WATCH: Former Conservative MP Eve Adams announced she is crossing the floor to join the Liberals. As Mike Le Couteur reports, the Liberals are hoping this popular politician and her fiancé Dimitri Soudas can boost their fortunes.
OTTAWA — Ontario MP Eve Adams is crossing the floor to the Liberals, she announced Monday morning.
“After a long and very difficult period of reflection, I’ve decided to leave the party I’ve supported since I was 14 years old,” she said, sitting alongside Liberal leader Justin Trudeau at a last-minute press conference.
“I did not make this decision overnight, but I no longer feel a part of the Conservative party, either politically or intellectually.”
Adams said she supported the conservative movement for more than 25 years, describing this day as “very bittersweet.”
“I can no longer support the mean-spirited leadership that divides people instead of bringing them together,” Adams said Monday, adding she no longer wanted to work with “fear-mongers and bullies.”
Watch: MP Eve Adams says she is leaving her post within the Conservative Party which she claims to have supported since the age of 14 to follow Justin Trudeau’s leadership and join the Liberals.
Adams was first elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 general election, taking the seat from the Liberals, who had held the riding since it was formed in 2004. Harper appointed her parliamentary secretary to the veterans minister and , more recently, to the health minister.
READ MORE: Who is Eve Adams?
She had previously served in municipal office, sitting on Mississauga, Ont. city council for eight years.
“I can no longer support the mean-spirited leadership that divides people instead of bringing them together.”
MP Eve Adams
The last year was a difficult one for Adams, she told reporters.
In May, the Conservatives were forced to delay the nomination vote after a bitter battle erupted between Adams and fellow Conservative nomination candidate Natalia Lishchyna in Oakville North-Burlington.
WATCH: MP Eve Adams elaborates on her description of what she calls a “mean-spirited” and “divisive” Tory leadership.
The decision to call off the scheduled vote was taken after the teams of both candidates released audio recordings supporting their respective claims of wrongdoing.
Adams’ team had been accused of paying for the memberships of supporters, alleged donations that are illegal under the Elections Act. Adams in turn has accused Lishchyna of improperly using data research firms to phone members at home.
Finally, in August, Adams dropped out of the contentious battle, citing health reasons.
READ MORE: A brief history of floor crossing in Ottawa
“It was very difficult to be asked to step aside by a party that I had volunteered and served for over 25 years, but that’s not the main factor,” she said, responding to a question about how much her battle with the party played in today’s announcement.
“That sparked a very long reflection, and sometimes things happen for a reason. And the more I soul searched, it was very clear that the values of the Conservative party are not the values of the original Progressive Conservative party, and they’re not the values I hold.”
WATCH: MP Adams says “soul searching” convinced her to leave Conservatives
Adams told reporters she reached out to the Liberals a few weeks ago, setting today’s announcement in motion.
The Prime Minister’s Office declined comment on the move, referring questions about the defection to the Conservative Party.
Party president John Walsh said he wrote to Adams Jan. 29 to inform her she would not be permitted to run for the Conservatives in 2015 on account of “the misconduct” from her previous nomination battle, he wrote in an email.
Walsh said this note to Adams followed her request “of just a couple of weeks ago” to seek the nomination for the Conservatives in a new seat.
Considering her rocky past, some observers wondered why the Liberals would want to take her on.
“The Liberal party is for inclusion,” Trudeau said. “Our growth depends on bringing people together to grow the middle class.”
WATCH: Trudeau explains why he wants MP Adams with Liberals.
Part of executing that strategy, the leader said, is including candidates from the municipal level, or “People who have deeply committed to citizens through direct service, through demonstrating a commitment to public service at the local level.”
Adams’ history as a city councillor has demonstrated strength and ability, Trudeau said.
Neither Adams nor Trudeau would say in which Toronto-area riding the newest Liberal intends to seek nomination. Adams said she would approach the riding officials before announcing her intentions, which is “imminent.”
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