An early-morning bulletin from the Liberals alerted the press gallery to an unexplained news conference with Leader Justin Trudeau at 9 a.m. and there were gasps when Trudeau then strode into the National Press Theatre, accompanied by Eve Adams. Up until just about that moment, Adams was known as a Conservative MP and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.
All sudden floor-crossings are a bit surprising, but Adams’s move is particularly intriguing.
Adams had become a source of intrigue within the Conservative party, professionally linked to a controversial nomination race and personally linked to one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s longest-serving aides (Dimitri Soudas). Within two hours of her announcement, the president of the Conservative Party, John Walsh, issued a statement to explain he had “informed her in writing on January 29th that she would not be permitted to run for our Party in the next election due to the misconduct from the Oakville North-Burlington nomination race.”
It was not so long ago, though, that Adams, a former city councillor, was something of a star candidate. One who was key to Conservative election hopes in the Greater Toronto Area and whose victory over a thrice-elected incumbent turned a Liberal riding to the blue team. She was quickly included in cabinet speculation and ultimately appointed to serve as a parliamentary secretary, a title she held up until today. As she reminded the press gallery this morning, she was answering for the government in question period just last week.
And today, Trudeau was able to appear beside a woman who said she was unhappy with the Conservatives’ style of leadership (“mean-spirited”) and choice of policies (income-splitting, specifically), while lauding the vision and spirit of the Liberal leader. (She also touted the Liberal position on abortion.)
Like any shock, a floor-crossing’s significance is difficult to parse in the immediate aftermath. Maybe it’s something. Maybe it’s nothing. It’s possible Trudeau has just given himself a headache he didn’t need. It’s equally possible he has scored a small victory. It’s rather possible that we’ll have forgotten all about this by October.