OTTAWA — MP Eve Adams praised Justin Trudeau’s strong leadership when she crossed the floor Monday, but just a few months ago she was mocking him for his plans to legalize pot and put a price on carbon use, while disagreeing with him on Liberal party policy.
A review by the Huffington Post Canada of Adams’ comments in the House of Commons and votes on private member’s bills paint the Mississauga–Brampton South MP as a loyal Conservative foot soldier.
Just before the Christmas holiday, Adams praised Stephen Harper’s government by telling the Commons that “thanks to our work, Canadian families can be assured that their hard-earned money is making its way back into their bank account.”
She lauded the Tories’ plan to give families such as those in her riding an increase in the universal child care benefit. “Instead of bureaucratic spending, we offer a simple time-tested plan,” she said. “We are investing directly in families.”
Adams said the Harper government has taken “decisive action on the environment.” Instead of a national carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, the government was implementing a sector-by-sector regulatory approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, she said, ignoring the Tories’ failure to issue any regulations on the oil and gas sector.
“This is leadership,” she declared. “We are accomplishing all of this without a job-killing carbon tax, which would raise the price of everything.”
Trudeau supports putting a price on carbon. Last week, he announced that a Liberal government would leave it to the provinces to develop their own systems to price carbon in order to lower emissions, such as B.C’s carbon tax or Quebec’s cap and trade system.
During the past year, Adams has frequently spoken out against Liberal party policies. She spoke favourably of the Conservative government’s desire to see the Northern Gateway Pipeline built – a project to which Trudeau is firmly opposed, and which he has said he would nix if he became prime minister.
She praised the controversial ‘Fair Elections Act’ as a “wonderful bill that I believe improves our electoral system.” Trudeau called it a “terrible piece of legislation” and vowed to repeal the act if the Liberals form a government.
Adams, however, told the Commons she supported eliminating voter identification cards and preventing Elections Canada from communicating with voters, saying that is something MPs are supposed to do.
“My honourable colleague indicated that [the bill] disenfranchises a number of voters. I have looked through this bill rather thoroughly, and it certainly does not do that,” she said.
Adams proudly announced that the Tories would prevent heroin addicts from getting prescription heroin as part of their treatment — to the bafflement of Liberals and New Democrats.
“While the Liberals and the NDP want to continue providing heroin to people suffering from addiction, our government will support treatment that ends drug use,” she said.
She also panned the Liberal plan to control marijuana like tobacco.
“Can you believe that, Mr. Speaker? How irresponsible of a policy is that?” she said. “The Liberals should get on board with our approach, which is aimed at helping to ensure Canadian youth are healthy and productive and are not smoking cigarettes or marijuana.”
She defended the Conservatives’ budget cuts to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and stood up for the government against Liberal claims it was shortchanging veterans’ families and spending too much money on Economic Action Plan ads.
Voted against Liberal private member’s bills
At her press conference Monday, Adams lauded Trudeau for his unequivocal support of a woman’s right to choose. In 2012, she voted against Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s controversial motion to study when life begins, largely seen as an attempt to reopen the abortion debate.
But when it came to other private member’s bills — traditionally considered “free votes” where MPs can break from caucus colleagues — Adams consistently opted to toe the Tory party line.
And, in several instances, she chose not to support bills put forward by Liberals.
Last week, Adams voted against Grit MP Ted Hsu’s private member’s bill to restore the long-form census and strengthen the independence of the chief statistician. Conservative MP Michael Chong was the only Tory to join opposition MPs in supporting the bill, which was ultimately defeated.
In December, Adams helped kill Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux’s Bill C-524, which would have required party leaders publicly endorse their party’s political advertisements, including “attack ads.”
Adams also joined the Tory caucus in opposing bills put forward by Liberal MPs John McKay and Joyce Murray last year.
McKay's bill would have forced oil and mining companies to submit transparency reports each year to the federal government and disclose dealings with foreign governments. Murray's bill aimed to strengthen oversight of Canada's electronic spy agency, Communications Security Establishment.
Perhaps, it’s no surprise that the Liberals criticized her after a story emerged that she had bilked taxpayers for her beauty products during the last federal election.
“Canadians have had enough of paying for the Conservative pretty department,” Grit MP Carolyn Bennett said in the House in 2013. Adams batted off the concern, responding that more than two-thirds of her personal expenses were for child care.
In the Commons, though, in her words and in her deeds, Adams mostly just praised the government. She praised the 2013 budget as one that respected taxpayers’ dollars. She praised the 2014 budget and the “stewardship of our prime minister and minister of finance” for making challenging but responsible choices.
Once, she stood in the House to say the Conservative government “understands the priorities of Canadians.”
Now, she calls them “fear-mongerers and bullies.”
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