Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said a policy of multiculturalism in England has led to people "beating each other up and setting off bombs" because the society has no clear sense of identity.
She made the comments in an exclusive interview with the French-language newspaper Le Devoir about the Parti Québécois’ proposed charter of values.
In the interview, she said women working in daycares who wear hijabs are in a position to influence children to practice religion.
The statements were made in defence of the party’s recent firm stance on promoting secularism in the province.
In an exclusive interview with CBC News, federal Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau said he thinks Marois’s comments are off base.
"I think Mme. Marois has miscalculated her expectation of what Quebecers are going to respond to," he said.
Provincial Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard had stronger words for the premier.
He said he was extremely worried by her comments.
"It shows lack of judgment and knowledge at the same time. On the contrary, the UK is a good example of openness and inclusiveness, and to say there’s no social or racial or religious tension in France doesn't correspond to the exact situation," Couillard said.
Elements of the Parti Québécois’s proposed secular charter were leaked nearly three weeks ago.
Since then, it’s come under fire by a number of politicians and groups.
Couillard said Friday that the proposed charter is part of a PQ plan to divide Quebecers. "It creates division and I’m afraid this is the objective here," he said.
Marois said the official charter won’t be tabled until the end of the national assembly’s fall session.