OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau is throwing cold water on the Quebec government’s plan to reopen the constitutional debate.
The prime minister is responding to a Canadian Press report that Quebec is embarking on a broad national discussion in the coming months in the hopes of having the province’s distinct character officially recognized.
Premier Philippe Couillard is to announce his plan later today, but Trudeau – arriving on Parliament Hill for a cabinet meeting in Ottawa – is already dismissing it as a non-starter.
He says he has no plans to reopen the Constitution.
The Canadian Press obtained a copy of Couillard’s thinking on Quebec’s place within Canada, a 200-page founding document entitled, “Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadians.”
The document states the famous “five conditions” for approval first set out by former Quebec premier Robert Bourassa in 1986: recognition of Quebec as a distinct society, limits on federal spending power, guaranteed Quebec representation on the Supreme Court, a constitutional veto right and increased control over immigration.