Montreal

François Legault's wife says Justin Trudeau isn't 'competent'

Isabelle Brais has apologized after taking a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a pre-campaign fundraiser last month.

Isabelle Brais has apologized for comments made at pre-campaign event in Westmount

François Legault and Isabelle Brais get off the bus at a campaign stop in Tadoussac on Wednesday. (Cathy Senay/CBC)

Isabelle Brais, the wife of Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault, took a shot at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a pre-campaign fundraiser last month, saying, "I don't think he's competent."

Speaking about how a CAQ government would work with the federal government, Brais did not hold back.

"[Co-operation] is not going to happen with Justin Trudeau, it's not going to happen with Justin Trudeau. [His] father was brilliant, but he is not," she said, in English.

CBC News has a recording of the event, held on Aug. 14 with CAQ candidates Michelle Morin, who is running in Westmount-Saint Louis and Benoit Charette, the incumbent for Deux-Montagnes.

CBC's Quebec Poll Tracker shows Legault's CAQ is poised to win the most seats in next week's provincial election, meaning he may be working with Trudeau in the very near future.

On Wednesday, at a campaign event in Tadoussac, Legault said his wife has opinions and is spontaneous but that she has apologized for her words.

When asked by reporters if he shared his wife's opinion regarding the Trudeaus, Legault said, "I am not able to judge who is the brightest of the two."

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who represents a Montreal riding, said Wednesday he was pleased to hear Brais had apologized.

"I'm happy because her comments obviously don't have a place in politics."

Anglophone secretariat 'reductive'

Brais also said Quebec is different than other provinces.

"Have you been to Saskatchewan? It's almost the United States!" she said, adding that Ontarians only watch American TV.

In an exchange with a citizen who spoke about the "anglophone ministry," a reference to the Secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers set up by Philippe Couillard's Liberal government, Brais agreed with the citizen, who was against the ministry.

"It's reductive, it's insulting," she said.

Speaking at the English-language debate, Legault said he would keep the secretariat if elected.

When asked the same question earlier in the campaign, he said he would keep it only "if it's useful."


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