WRAPUP 2-Ride gets bumpier for Canada's Harper as second legislator quits

Mon Feb 9, 2015 2:39pm EST
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(Adds Conservative reaction, pollster comment, background)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA Feb 9 (Reuters) - A Canadian legislator called Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper "mean spirited" on Monday as she defected to the opposition Liberals, the second surprise departure in a week from a government facing an October election.

Sitting alongside Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Member of Parliament Eve Adams told reporters the right-of-center Conservative Party no longer shares her values.

"I can no longer support mean-spirited leadership that divides people instead of bringing them together," she said.

The move follows Foreign Minister John Baird's surprise resignation last week, which came amid talk of a split with Harper's office over Russia policy and other issues.

Harper has been in power since early 2006 and most polls show the Conservatives neck-and-neck with the Liberals. If an election were held now, the most likely result would be that Harper would lose his majority in the House of Commons.

The defection was not entirely surprising as Adams had fallen out with the Conservatives in a messy row over her nomination.

The Conservatives said they told Adams on Jan. 29 she would not be allowed to run for the party in October on the grounds of misconduct. In public and private, well-placed Conservatives told Reuters they were glad she had gone.   Continued...