Quebec Premier François Legault took to Twitter to apologize for a "bad joke" he made about a veteran Liberal MNA being dead, just as that politician was getting to address the National Assembly during the question period.
"Isn't he dead?" said Legault in reference to Pierre Arcand, who represents the Mont-Royal—Outremont riding in Montreal.
The premier's comments instantly drew the ire of André Fortin, who is the Official Opposition house leader. Fortin stood up and demanded the premier withdraw the comment.
"It's not even funny Mister Premier. Comments like that regarding colleagues have no place in this assembly," Fortin said.
Fortin then addressed the Speaker of the National Assembly and requested that the premier "do the honourable thing and … withdraw his words."
Legault did so.
"Pierre Arcand is a friend," the premier later wrote on Twitter. "It was a bad joke. I apologized."
Shortly after the verbal exchange, Arcand met with reporters, looking rattled. By behaving the way he did, Legault was not worthy of being the premier of Quebec, the MNA said.
"I am very shaken by these words," Arcand said, adding that Legault's comment was a "shot below the belt" and displayed a flagrant lack of respect towards him.