(Watch above: PQ riding presidents were in Sherbooke Saturday to fix rules for the upcoming leadership race. However another question took precedence. Caroline Plante explains.)
SHERBROOKE – Jean-François Lisée came out guns blazing against potential rival Pierre Karl Péladeau on Saturday.
“I think someone needs to have the gall to stand up at this point and say: Mr. Péladeau, there’s a problem.”
Parti Quebecois MNAs and riding presidents were spending the day in Sherbrooke to hammer out the details of the leadership race.
Lisée made no secret he is interested in running for PQ leader and he warned Péladeau, the majority shareholder of Quebecor, is a ticking time bomb.
“My belief, my value, my principle is that you cannot be a head of a party, let alone Premier, and control the first media in Quebec. It’s just not possible,” he said.
Lisée said it’s important the PQ address conflict of interest issues bound to make the party more vulnerable.
He said being a shareholder is legal, just like it was legal for Education Minister Yves Bolduc to claim a $215 000 bonus for seeing patients while being MNA. The PQ asked for Bolduc’s resignation.
“Of course if you want to become chief of a party you have to be above the rules,” agreed PQ MNA Nicolas Marceau.
Still, Péladeau has been busy lately changing his image and rallying supporters.
A recent Léger Marketing poll shows his star is rising; 53% of péquistes polled support him.
“I have confidence in Mr. Péladeau’s judgement,” said PQ MNA Pascal Bérubé. “It’s not the job of Mr. Lisée, one day before a great rally, to ask those kinds of questions.”
Even union leader Marc Laviolette was having a change of heart.
“Péladeau criticizing the government’s austerity measures is music to my ears,” he told reporters.
While Quebec’s ethics commissioner deliberates, Péladeau insists he will not sell his shares, a legacy from his father.
“What’s important now is that we work together to achieve sovereignty,” he said in French.
Péladeau refused to take questions in English.
Other PQ members said Péladeau’s situation is fine…for now.
They look forward to a leadership race they believe will test Péladeau’s positions and character.