09/26/2013 20:26 EDT | Updated 11/26/2013 05:12 EST

Duchesneau grills Boisclair on $2.6M grant, cocaine use

The Coalition Avenir Quebec is not backing down from its questions about the personal life of former Parti Québécois leader André Boisclair.

Boisclair and the PQ demanded that MNA Jacques Duchesneau apologize for comments he made on Wednesday, recalling Boisclair’s admissions of cocaine use and suggesting he obtained his drugs from members of organized crime.

- CAQ wants Boisclair recalled from New York post

On Thursday, Boisclair sent Duchesneau a lawyer’s letter demanding he retract his statements about a $2.6-million subsidy granted to friend and businessman Paul Sauvé four days before the 2003 election.

Sauvé testified at the province’s corruption inquiry last week and was subject to a publication ban.

However, some of that testimony was released on Tuesday and in it, Sauvé said he got the subsidy because he and Boisclair, who at the time was municipal affairs minister, were friends.

Duchesneau questioned whether there were any links between Boisclair, his admitted past cocaine use and Sauvé’s alleged connections to the Hells Angels.

“Where did he buy his drugs in 2003, while he was a cabinet minister?” asked Duchesneau.

“Where? Société des alcools du Québec?”

CAQ asks Boisclair to come clean

In response to Boisclair’s lawyer’s letter, Duchesneau said he was simply trying to get down to the bottom of the matter.

“I am not trying to defame, in any way shape or form, Mr. Boisclair. I am asking former Minister Boisclair to come forward and answer the questions we rightly have,” he said.

CAQ Leader Francois Legault backed Duchesneau up, saying they have the right to ask these kinds of questions.

“It's an important question. Right now we know that Mr. Boisclair, four days before the vote, gave $2.6 million of taxpayers’ money to a friend,” Legault said.

For its part, the PQ stood by Boisclair, who is currently Quebec’s chief trade representative in New York City.

“These are serious accusations and Mr. Duchesneau should explain himself and apologize,” said Premier Pauline Marois.

In light of the allegations against Boisclair, word emerged on Thursday that Legault had authorized a multimillion-dollar grant just two weeks before that same 2003 election day.

Legault said that was different because he had to sign the authorization letter before the end of the fiscal year, and the money was going to a hospital project in Quebec City, not to a friend.