André Boisclair is suing Jacques Duchesneau and his party — the Coalition Avenir Québec — for what Boisclair calls abusive and defamatory statements.
At a press conference in Montreal, the former Parti Québécois leader and official representative for Quebec in New York City said he has instructed his attorneys to take legal action against Duchesneau, CAQ leader François Legault and the party itself, for damaging his reputation with statements made last Wednesday.
"I have been dragged through the mud because of no-holds-barred partisan politics," said Boisclair.
"Mr. Duchesneau's attempts at making petty and dishonest connections in order to destroy my reputation is despicable."
Last week, Duchesneau suggested a connection between a $2.5 million subsidy awarded by Boisclair for a construction project involving his friend and businessman Paul Sauvé, Sauvé's alleged ties to the Hells Angels, and Boisclair's past use of cocaine.
Boisclair was the municipal affairs minister minister at the time the subsidy was granted, in the run-up to the 2003 provincial election.
He told reporters today he was speaking as a citizen — and not as Quebec's delegate in New York — saying he wanted to be close to his family in Quebec during this difficult time.
Boisclair was relieved of his duties in New York on Friday to give him the opportunity to clear his reputation, after threatening Duchesneau with legal action if the CAQ MNA didn't retract the comments.
In a statement late Friday, Quebec's International Relations Minister Jean-François Lisée confirmed Boisclair had been granted temporary leave of his diplomatic post.
"I wish Mr. Boisclair good luck in these difficult times and I thank him for the excellent work he has accomplished in the last few months in New York," Lisée said.
The CAQ said Sunday it would seek legal advice before responding to the lawsuit against the party.