MONTREAL -- Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says there is no good reason exiled Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont hasn't been able to enter Canada.

Blanchet reacted to news today that Puigdemont's Quebec lawyer wrote to the federal government this week, giving it until Friday to render a decision on the exiled leader's request to visit Canada.

The former Catalan president, who fled Spain in 2017 to avoid prosecution after his regional government held an unauthorized referendum on independence, has been trying for months to get a permit to visit Canada.

Puigdemont's renewed request to visit Quebec independence activists comes as violence has erupted in Spain over a court decision this week to convict 12 former Catalan politicians and activists for their roles in the 2017 secession movement.

Blanchet says Canada has shied away like a mouse when it comes to defending the rights of Catalan separatists.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau have issues cautious responses to the Spanish violence, with both of them saying the events are an internal Spanish problem.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2019.

-- With files from The Associated Press