Trudeau called on to retract 'one nation' Canada Day message

A candidate in the Parti Québecois leadership race is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to retract his reference to "one nation," made during his Canada Day address.

PQ leadership hopeful says prime minister insulted Quebecers in his speech

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves at the conclusion of the Canada Day noon hour show on Parliament Hill. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

A candidate in the Parti Québecois leadership race is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to retract his reference to "one nation," made during his Canada Day address.

Martine Ouellet, a former Quebec cabinet minister, shared a video of the address on her Facebook page on Saturday.

Trudeau tells Canadians that "Today, we celebrate the day, exactly 149 years ago, when the people of this great land came together, and forged one nation, one country – Canada."

Ouellet accuses Trudeau of "reinventing history" by referring to one nation. 

"It's an direct insult to the Quebec nation, an insult to everything our heritage represents," Ouellet wrote in the post. 

"Justin Trudeau has to retract and recognize the Quebec nation."

Is Quebec a nation?

Whether Quebec constitutes a nation has long been a source of controversy. The question is related to the province's constitutional status and was at the heart of the failed Meech Lake Accord.   

In 2006, then prime minister Stephen Harper introduced a motion calling on the House of Commons to recognize that "Québécois form a nation within a united Canada." 

The motion passed by a large majority, though there were several holdouts within the Liberal party, which was holding its own leadership race at the time. 

Martine Ouellet is among five candidates vying for the PQ leadership. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

At the time, Trudeau, who was not yet an MP, criticized Michael Ignatieff for endorsing the motion. Trudeau ended up backing Gerard Kennedy in the leadership race, which was eventually won by Stéphane Dion. Kennedy also opposed the motion. Trudeau had claimed that his father, the late prime minister, would never have supported recognition of Quebec as a nation.

In her Facebook post, Ouellet linked Trudeau's position to his father's. 

"Trudeau's true face was revealed yesterday," she wrote. "From father to son, it's the same difference."

Ouellet is one of five candidates vying to replace Pierre Karl Péladeau as PQ leader. The winner will be announced October 7.