MONTREAL — A senior member of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard's cabinet flatly denied Friday she has begun mobilizing a bid to succeed him as Liberal leader.
Dominique Anglade, who is deputy premier as well as economy minister, was quick to quash a report by Bernard Drainville, a former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister who is now a political pundit.
Drainville said on Montreal radio station 98.5 FM that several sources told him Anglade was working the Liberal rank and file, even going as far as promising cabinet positions if she became leader.
On Twitter, Anglade was quick to categorically deny the rumours and said she welcomed discussing the matter further with Drainville.
For his part, Couillard seemed unfazed by the rumours and said he believes Anglade, describing her as a woman of great quality.
But he told reporters he wouldn't necessarily view such an act as a lack of loyalty from Anglade, who was recruited personally by the Liberal leader.
Instead, Couillard said it demonstrates he's been able to surround himself with strong personalities.
"I take this with a lot of pride," Couillard said. "I've been able to surround myself with very strong people. That is proof of strong leadership.
"You have to be able to see that strong people around a leader are a testament to the strength of leadership. So for me, it's not a real issue."
Couillard recalled that when he was health minister in former premier Jean Charest's cabinet, there were stories every two weeks saying Couillard was preparing a succession, which he said was not the case.
"So it always happens in political parties," he said.
Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 1.
Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press