UPDATE: Day 24 of election campaign: PQ candidate stays mum on past comments about Jewish community

A Parti Quebecois candidate is refusing to explain controversial comments she made online about Montreal's Hasidic Jewish community several years ago.

Michelle Blanc said today she was drawing inspiration from former British prime minister Winston Churchill as she repeatedly answered "no comment'' to a series of reporter questions.

Blanc has drawn criticism throughout the campaign for her controversial social media posts, including a 2007 blog post in which she said it would be easier if the Hasidic community disappeared from her view.

In 2011, she wrote on Twitter about having forgotten to celebrate Adolf Hitler's birthday, a post she later ascribed to "dark humour.''

Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee once again defended his candidate at a campaign event this morning, saying he's already explained the matter from every angle.

Lisee, who promised fibre-optic connection throughtout Quebec on Saturday, has previously defended Blanc's comments on the Jewish community by saying she has a right to free speech and a right to criticize religions.

Meantime, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard promised better vocational training.

Speaking in Quebec City, he pledged free part-time technical training programs at CEGEPs.

One of Couillard’s favourite topics on the campaign trail has been Quebec’s labour shortage.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault continued to fight back against criticism of his party's plan to reduce immigration.

Legault told reporters in Cap-Sante, west of Quebec City, that the media and Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard were blowing the issue out of proportion and that average Quebecers were more interested in hearing about health care or how to get more money in their pockets.

Couillard insisted it was Legault who was bringing the issue into the spotlight in an attempt to gain votes.
 

 

-With files from the Canadian Press