Montreal

PQ under Jean-François Lisée similar to European far-right, Philippe Couillard says

Quebec's premier offered his congratulations Saturday to new Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, but not before linking him to Europe's far-right and suggesting he was bad for humanity.

Quebec premier congratulates new Opposition leader, suggests he's bad for humanity

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, right, had harsh words for the new Parti Québécois leader, Jean-François Lisée, on Saturday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Quebec's premier congratulated new Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée on Saturday, but not before linking him to Europe's far-right and suggesting he was bad for humanity.

Speaking during a visit to Iceland, Premier Philippe Couillard said that the PQ under Lisée bore a "family resemblance" to the populist anti-immigrant parties that have had varying degrees of success in places like Britain, France and Germany.

Couillard was making reference to elements of Lisée's campaign for the PQ leadership that dealt with immigration and identity issues.

During his campaign Lisée proposed banning the burka in public, criticized a rival for wishing Muslims well on a religious holiday and expressed concerns that Quebec's immigration levels were too high. 

"His narrative is one of a beleaguered nationalism, a nationalism of fear, of people who don't want to confront diversity, who prefer that Quebec remains closed in on itself," Couillard told reporters on Saturday.

"That's what we're seeing elsewhere in the world." 

Couillard added that this represented "a movement that is inherently negative for humanity."

Jean-François Lisée is the ninth leader of the Parti Québécois. He takes over from Pierre Karl Péladeau. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Also, congratulations

Shortly after offering his comments on the PQ's new leader, the premier tweeted along with Quebec's other political leaders in congratulating Lisée on his win.

"I invite him to collaborate, in a environment of respect, in the interests of Quebec," Couillard wrote.

Lisée spent several minutes of his victory speech on Friday night attacking Couillard's government over budget cuts and its handling of ethical scandals.

He made a direct appeal to Liberals voters, inviting them to vote for the PQ in order to get rid of what he called one of the worst governments in recent memory. 

"There is no shame in being ashamed of a shameful government," Lisée said.

The new PQ leader is not expected to address the media before Thursday. 

with files from La Presse Canadienne

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