September 7, 2014 12:39 pm
Updated: September 7, 2014 12:43 pm

Harper won’t entertain Couillard’s constitution talks

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard shake hands at a celebration marking the 200th anniversary of George-Étienne Cartier, Saturday, September 6, 2014 in Quebec City.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

QUEBEC – The Prime Minister’s Office says the Harper government has no intention of re-opening constitutional talks.

READ MORE: Premier Philippe Couillard wants Quebec to sign Constitution

A spokesman for Stephen Harper was reacting to Quebec’s premier‘s desire that his province sign the Constitution by 2017.

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Philippe Couillard first raised the matter during this year’s provincial election, and he did so again Saturday during an event in Quebec City that Harper also attended.

WATCH: Philippe Couillard’s speech about uniting province

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The two joined in marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir George-Etienne Cartier, a French-Canadian statesman viewed as one of the Fathers of Confederation.

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Couillard says Cartier’s vision of a united Canada with “a strong Quebec identity” could serve as an inspiration in future constitutional talks.

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Harper didn’t take questions after the speech, but his spokesman says the government will continue to practice a federalism that respects Quebec and provincial jurisdiction.

WATCH: Philippe Couillard outlines priorities

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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