Parti Québecois leader candidate Martine Ouellet said in a video posted her Facebook page Saturday that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent statement calling Canada "one nation" is "reinventing history".
"It's a direct insult to the Quebec nation, an insult to everything our heritage represents," Ouellet wrote on Facebook.
On Canada Day, July 1st, Justin Trudeau said "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 called for Trudeau to retract his statement and recognize Quebec as a nation.
Quebec, the largest and second most populated province of Canada, has a long record of struggle for independence that can be traced at least to 1960, when several diverse political groups coalesced in the formation of the Parti Québécois, which is now a primary mainstream political vehicle for the Quebec sovereignty movement.
Quebec's current status allows it a high degree of autonomy, including its own property legislation, civil legislation, justice, healthcare and education regulation.
Justin Trudeau is known for his anti-separatism position. 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." Trudeau, who was not an MP at the time of events, backed Gerard Michael Kennedy, a Liberal Party leader candidate who opposed the motion.
Trudeau had reportedly claimed that his father, the late prime minister, would never have supported recognition of Quebec as a nation.