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QUEBEC — Pierre Karl Peladeau’s plan for indepedence has nothing to do with reality and the new Parti Quebecois leader is living in a parallel world, Premier Philippe Couillard said Tuesday.

He said the sovereignty being proposed by the media baron is an imaginary solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

He told reporters his Liberal government will continue to focus on the economy.

“Talking to Quebecers about real issues and real solutions to those real issues — not imaginary situations, imaginary problems of course, not imaginary situations,” he said.

“Quebecers are a happy prosperous people within Canada and they’ve strived within Canada while still asserting their identity and who they are and who we are and that’s again what we’ll keep repeating.”

The Quebec premier also said the new PQ leader made it clear in his victory speech Friday that Quebec sovereignty will be the major issue of the 2018 election campaign.

In his speech, Peladeau told supporters he had received the mandate from the party to make Quebec independent.

“The choice will be clear,” Couillard said. “Monsieur Peladeau himself has made clear what the theme of the next election would be.”

The premier, who was taking part in an investment announcement, added that Quebecers are more concerned with their quality of life, economic growth, jobs and the sound management of public finances.

Couillard made his comments just hours before Peladeau’s first scheduled appearance in the legislature as PQ leader.

The Canadian Press

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