Parti Québécois following Scottish referendum campaign closely

QUEBEC CITY – Parti Québécois MNAs meeting on Wednesday said they are already drawing lessons from the Scottish referendum campaign.

“They managed to find a place for newcomers in Scotland,” said leadership hopeful Alexandre Cloutier.

“I think we have to do the same here in Quebec. We have to make sure everyone is welcome and they have a place here in the political party of the Parti Québécois.”

Accompanied by two PQ MNAs, Martine Ouellet and Mathieu Traversy, Cloutier will be heading to Edinburgh to watch referendum results next week.

The Parti Québécois is following debates in Scotland closely, especially after polls this weekend suggested the two sides are neck and neck.

READ MORE: British PM implores Scots not to rip UK apart

A “yes” victory would end Scotland’s 307-year-old union with England.

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“One year ago, everybody was saying they have no chance to win and now obviously they’re going to get more than 40 or 45 per cent. So it’s a huge win in any circumstances,” Cloutier said.

Also on Wednesday, former PQ MNA and Option Nationale leader Jean-Martin Aussant urged his former party to hurry up and hold a referendum.

He suggested the PQ form a coalition with the other sovereignist parties, Québec Solidaire and Option Nationale.

The 44-year-old economist rumoured to be in talks with Pierre Karl Péladeau wrote in an open letter to Le Devoir: “To delay audacity is to have none. To delay an emergency is to fail to recognize it.”

Parti Quebecois newly elected MNA Pierre Karl Peladeau, right, speaks to supporters as Ministers Bernard Drainville, left, and Jean-Francois Lisee look on Monday, April 7, 2014 in Montreal. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

The remarks are seen as direct criticism of Bernard Drainville and Jean-Francois Lisée, both of whom have said they want to wait before proposing a third referendum.

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“The plan is very clear,” Drainville told reporters.

“We take the next four years to renew the substance, the content, the arguments, show Quebecers it would be to their benefit.”

Lisée agreed: “We need more people convinced of the goal of independence, we don’t need more defeats. I think that one year before the next election, let’s regroup, take stock of where we are.”

The man many consider the most fervent of Quebec separatists was a no-show Wednesday, as PQ MNAs walked into caucus.

Pierre Karl Péladeau has been avoiding cameras for weeks. He has yet to announce his candidacy for the top job at the Parti Québécois.

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