Lyne Jubinville, a Parti Québécois (PQ) candidate in Laval’s Sainte-Rose riding, has walked back some of her anti-Islam comments she made years ago on social media after facing pressure from the party's leader.

In August 2011, when Le Devoir published an article on Ramadan, Jubinville commented that Islam did not belong in Quebec.

“Islam, that’s not here. You have come to the wrong door,” she wrote. “We got out of one religion with great support of the Quiet Revolution: that was not to fall back into another.”

She also noted the spread of Islam in Montreal, claiming that “less than five years ago [from 2011], a covered woman on Sainte-Catherine Street was as exotic as a Malinois canary.”

Identifying as an atheist and a feminist, Jubinville also wrote “Why are hijabs increasingly invading our public landscape?” back in 2013, under an article on Quebec bilingualism from the Journal de Montréal.

In 2016, the candidate also denounced the “silence” of authorities about “immigrants who commit assaults” towards Quebec women in an open letter to former Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

On Tuesday, the Laval candidate said she wanted to "clarify" some of her past statements.

"I fully recognize the right of new Quebecers and all Quebecers to believe in God and to go to the places of worship of their choice according to their religion," Jubinville wrote in a post on her Facebook page.

"Although I am very critical of the effect of religions on women's rights, I recognize that everyone in Quebec has the right to their convictions and therefore has the right to exercise their religion."


For PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, he said there is a fine line between criticizing religious integration and singling out one religion.

“There are things I accept at the Parti Québécois, notably criticizing religions from a feminist perspective. I think it’s acceptable and necessary,” he said at a press conference Tuesday after meeting with Mayor Valérie Plante.

“However,” he added, “we can’t say to new Quebecers: ‘We are atheists here in Quebec, and you can’t believe in God, you can’t go to your temple.’”

The party leader had given Jubinville two options: either to resign from the race, or to retract her comments.

But he also defended the candidate, saying she also criticized the Catholic faith in the past, not just Islam.

St-Pierre Plamondon told the press that Jubinville respects the rights of people who believe in God, though she still stands by her feminist position.

To avoid any doubts and continue the race, Jubinville was asked to issue a written statement denouncing her comments that specifically targeted Islam.