Trudeau uninterested in Quebec plan to reopen constitution debate

Ahead of a cabinet meeting Thursday, Trudeau dismisses the Quebec idea as a nonstarter

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in an armchair discussion with Tina Brown (not shown) at the Women in the World Summit at the David H. Koch Theater of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York on Thursday, April 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New York on Thursday, April 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

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.

MORE: Quebec government wants to reopen constitution debate

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.