Marois has low-profile meeting with Scotland's separatist leader
Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013 9:11AM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:54PM EST
A so-called ‘separatist summit’ between Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and her Scottish sovereigntist counterpart has been kept largely out of the media spotlight as the two leaders meet ahead of Scotland’s independence vote.
Marois paid a diplomatic visit to Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond on Tuesday, marking the Parti Quebecois leader's final stop on a week-long European visit.
Although the PQ and the SNP have forged ties over the years, Tuesday's meeting is the first time the parties' respective leaders are meeting while in power.
CTV's O'Hara-Byrne said Marois' Scotland visit has been kept largely out of the media spotlight.
He told CTV Montreal on Tuesday afternoon that Salmond has been "decidedly invisible" prior to the get-together.
"Mr. Salmond won’t be discussing the meeting once it’s done, leaving it to Pauline Marois to do that," he said. "She was received warmly, they are brothers in arms to some extent, but certainly Alex Salmond, a man that’s known to like the spotlight, today is keeping a low profile."
O'Hara-Byrne noted that Marois has offered the Scottish government extensive data collected by the PQ from both the 1980 and 1995 Quebec referendums. Scotland will hold its first independence referendum in fall 2014.
"We know they will be obviously discussing independence and the referendum," he said. "They’ll also be discussing other issues such as the eco and environment."
Prior to the meeting, Marois said she had no intention of interfering in the internal politics of the United Kingdom. Rather, she said her visit is intended to spur good relations and promote business partnerships for Quebec.
If Scotland were to declare its independence, the move would be regarded as boost to the push for Quebec to do the same. However, a Scotland separate from the U.K. seems unlikely for the time being. A survey conducted last week shows support for sovereignty ahead referendum at 23 per cent -- an all-time low in the country.
Last week the Marois participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where she said she raised awareness of investing opportunities in the province.
On Monday, Marois spoke at the Canada-United Kingston Chamber of Commerce.