Pierre Karl Péladeau spent the first moments of his party's caucus retreat justifying his legal threats against opponents, backing away from a key promise, and denying internal party strife.
The Parti Québécois leader and his caucus are in Saguenay for two days to map out their strategy for the upcoming legislative session. But that work is being eclipsed by other issues.
On his way into their morning meeting, Péladeau told reporters he's "reflecting" on whether to take legal action against Liberal House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier, who yesterday told reporters Péladeau would violate election laws if he donated money from his fortune to start a sovereignty think tank.
Péladeau has already served Coalition Avenir Québec leader François Legault and one of his MNAs with a legal notice over similar comments.
Péladeau continues to face questions about that key campaign promise of his: the creation of a sovereignty think tank, an organization that would research independence and produce information the PQ can use to promote sovereignty to Quebeckers.
He promised to launch it at the end of 2015. It has not launched yet and he would not give details about when the think tank will get off the ground, nor how it will be financed.
Internal strife for PQ?
Internal strife is also posing a distraction for the leader, including reports that Péladeau wants to turf his new chief of staff, former PQ minister and Radio-Canada journalist Pierre Duchesne. Péladeau denies those reports.
Then there is yesterday's announcement by the CAQ's Legault. He told reporters that he has spoken to unhappy PQ MNAs who are thinking about joining his party. PQ Deputy House Leader Agnès Maltais calls Legault's statements "ridiculous."
Péladeau does not believe these questions will eclipse the task at hand.
"We're going to work today," he said on his way into this morning's caucus meeting.
"We were supposed to have fantastic people that would run the economy. Unfortunately, what we're seeing, despite the fact they said we would create 250,000 jobs, there's no such a thing happening now."
Péladeau left the retreat early to attend the funeral of his ex-partner's father in France, returning to Quebec on Friday for Rene Angélil's funeral in Montreal.