Nationalist leaders of Quebec and Scotland to hold meeting

QUEBEC – The leader of Quebec’s independence movement will meet her Scottish equivalent next week, when Premier Pauline Marois visits Edinburgh.

The Quebec premier will have a meeting with Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond.

The encounter will take place Jan. 29 during Marois’ trip to Europe, where she will also visit London and Davos for the World Economic Forum.

Marois’ office says it will be an opportunity to underscore the parallels between the respective independence movements.

Although the Parti Quebecois and the Scottish National Party have forged ties over the years, it will be the first time their respective leaders meet while in power.

Unlike the Scottish nationalists, the PQ has already held two referendums in failed attempts at independence over the years and has set no timetable for a third such vote.

The SNP, on the other hand, is now planning to hold its first such referendum after being elected with a majority government for the first time since the creation of the modern Scottish parliament.

Their movements do share something in common: less-than-favourable polls.

A steady stream of surveys pegs support for Scottish independence at levels that suggest it might be hard to achieve when the referendum takes place in the fall of 2014.

Scotland has many powers, including jurisdiction over education, health, law and local government. But there are several areas — including economic policy — where it is dependent on decisions made in London.

Many Scots have long contended that revenues from North Sea oil should stay in Scotland, a situation they say would increase wealth in the country of slightly more than five million people.




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