01/27/2012 12:25 EST | Updated 03/28/2012 05:12 EDT

PQ talks strategy at party meeting

Party unity will be a key theme when PQ Leader Pauline Marois gives her keynote speech Friday night at a weekend delegate meeting in Montreal.

A week ago Marois was bracing for the test of her political life, with former Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe testing the waters as her prospective replacement.

Rank and file party members took turns speaking out against Marois, criticizing the PQ's polling numbers and policy direction.

But controversy sparked by allegations that Duceppe used public funds for partisan gains neutralized any immediate threat to Marois's leadership.

About 1,000 delegates are gathered at the Montreal meeting to talk strategy ahead of the next provincial election.

New candidate will challenge Liberal minister

Earlier Friday the PQ unveiled its third new candidate in a week.

Marois introduced Dr. André Beaudoin as the party's candidate for the Laviolette riding in Quebec's Mauricie region, currently held by Liberal employment minister Julie Boulet.

Beaudoin, currently secretary-general Quebec's farmers' union (Union des Producteurs Agricoles), will be a key figure in the PQ's agricultural platform, Marois said.

"Many farmers are at a breaking point, and we must help them," she said at a news conference.

Last week the PQ announced two other candidates: ecologist Daniel Breton and Dr. Réjean Hébert, the former dean of the University of Sherbrooke's Faculty of Medicine.

Meeting commuters

The PQ also met with commuters on Montreal Friday morning ahead of its weekend convention.

PQ elected officials were at Beaubien, Honoré Beaugrand, Mount Royal and Pie IX metro stations handing out literature promoting the party's platform.

They focused on issues including seniors and family, public transit, students and workers, poverty and language.