Montreal

Trudeau shoots down idea of constitutional negotiations (again)

If it wasn't clear enough the first time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is once again shutting the door on Premier Philippe Couillard's call for talks aimed at bringing Quebec into the constitutional fold.

Prime minister offers further justification after nixing Quebec premier's proposal last week

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau smiles as he leaves a news conference at the Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Que. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

If it wasn't clear enough the first time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is once again shutting the door on Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard's call for a return to constitutional talks.

Trudeau said Thursday that future discussions about Canadian unity could happen without entering a formal process.

"There's a great working relationship between me and the premier of Quebec, and there's going to continue to be," he told a news conference in La Malbaie, northeast of Quebec City.

"But as I've said many times since the very beginning of my political career, I think those conversations need not go through constitutional negotiations." 

Trudeau added that he and his Quebec MPs work regularly to increase Canada's impact in the day-to-day lives of Quebecers.

Trudeau not interested in Constitutional negotiations 1:13

It was Trudeau's first meeting with reporters in the province since Couillard said last week his government wants to hold coast-to-coast discussions on Quebec's place in Canada. Ultimately, Couillard said he would like Quebec to sign the 1982 Constitution.

Last week, Trudeau quickly responded by saying his views on the matter were clear, and his government has no intention of reopening the Constitution.

Sovereignist parties suggested Trudeau's quick rejection of Couillard's plan was an insult to the province, while some pundits suggested the provincial government's proposed tour of the rest of Canada was likely for domestic consumption ahead of the 2018 provincial election.

With files from The Canadian Press