Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc has apologized for comments he made last week that dismissed fears that budget cuts could force school boards to purchase fewer books.

“Children won’t die from it,” he told a Le Devoir reporter last week. “It won’t stop a single child from reading. There are still plenty of books in the libraries.”

On Tuesday Bolduc, interviewed on his way to a cabinet meeting in Quebec City, retracted the comments and apologized for making them.

Bolduc said that he was “very unhappy” about making the statement and said he was is an avid reader. “I am someone who believes in reading,” he said.

Bolduc was previously under intense attack for financial bonuses he received for taking on medical patients for a short time while out of politics.

-With a file from The Canadian Press