QUEBEC -- The Parti Québécois couldn't wait to confront its newest nemesis -- Justin Trudeau, the freshly appointed federal Liberal leader and first-born son of traditional foe Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Things did not go as planned.
By the end of the day, in fact, they were offering to buy Trudeau a beer. That invitation to quaff suds was the final twist in a bizarre string of events Thursday during Trudeau's first visit to meet with Quebec politicians since winning the leadership.
It all began with a provincial cabinet minister delivering a lengthy denunciation at a news conference. The source of his frustration: an alleged scheduling slight.
Jean-Francois Lisee told the assembled reporters Trudeau was behaving like some "young prince" because he had, supposedly, demanded to meet the leaders of all parties at the same time.
However, it turned out that information was wrong. People from various quarters, including the Quebec premier's office, disputed the basis for the cabinet minister's attack.
Lisee had been expressing disbelief that Trudeau would expect to meet the leaders of Quebec's three biggest parties at one single gathering.
"He's not even the leader of the official Opposition in Ottawa -- he's the leader of the second opposition party -- and he thinks he can meet the three party leaders at the same time?" Lisee told a morning news scrum.
"Like some young prince, descending from Ottawa, to meet those who could become his subjects.
"He wanted the three party leaders of Quebec to organize their schedules to meet him at the same time. That gives you an idea of the gap between the reality of the Quebecois nation and its institutions, its political parties, and the incomprehension of the new Liberal leader of Quebec democracy."
Almost immediately, that version of events was disputed. Not only by Trudeau's office, and by Quebec's opposition parties, but also by Lisee's own boss.
"It was a communication error. And that error was transmitted to Mr. Lisee and Mr. Lisee 'scrummed' on bad information," said a spokesman for PQ Premier Pauline Marois. "The request was to meet the three leaders -- but individually."
Lisee wound up sounding a more conciliatory note. "Well, it seems Justin and I were victims of a communication error between his office and that of my PM. It happens," Lisee tweeted later. "I'm offering to buy him a beer in Montreal. I'll take a Tremblay (beer) but would be prepared to buy him a (Molson) Canadian... Or vice-versa."
Trudeau did meet Thursday with the leaders of Quebec's two biggest oppostion parties, the Liberals and the Coalition for Quebec's Future.
He did not see Marois; a spokeswoman for the premier said Marois wasn't available Thursday, but that she would welcome suggestions for a future meeting date.
-- The Canadian Press