Canadian Jewish groups said Monday it was "inappropriate" and "incomprehensible" for Liberal MP Jean Lapierre to use a Nazi analogy to criticize comments made by the leader of the Bloc QuÃ©bÃ©cois.
Gilles Duceppe had told a group of supporters on Sunday while campaigning for the Jan. 23 election that his party would make the Liberals "disappear" from Quebec.
Transport Minister Lapierre shot back by saying: "That kind of language, where you say you want to make your opponents disappear, there's a little bit of a Nazi tone in that."
Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said that while he understands things are said in the heat of passion during an election campaign, comments like Lapierre's have a "tendency to minimize the horrors of Nazism."
"While Mr. Duceppe's words may have been overzealous, the Nazi analogy made by Mr. Lapierre was regrettably inappropriate," Farber told CBC News Online.
"I don't think one can really compare anything in the democratic nation of Canada to Nazism," he said in Toronto.
Frank Dimant, vice-president of B'nai Brith Canada, told CBC News Online it's "totally illogical and unfair to invoke Nazi imagery in this context.
"It's totally incomprehensible how the notion of a Nazi regime and the atrocities it conducted [compares] to someone who spoke in terms of winning in an election by eliminating the opposition party," Dimant said.
Duceppe apologized for his remarks Monday, saying he was overly enthusiastic and that he only meant to say he wants his party to win every riding in Quebec in the Jan. 23 election.
Irene Marcheterre, a spokeswoman for the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec), said Lapierre told a radio station Monday that he will no longer use the Nazi word to make a comparison like that.