New Liberal MP Eve Adams has confirmed she'll attempt a run for the Liberal nomination to take on Finance Minister Joe Oliver in Toronto's Eglinton-Lawrence riding.
Adams said in an interview on Toronto's CP24 news station that she plans to run for the Liberal nomination in the riding. If she wins, that would pit her against Oliver, who until Monday was her Conservative caucus colleague, next October.
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The riding had been held by the Liberals under Joe Volpe until Oliver beat him in 2011.
Oliver, who is 74 years old, has already been nominated as the Conservative Party's candidate in the riding for the 2015 race.
Adams will run against Marco Mendicino, a former federal Crown prosecutor who now runs his own law firm.
The president of the Liberal riding association told CBC News that the nomination meeting for Eglinton–Lawrence has yet to be scheduled.
'Over my dead body'
The local provincial Liberal, Mike Colle, indicated Tuesday that he was opposed to Adams joining the party and running in the riding. Colle, the Liberal MPP, said her winning the nomination would be "over my dead body."
Mendicino says on his website that he served as legal counsel to Colle’s successful re-election campaign last spring. He also says he has sat on the riding executive and volunteered on numerous federal and provincial campaigns.
In a statement to CBC News, Oliver noted the Liberals haven't yet chosen their candidate for the riding.
"In the meantime, I will continue to do what I have done for the last four years — represent the values and interests of the people of Eglinton-Lawrence. I will also continue to work on behalf of all Canadians to create jobs and opportunities across this great country," he said.
Veteran campaigner Tom Allison will run Adams's campaign. Allison managed Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's campaign before moving on to Toronto Mayor John Tory's winning efforts.
When Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau first announced Adams was crossing the floor, he was questioned by reporters about why the party wanted her. Adams has sometimes been the source of controversy for the Conservative Party.
Controversial on and off the campaign trail
Last year, amid a vicious nomination fight closer to her current riding, Adams drew the ire of fellow Conservatives after showing up uninvited at a meeting of the Oakville North-Burlington riding association and getting into a heated argument with some members of the committee.
In May, the party was forced to put the nomination vote on hold as it investigated further accusations of dirty tricks levelled by both Adams and her rival for the spot, local chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna.
Among the allegations:
- Having her campaign pay for party memberships.
- Pressuring non-Conservative locals to buy memberships to vote for Adams in the nomination.
- Advising a local contractor not to provide maps to the riding association.
- Using her parliamentary budget to send flyers into the riding.
She was also warned by Conservative Party president John Walsh after she reportedly used her parliamentary budget to send taxpayer-funded flyers into the new riding.
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Adams also courted controversy off the nomination campaign trial.
Last January, an Ottawa-area Conservative contacted the Prime Minister's Office to complain about the MP's conduct after a dispute over a $6 car wash reportedly resulted in Adams using her car to block access to his gas station for 15 minutes.
Adams also raised eyebrows when the details of her 2011 campaign expenses hit the headlines. Among the more questionable items: a $3 cupcake and a $60 spa treatment.
The resulting furor led Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett — now a caucus colleague — to accuse Adams of attempting to get a taxpayer rebate for beauty services, including salon treatments, during the campaign.
"Canadians have had enough paying for the Conservative Pretty Department," Bennett told the House at the time.
Needs to prove herself: Trudeau
In an interview Wednesday with Winnipeg radio station CJOB, Liberal Leader Trudeau conceded Adams' baggage did give him pause when she approached him about switching parties.
"Certainly, there is always a reflection to be had around this. But Eve has been a very strong local voice, municipal councillor for many, many years, deeply committed to service."
Trudeau indicated that Adams' willingness to do some tough slogging in a difficult riding was central to his decision to welcome her into Liberal ranks.
"One of the things that we agreed is that she's going to have to convince an awful lot of Liberals and local folks that she is the best voice for them ... and then she's going to take on someone who is a pillar of the Conservative party to demonstrate her strength and her value as a politician."
With files from The Canadian Press