Quebec’s International Relations Minister Christine St-Pierre has retracted her recent claim that her Parti Québécois predecessor, Jean-François Lisée, charged Quebec taxpayers for personal travel to Paris to visit his wife, who lives there.
"I understand that my declaration could have been interpreted as an attack on the integrity of Mr. Lisee and I want to withdraw them. I also understand that Mr. Lisée and his wife have been hurt, so I want to apologize," she told reporters.
Lisée threatened to sue St-Pierre for defamation on Tuesday if the Liberal minister did not retract her allegation.
St-Pierre replied Tuesday to say her questions about Lisée’s 11 missions to Paris over the span of 18 months were “legitimate” and not defamatory.
Lisée said he only made five trips to France, as well as a number of stopovers in Paris while flying to and from Quebec on overseas missions.
Lisée's Cabinet portfolio also included La Francophonie, which is headquartered in Paris.
He admitted to seeing his family while he was in France, but insisted that he covered all the costs connected to those visits.
St-Pierre said the file is now being investigated by Ministry of International Relations officials.