Let's start off with the most controversial of them all: the defection of Eve Adams, Conservative MP for Mississauga-Brampton South, to the Liberal caucus, as well as Dmitri Soudas, Adams' fiancee and ex-Harper Chief of Staff who supposedly helped engineer the defection following Adams' refusal by the Conservatives to try another run for Oakville North-Burlington, where Adams was involved in an earlier controversy.
It has not gone over well with a few of my Liberal fellows, for reasons varying from her perceived ineptitude, her previous bashing of the Liberals, to the fact that this is a rather opportunistic move on her part.
Aside from the last point, which I can't and won't defend because I frankly just don't care (and why anyone else does when some of our parties biggest personalities have been floor crossers or supporters of other parties, including Pierre Trudeau who had a CCF membership), I think people are being dismissive of Ms. Adams in a rather harsh way.
For example, as far as I can tell, she was appreciated as a Mississauga City Council member (noted by her multiple re-elections, despite being a critic of the then-omnipresent Hazel McCallion), which I find a far more important tell of her abilities as a politician than her time spent with the forever-obedient Conservative caucus. Why is it we have to jump on the bandwagon against her inclusion when we've yet to even give her, or Soudas, a chance to prove they're worth the risk?
I would like these critics to step up to Bill Casey, former Conservative MP now running for the Liberal nomination in Cumberland-Colchester, and say that because the Liberals are embracing him the party is a "Motel-Room-for-Rent." Or go talk to Bob Rae about it, or two of our current MPs who crossed the floor, Scott Brison and Lise St-Denis.
Maybe its because of the other controversies she's been involved with, such as the previously alluded to ON-B affair, or the whole car wash incident. I won't defend any of that, but I can ask why we're holding her to a different standard than some of our previous and current MPs who have made some serious gaffes, or been involved in not-so-nice situations. Can I mention the burning crosses in Prince George, or the rather cynical machinations of the Chretien-Martin era feuds?
All I'm saying is that we should give Adams the chance before we condemn her, the party, and whoever else. I get it, some of you don't like her and don't respect her fiancee - but no one is asking you to invite them over for a drink. Get over it, move on, and let's get down to the real work of ridding ourselves of the Harper regime.
Lisa Kirbie's Article on Open Nominations
Tangentially related to the Eve Adams controversy is Lisa Kirbie - a Sun News commentator, HuffPo blogger, and wife of (the also omnipresent) Warren Kinsella, and I think she does a bunch more things but I don't follow her as much as I should - and an article authored by her in the Huffington Post, whereby she lambasted Trudeau's open nominations pledge and says Eve Adams' move reveals how its all a sham.
I'm not entirely sure what Adams' defection actually has to do with our particular set of open nominations, aside from casual references to the ON-B debacle - which is fair, but just because Adams and Soudas were accused of trying to pressure activists within the Conservative Party, doesn't mean they will in ours, nor that Adams nominations anywhere have a tinge of Party meddling - yet.
Adams will be seeking the nomination in Eglinton-Lawrence, where current Finance Minister Joe Oliver represents and far from her current riding in Peel, and according to the Party, she would be running in an open nomination, which I assume is good news for the other nomination contestant who is currently there, prominent lawyer Marco Mendicino. I don't know when the race is supposed to be called for E-L, but I don't think its anytime soon.
The "yet" in that previous paragraph alludes to the facts Kirbie has presented in her article, which most of us are aware of - specifically the blow-up over Christine Innes in Trinity-Spadina, the dropping of David Bertschi in Orléans, and so on. Hell, I can even point out some others, like the dust-up with previous by-election candidate Rolf Dinsdale in Brandon-Souris, who claimed the party was backing soldier Glen Kirkland (who I believe has dropped out of the face since then) for the 2015 nomination and therefore backed out; or the controversy in Vancouver South with Harjit Singh Sajjan, another star candidate who was allegedly favoured by the national office; or, apparently, with Warren Kinsella, who was rumoured to be running for the Toronto-Danforth nomination but was told it would be "impossible" to be green-lit for his past criticisms of the Party (according to Kirbie).
Even with all this in mind, however, there's no indication of meddling in the E-L nomination race by the Party, with the exception of Adams needing a place to run since all of the ridings close to where she lives have been filled up. I have no problem with the Party directing Adams to a riding where she can run, so long as they don't clear the way for her - and I repeat, there is no indication of that, yet.
So its obvious to me at least that Kirbie is just using this current controversy to get a word in edgewise - it doesn't matter, I just wanted to point that out. I actually agree with Kirbie's general point that if you're going to say you'll have open and fair nominations across the board... have them, just don't say you are then screw around behind the scenes. My personal opinion is that if a candidate is really that great, they should have to fight for the nomination; if they can't get the support of local members of a riding, then there is no point, is there.
However, that is the general point, and my position becomes more nuanced the more specific we get. For example, I think having the green light process, whereby we can keep out those with bad financials or opinions that seem to directly contradict the party (e.g., anti-choice activists, woo peddlers) is a good thing, because we're not a bunch of amateurs and there is a good chance some of these people could be elected to a national office. If you'd like proof of how that can sometimes go wrong, check out a good portion of the NDP's Quebec caucus.
Now, do I think Trudeau and co. have been sniping certain ridings, using things like the green-light process and other tools to get the candidate they want? Well... yes, I think that is probably the case, though its only my opinion, and while I have no problem with the Party stating it has a preferred candidate, I do have a problem if they mess with the nomination process in that candidate's favour. Kirbie is definitely right that if you're going to claim to have all these open nominations, yet these suspicious occurrences keep popping, then you should maybe not exclaim it so loudly.
However, as the recent Sudbury by-election shows, the general populace doesn't necessarily seem to care about those suspicious circumstances. Still, I'd like to see the Party maybe take a step back and allow our open nominations pledge to actually be one.
Lastly, because I don't feel Kirbie should get away with saying this without comment, I find this particular sentence distracting:
As one of those people who has probably been alive less years than Warren has been a member of the Liberals, I can honestly say I don't really care if he received his first membership card from Methuselah. Why or how is this a legitimate argument? Its not relevant and mildly offensive to Young Liberals and any volunteer who has been a member of the party for less time than someone deems worthy. Just saying.However, it seems [Warren Kinsella] did not have the support of Trudeau, and was told that getting green lit would be next to impossible. I have heard that this was because Warren is strongly opinionated and has been critical of the party. While both of these are true, Warren has also been a Liberal longer than most Trudeau staffers have been alive.