Andre Boisclair, Wednesday.

The frontrunner in the Parti Quebecois leadership race says he's shocked the new Governor General publicly joked about his admitted cocaine use.

Speaking on Wednesday prior to a leadership debate, Andre Boisclair said he was surprised by Michaëlle Jean's speech at the Oct. 22 Parliamentary Press Gallery dinner.

Jean made several references to Boisclair, including one that played on the meaning of the word "coke" and another that said he always followed the party "line."

In September, Boisclair admitted to using cocaine in the 1990s when he was a Quebec provincial cabinet minister.

The dinner, attended by federal party leaders, several premiers, dignitaries and journalists, was broadcast on the cable channel, CPAC. Leaders take turns roasting themselves and each other at the annual dinner, including Jean who said she got the job because she was "hot."

"Mrs. Jean was not participating in a private event. Mrs. Jean was participating in a public event, televised, taped," said Boisclair.

Boisclair was pressed on his cocaine use during a news conference after the debate.

He told reporters he did the drug "a few times ... seven or eight years ago."

He became visibly upset when asked whether he got the drug from a source tied to organized crime, telling reporters his revelation wasn't any different from Quebec Premier Jean Charest's admission he smoked marijuana.

"Honestly, do we ask Jean Charest where he bought his pot from? If the person who sold him pot had links to criminals," said Boisclair, who then cut off questioning.

Two of his leadership rivals said they're worried the issue will hurt the Nov. 13-15 leadership vote.

Pierre Dubuc told reporters Boisclair should come clean about his past drug use, while Jean Ouimet said he hopes no more revelations come out during an election campaign against the Liberals.