MONTREAL — A Montreal-area Bloc Quebecois candidate has apologized for a Facebook post she wrote in support of an event hosted by a group that opposes the "Islamization" of Quebec.
Chantal St-Onge took to Facebook on Saturday to say she was "profoundly sorry" for a comment she wrote Sept. 13 in support of a demonstration hosted by the Quebec chapter of the European right-wing group Pegida.
St-Onge said she thought she was endorsing an anti-austerity protest and did not look carefully at who was hosting it.
"Today, I was told the invitation was given by a group I didn't know," she wrote. "I am a woman who is open to diversity, and to me we are all Quebecers regardless of our origin, our colour or other."
She went on to say she was "devastated" that people now believe she is associated with the group.
On Sept. 13, St-Onge commented on a Facebook invitation she had received for Pegida Quebec's Sept. 26 event, titled "rally against political austerity and religious law 59 (sharia)."
St-Onge wrote that she could not attend the event because of a wedding, but "I am with you with all with all my heart!"
The Quebec chapter of Pegida made headlines earlier this year after a planned Montreal protest against the "Islamization" of Quebec society was cancelled in the face of strong outcry.
St-Onge's comment drew strong reactions on social media, prompting the Bloc Quebecois to speak to their candidate and ask her to remove her comment Saturday.
"It was a mistake in good faith. It was a lack of knowledge of social media," said Mathieu St-Amand, press secretary for leader Gilles Duceppe.
He said St-Onge, a teacher, has been strongly affected by provincial austerity measures. She has attended previous anti-austerity marches in 2014.
"She thought it was an event against political austerity and not a Pegida Quebec event," St-Amand said.
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