09/07/2014 02:32 EDT | Updated 11/07/2014 05:59 EST

Philippe Couillard softens Constitution talk

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard spent part of Sunday correcting the record on comments he made yesterday about Quebec’s place in Canada.

Couillard said the text of his speech at a Quebec City event yesterday marking the 200th anniversary of George-Etienne Cartier’s birth made no mention of Quebec eventually signing Canada’s Constitution.

He said he only highlighted the need for asserting Quebec’s place in Canada as a founding partner of Confederation.

Couillard said he wants that to be a central theme in the lead-up to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

“But [the speech] does not say anything more than that,” he told reporters.

Media reports quoted Couillard saying he wants Quebec to sign the Constitution by 2017.

Couillard said his government is focused on jobs and Quebec’s economic growth.

“If we can advance [the Constitutional] file, all the better, but it’s not at all a priority for our government,” he said.

Couillard has talked in the past of having Quebec sign the Constitution by 2017, but backed down after facing heavy criticism from the Parti Québécois.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared at the same event with Couillard yesterday. 

Harper's communications director said the federal government has no interest in re-opening Canada's Constitution.