A meeting convened to set the rules for the next Parti Québécois leadership race has been overshadowed by a public spat between Jean-François Lisée and Pierre Karl Péladeau — specifically over Péladeau’s shares in Québecor.

Lisée and Péladeau are both MNAs and are considered strong contenders for the PQ leadership race.

Jean-François Lisée

Jean-François Lisée says even a whiff of a conflict of interest could be the downfall of the PQ, whose fate hangs in the balance as it moves toward electing a new party leader. (CBC)

On Friday, Lisée called on front-runner Péladeau to dump his shares in media monolith Québecor, or at least put them in a blind trust.

He said the time has come for Péladeau, who is Québecor’s majority shareholder, to choose between politics and being a media mogul.

Québecor owns telecommunications company Videotron, as well as a number of newspapers, magazines and other news outlets. The organization posted gross sales of nearly $4.3 billion in 2013.

Pierre Karl Péladeau

Pierre Karl Péladeau told reporters Thursday he "appreciates diversity" in Quebec. (CBC)

Lisée called the issue a ticking time bomb, saying that even the appearance of a conflict of interest could bring the PQ down.

Péladeau refused to address the issue yesterday — except on Facebook, where he said he would not sell the Québecor shares left to him by his late father and the founder of Québecor, Pierre Péladeau.

He later made the same statement on Saturday during the PQ meeting in Sherbrooke, Que.