08/14/2011 08:28 EDT | Updated 10/14/2011 05:12 EDT

Charest Wants Quebec Recognized As Nation Under Constitution.. Some Day


SHERBROOKE, Que. - Premier Jean Charest says he wants Quebec to one day be recognized as a nation under the Canadian Constitution.

But Charest says he doesn't plan to push to reopen constitutional talks any time soon.

He says his government will be ready when the time comes.

Charest has been reluctant to address the issue since becoming Quebec premier, after spending years participating in fruitless constitutional talks.

Charest was reacting to a motion introduced on the weekend by his party's youth wing.

The motion urged the Quebec Liberals to push for the province to be recognized as a nation if constitutional talks were to arise.

As a member of Brian Mulroney's cabinet, Charest had a front-row seat in the wrenching constitutional debates of the 1980s and 1990s.

He was a key point person on the Meech Lake file and lived through the Charlottetown debacle.

"I don't see it on the radar" as something that would be initiated any time soon, Charest told reporters Sunday in Sherbrooke, Que., at the end of the party's weekend youth meeting.

But Charest insisted his government "will be ready" if a new round of constitutional talks were to arise.