The Quebec Liberal Party says it is completely at ease with one of its high-profile candidates, despite the news that he recently got $1.2 million departure bonus.

Dr. Gaetan Barrette got the bonus when he left his job as head of Quebec Federation of Medical Specialists.

He's now running for the Liberals in La Piniere riding on the South Shore.

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said Wednesday he isn’t worried Barrette could be in a conflict of interest if he is named health minister.

Couillard emphasized that Barrette received the money as part of a private contract between him and the federation, and that he was not paid with public money..

The Liberal leader also said the bonus was taxable, so about half the amount is “already in the coffers of the government.”

News of Barrette’s bonus was first reported on the front page of the Journal de Montreal Wednesday morning, appearing with a headline that made a crude reference to Barrette’s weight.

Couillard blasted the newspaper for what he said was an “inelegant” reference to the Liberal candidate.

-- with files from The Canadian Press