Quebec party pledges support for Scottish independence movement after slamming Premier for shunning Nicola Sturgeon during COP26 visit

The original nationalist party of Canada has slammed the Premier of Quebec's failure to meet Nicola Sturgeon when he visited Scotland for COP26 last week, pledging the leader’s move away from independence does not reflect Quebec’s support for a second Scottish referendum.

The head of Parti Québécois (PQ), Paul St Pierre Plamondon, told The Scotsman that people from the Canadian province of Quebec had a “generous interest” in Scotland’s independence movement.

The claim comes despite Premier Francois Legault’s decision to shun Ms Sturgeon during the climate change summit. PQ, which was formed in 1968, has always campaigned for national sovereignty of Quebec.

It emerged this week that no attempt was made to set up a meeting with Ms Sturgeon during the visit of Mr Legault, the leader of nationalist party Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

The Parti Quebecois criticised Quebec's premier for shunning Nicola Sturgeon at COP26.

Quebec is often cited for its parallels with Scotland as a nation that is seeking independence and has held two independence referendums, in 1980 and 1995, in both of which voters opted to remain part of Canada.

In May, all parties of the Quebec national assembly – separatist and otherwise – voted unanimously in support of Scotland’s right to self determination.

However, CAQ, the party currently in power in Quebec, are breakaway former supporters of independence who remain nationalist, but no longer support another independence referendum in Canada.

Academics have said CAQ leader Mr Lagault, a former PQ member who previously held a post of Cabinet minister in the pro-separatist government, may have been worried to be seen meeting Ms Sturgeon, in fear that such an alliance could rekindle the movement in Canada.

Paul St Pierre Plamondon, leader of Quebec independence party PQ, says that Quebecers support Scottish independence.

Mr Plamondon said: “I have no idea why [Mr Legault did not meet Ms Sturgeon], but I think it is not representative of what Quebecers would have liked.

"It is very hard to understand, but it is more important to understand that the fact this meeting did not occur is not representative of the level of support in Quebec towards Scotland, as the unanimous motion has shown.

"This is even more so in the general population.”

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On Wednesday the party tweeted a picture of Sylvain Gaudreault, Member of the National Assembly of Quebec, posing with Ms Sturgeon at COP26 at the weekend, alongside a picture of premier Mr Legault, in a meeting with Prince Charles at the same event.

PQ tweeted that while the Premier's party had "strengthened its ties with the Crown by meeting Prince Charles", PQ "stands proudly alongside its independence allies, such as the Scottish sovereignist party of Nicola Sturgeon" .

Mr Plamondon said: "There is a generous interest in the journey of Scotland towards independence – and the courage as well.

"It is the same Crown that is in question. We are under a British colonial legal system that comes from the past.

"During the first referendum in Scotland, we saw that the same techniques and arguments and even the people who were consulted on the British side were used. It was the exact same kind of strategy as there had been here during the referendum.

"We are very much interested in seeing Scotland continue its legitimate quest towards independence. We are very respectful of the strategy and the timings, but anything we can do for Scotland, we will. There is much support in Quebec for Scotland.”

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