OTTAWA — The prime minister’s longtime aide, Dimitri Soudas, says his departure from Conservative Party headquarters resulted from his decision to side with the woman he loves, MP Eve Adams.
Soudas told The Huffington Post Canada he is "madly in love" and that the "choice was clear."
"Stand with the woman whose hand I’ll be holding when I’m an old fart,” he wrote in a message to HuffPost.
Soudas, who served as executive director of the Conservative Party, was asked to resign Sunday after Prime Minister Stephen Harper returned from a trip to Europe and was briefed on Soudas’ meddling in a nomination battle involving his fiancée.
Soudas, as the top-paid staffer in the party, was charged with overseeing nomination contests but was specifically told to stay out of the race in Oakville North–Burlington, where Adams intends to run. Several sources said Soudas signed a legal agreement removing himself from involvement in that contest. The party arranged for an official from the Tories’ national council to oversee the race.
Adams is the MP for the non-adjacent riding of Mississauga–Brampton South but she wants to run in a new Oakville riding, where the couple purchased a house last year. The Oakville seat is considered to be much safer for the Tories, and several Conservatives have criticized Adams for leaving her Mississauga riding vulnerable to the Liberals.
Although obliged to keep his distance, Soudas could not stay away. The Prime Minister’s Office became increasingly frustrated with his tactics and his clear involvement. The Canadian Press reported that a door-knocking campaign for Adams in Oakville–North Burlington had been organized straight out of Soudas' office at party headquarters and that a recent fundraising meet-and-greet for Adams featured Soudas’ name.
An investigation was launched after allegations were brought to the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office, sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said. Lawyer Guy Giorno, the party’s compliance officer, was among those who concluded that Soudas had broken ethical standards – and his legal obligations, sources said.
Last week, the Adams-Soudas affair garnered much attention and was splashed across the cover of the Toronto Star. Party members were increasingly complaining of Soudas’ favouritism.
The Canadian Press reported that some party members complained after Soudas showed up to pick Adams up after she tried to attend one of the riding's Conservative association board meetings. The riding association in Oakville North–Burlington consists mainly of supporters of Adams’ principal adversary, chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna.
John Mykytyshyn, a supporter of Lishchyna, told HuffPost Monday that she had little to say about Soudas’ departure.
“The party is ensuring fair, open and democratic nomination meeting [by having Soudas leave],” he said.
“The guy is just completely in love,” he added. “I don’t think he went in intentionally to break his contract with the prime minister, I think he’s a guy who is in love, who didn't honour his word.”
Soudas had been Harper’s director of communications and an aide from 2002 until September 2011, when he left to spend more time with his family. He and his wife split shortly after that. By 2012, Soudas had begun a relationship with Adams.
He returned to the party in December 2013 in a surprise move after quitting a senior communications job with the Canadian Olympic Committee less than two months before the Olympic Games in Sochi. He said the party needed him and he could not say no when the prime minister asked.
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