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Quebec cabinet minister apologizes to PQ predecessor over travel allegations

Quebec Culture Minister Christine St-P�erre responds to Opposition questions over comments she made about artists wearing the red square to protest tuition hikes, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at the legislature in Quebec City. St-Pierre is apologizing to her Parti Quebecois predecessor for comments she made about his frequent trips to France. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

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Quebec Culture Minister Christine St-P�erre responds to Opposition questions over comments she made about artists wearing the red square to protest tuition hikes, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at the legislature in Quebec City. St-Pierre is apologizing to her Parti Quebecois predecessor for comments she made about his frequent trips to France. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

QUEBEC - Quebec's international relations minister apologed to her Parti Quebecois predecessor on Wednesday for comments she made about his frequent trips to France.

Jean-Francois Lisee threatened on Tuesday to sue Christine St-Pierre if she didn't retract her remarks within a week.

St-Pierre recently raised doubts about Lisee's integrity, saying he abused his position on his official trips to France.

Lisee's wife and children live near Paris and he visited them during missions and trips to the French capital during the 18 months he held the post.

On Wednesday, St-Pierre retracted her comments.

"I understand that my declaration could have been interpreted as an attack on the integrity of Mr. Lisee," she told reporters in Quebec City. "I want to withdraw them.

"I also understand that Mr. Lisee and his wife have been hurt, so I want to apologize."

Lisee said he appreciated St-Pierre's apology.

"I asked her to withdraw the remarks that could hurt my reputation and she's done so," he said.

"I accept the retraction. I asked her to apologize for the damage caused to my wife and my family and she's done that as well.

"Sandrine (Perrot) and I accept her apologies and the matter is closed."

St-Pierre said her department will continue to examine Lisee's trips abroad and that he will receive a report when it is ready.

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