PQ must 'disavow' candidate's views: Jewish group

An advocacy organization for Montreal’s Jewish community is calling on the Parti Québécois to condemn what it calls a "conspiracy theory" promoted by one of its candidates.

Louise Mailloux apologizes for causing offence, but doesn't retract her views on 'kosher tax'

PQ candidate Louise Mailloux apologized Saturday for the offence she may have caused with her views on Jewish religious customs, but did not retract them. (CBC)

An advocacy organization for Montreal’s Jewish community is once again calling on the Parti Québécois to "disavow" what it says is a conspiracy theory promoted by one of its candidates.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs rejected an apology offered Saturday afternoon by Louise Mailloux, the PQ candidate for the Montreal riding of Gouin, for her views on the Jewish practice of circumcision, which she equated to “rape,” and her past promotion of a theory that says the price of kosher goods are inflated to the financial benefit the Jewish community and Jewish political interests.

The group said the theory was first espoused by the Ku Klux Klan before being picked up by neo-Nazi groups.

“Far from retracting or denying her support for an undeniably anti-semitic conspiracy theory of the ‘kosher tax,’ Ms. Mailloux is saying she was misunderstood,” the CIJA said via news release.

“We again insist that the Parti Québécois assume its responsibilities and categorically disavow the conspiracy theory promoted by its candidate.”

In a news release issued Saturday, Mailloux, described herself as a “activist for secularism” who made the remarks in the context of the 2008 debate around reasonable religious accommodations in Quebec.

“Concerning my declarations on certain religious practices, I never wanted to offend or hurt anyone. If that’s the case, I offer my sincere apologies,” she said.

Mailloux, who teaches philosophy at a Montreal CEGEP, said she entered politics to defend the PQ’s proposed secular ‘values’ charter and define the limits of religious accommodations in Quebec.

PQ leader Pauline Marois has refused to condemn Mailloux’s past remarks, saying only that the candidate now adheres to her party’s proposed secular charter and the PQ’s political platform, which respect religious diversity.