thing preposterous," Colle said Tuesday.
"I mean, that a Harper Tory from Mississauga all of a sudden is going to run here in the middle of Toronto with no connections and no awareness? You know, it's a real insult to the local Liberals in this community."
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau stunned many in his party on Monday when he announced that Adams, a lifelong Conservative who currently represents the riding of Mississauga-Brampton South, was crossing the floor to sit as a Liberal.
Adams said she hopes to carry the Liberal banner in a Toronto-area riding during the coming election, scheduled for October. She didn't identify the riding but is expected to seek the Liberal nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence, currently held by Finance Minister Joe Oliver.
Colle said he sees no evidence that Adams has "any connection with what we Liberals stand for" or any awareness of the local issues in the riding. Consequently, he predicted her chances of winning the nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence are "slim to none."
"You don't buy into Liberal values in 24 hours," Colle later told CBC's Rosemary Barton on Power & Politics. "You work, you volunteer in the community, you fight for causes. That's what makes a Liberal.
"You don't buy them at a convenience store, like it seems in this case."
He said his advice for Adams is to "run somewhere in Mississauga or Peel, not in the middle of Toronto where you have no connections."
'It just seems very crass'
Conservatives continued Tuesday to characterize Adams' defection as pure opportunism sparked by the governing party's decision late last month to bar her from running anywhere.
"It just seems very crass and opportunistic to me," said Justice Minister Peter MacKay.
Lawyer Marco Mendicino is already campaigning for the Liberal nomination in the riding. Insiders say Joe Volpe, the former Liberal cabinet minister who held the riding until 2011, is pondering whether he or his son, Flavio, should enter the race.
Neither Mendicino nor Volpe responded to requests for comment Tuesday.
Adams' defection to the Liberals is fully supported by her fiance, Dimitri Soudas, long considered one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's fiercest loyalists and an architect of the Tories' re-election strategy for 2015.
He lost his job as the Conservative party's executive director last year for allegedly meddling in the Tory nomination contest in Oakville North-Burlington, where Adams had hoped to run in 2015.
Adams and her opponent were forced to withdraw from that contest last summer, amid allegations of misconduct on both sides.
Privately, some Liberals wonder why Trudeau would welcome two Tories with reputations for playing brass-knuckle politics when he blocked longtime Liberal Christine Innes from running in Toronto's Trinity-Spadina over allegations of bullying and intimidation by her campaign — specifically by her husband, former MP Tony Ianno.
Innes and Ianno have filed a $3-million defamation suit against Trudeau and David MacNaughton, co-chair of the Liberal campaign team in Ontario.
With files from CBC News