Eve Adams's defection followed tense meeting with Stephen Harper
Sources say she told PM she was finished with fiancé Dimitri Soudas, former Conservative Party exec
Only weeks before she sat beside Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau to announce her defection from the Conservatives, Eve Adams met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a last-ditch attempt to stay in his party, CBC News has learned.
Sources tell CBC News Adams met with Harper on Jan. 5 to get his blessing to run for the Conservative nomination in the new riding of Mississauga-Malton, west of Toronto.
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The meeting happened in a hotel room in the Toronto area.
Conservative sources said Adams assured Harper she wanted to get past her previous nomination issues and would bring new members to the party if he let her run.
According to sources, she also assured the prime minister that she and her fiancé, Dimitri Soudas, were finished.
The sources said Harper leaned toward Adams and told her he knew Soudas was sitting in the hotel lobby waiting for her. He then informed her that the party's national council deals with nominations and, with that, the meeting was concluded.
Through Liberal spokeswoman Kate Purchase, Adams categorically denied having told the prime minister that she and Soudas were no longer a couple.
At a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday night, Harper made no mention of a hotel room meeting, nor did he refer to Soudas.
"The national council of our party is responsible for an honest, clean nomination process," he said.
"It informed MP Adams some 10 days ago that she could not be a candidate for the party for reasons I think everybody understands. That's obviously the reality of the situation, and that's the sole reason we have the development we have today."
Soudas will have no 'formal' role with Liberals
Soudas has held high-profile positions within the government and the Conservative Party, and he has also been a lightning rod for controversy.
When he left his job as the prime minister's communications director in 2011, several cabinet ministers told journalists privately they were breathing a sigh of relief. And many in the party were perplexed when Harper personally brought him back as the party's executive director two and a half years later.
But Soudas lost that job in March 2014 for helping Adams in her nomination battle for the riding of Oakville-North Burlington. Soudas had agreed he wouldn't get involved in the race because it gave Adams an unfair advantage.
On Jan. 29, Conservative Party president John Walsh sent a letter to Adams saying she wouldn't be allowed to run for the party in the next election.
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"I communicated clearly that our party takes our nomination rules and procedures seriously, and we made a commitment to run fair and open nominations, and any misconduct from candidates, including caucus members, would not be tolerated," Walsh wrote in a news release.
Sources tell CBC News that Soudas helped to broker the deal between Adams and the Liberals.
In a tweet Monday, Soudas said, "Fully support Adams's decision. She is smart, hard working & caring."
Senior Liberals on Monday were saying that Soudas's role in the party will be limited to helping Adams in her campaign in the next federal election.
"To clarify: Soudas will not have a formal role in the LPC but he, like her whole family, is supportive of @MPEveAdams's decision and her run," spokeswoman Kate Purchase tweeted.
A tweet from Gerry Butts, Trudeau's principal adviser, was more direct:
"Conspiracy theories are fun. But @D_Soudas role with LPC is to put up lawn signs on @MPEveAdams campaign. That's it, that's all folks."
Albany Club membership cancelled
In an interview with CBC News last year at the height of the controversy over his departure from his job with the Conservative party, Soudas said, "I'll rip up any contract that says I can't help my family. I will breach any contract that says I can't help my family."
Her decision to cross the floor has also cost Adams her membership in Toronto's tony Albany Club, CBC News has learned.
"The philosophy of the Albany Club is clearly stated in our prospectus, and is part of our culture," club president Scott N. Munnoch wrote in a letter sent to the former Conservative MP on Monday.
"It states: 'The exclusive social and business club for those who influence, celebrate, debate, and promote Canada's conservative and political history, ideals, values and leadership.' In light of your announcement today, please accept this letter as a termination of your membership."
With files from Laura Payton and Sharon Musgrave