Quebec lawmaker calls visiting royals parasites

The Quebec government is demanding an apology from a legislator who compared the British royal family to parasites and circus performers.

Amir Khadir, leader of the tiny left-wing party Quebec solidaire, said Tuesday taxpayers have no business footing the bill for this summer's visit from Prince William and the former Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge.

Khadir said as a separatist he's opposed to the monarchy. He made the parasite remark in a Quebec tabloid and didn't back down on Tuesday when questioned by reporters.

"If this is a tourist attraction I would at least like it if the principals involved, the prince and the princess, knew it — knew that we're bringing them here a little bit like we do with circus tours," said Khadir, who is his party's only member of parliament.

Nathalie Normandeau, a cabinet minister in the Liberal provincial government, said Khadir's comments demonstrate a lack of class and said that many Quebecers have a lot of respect for the royal family.

Protests are expected when the royals stop in French-speaking Quebec. The couple will visit Montreal and Quebec City July 2 and 3.

A protest when Prince Charles visited in 2009 caused a disturbance at one of his planned Montreal stops but, otherwise, the prince received warm greetings from crowds at his other events in the city.