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Tory MP Eve Adams rebuked by party

OTTAWA - The Conservative party has admonished MP Eve Adams for her behaviour in a heated nomination battle, but she will still be allowed to run in a new Ontario riding.

The party's governing body issued separate letters to Adams and to the riding association president of the Oakville North-Burlington following a conference call late Wednesday.

Sources say that in the letter to Adams, party president John Walsh calls her behaviour during a March riding association meeting unacceptable.

Fourteen members of the association had written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper complaining about the incident, where they allege she was abusive and refused to leave after being asked repeatedly to do so.

The riding president, Mark Fedak, had also listed a number of other concerns, including Adams' use of internal party membership lists and House of Commons mailing privileges to contact potential supporters.

Harper responded by asking the party to investigate the matter. The probe, led by party secretary Mike Lauer, took less than a week.

The result appears that while no party rules appeared to have been breached, Adams has been put on notice that the party is scrutinizing her actions.

"We expect that all campaigns and candidates will respect the rules of the Conservative Party of Canada on all matters related to nominations," party spokesman Cory Hann said in an email.

They have asked her campaign for an accounting of how much she has spent on the nomination so far, to determine whether she is staying within prescribed Elections Canada limits.

That spending would have to include any work done by fiancee Dimitri Soudas. Soudas resigned as executive director of the Conservative Party when it came to light he had been using his position to help her campaign.

The party also pointedly reminded Adams that she still needs to pass an interview with its National Candidate Selection Committee, and her conduct going forward would be taken into consideration.

Neither Adams' team, nor that of her rival, chiropractor Natalia Lishchyna, were immediately available for comment.

One insider said the party was hesitant to disallow Adams, because the grassroots should have the final say in who represents them.

Still, it was the second time in the month that the national council has issued such a rebuke. The party also scolded MP Rob Anders for what it felt were misleading calls made in his own nomination battle in a Calgary riding.

The party is holding open nominations for the first time since it formed government, meaning incumbent MPs do not get any special protection from challengers.

"We're trying to show our members that we mean business when we say it's going to be above board, and we don't care if it embarrasses certain MPs," said one Conservative, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he/she was not authorized to speak publicly.

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