03/13/2017 04:17 EDT | Updated 03/13/2017 04:19 EDT

Le Courrier du Sud, Montreal Paper, Removes Women's Day Cartoon Of Premier Stoning Colleague


MONTREAL — A Montreal-area weekly newspaper has removed an editorial cartoon from its website depicting Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard stoning a former Muslim colleague.

Couillard says he found the cartoon in poor taste but told reporters today his office didn't ask for it to be removed when it contacted Le Courrier du Sud's owners last Friday.

The work shows Couillard dressed in religious garb lobbing stones at Fatima Houda-Pepin to mark International Women's Day last week.

Houda-Pepin is a former Liberal who was ejected from caucus in 2014 after feuding with Couillard and the party over what she felt was a weak stance on identity issues.

A man looks at a cartoon by Jean-Marc Phaneuf that appeared in the Courrier du Sud weekly, on a computer screen in Montreal on Monday.

The cartoon was published in print and digital formats last week but was removed from the weekly newspaper's website today.

Jean-Marc Phaneuf, the longtime cartoonist behind the work, says he sees nothing controversial about the cartoon and is critical of the premier's interference in the matter.

For his part, Couillard said Monday he believes in freedom of expression but cautioned that exercising good judgment is part and parcel of it.

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