Quebec's independence movement plans to bolster ties with the Scottish National Party and share some advice as it prepares for a referendum on whether to break away from Britain.
Key suggestions for Scotland's nationalists: be careful with the timing and keep an eye out for rule-bending rivals.
The SNP has made it clear, following its landslide election win this month, that it will hold a vote on Scottish independence over the course of its five-year mandate.
The SNP holds a majority for the first time in Scotland's parliament, a position roughly analogous to where the Parti Quebecois found itself 35 years ago after its first win in a provincial election.
Since then the PQ has managed to hold two referendums on independence, in 1980 and 1995. It lost both times, though it came within less than a percentage point of triumph on the second try.
Veterans of those campaigns are urging their Scottish counterparts to pay close attention to the political climate - and be very careful about when they pull the trigger.
"It depends on local circumstances. It's up to them to prepare," said Bernard Landry, a former PQ premier who was a cabinet minister during the 1980 and 1995 referendums.
"It's not in their interests to lose one. If they feel they're ready, they'll do like [Jaques]Parizeau [and hold one]"
The SNP's leader, Alex Salmond, has indicated he will wait for the latter half of his term before holding a referendum.
To borrow a phrase from Quebec's sovereigntist vocabulary, the so-called "winning conditions" are not quite in place for Scottish independence. Only about a third of Scots currently support separating from the rest of the United Kingdom.
Quebec sovereigntists are still rankled by the razor-thin loss of 1995, when many thought those conditions were finally in place.
Mr. Landry is among those who claim the federal government acted unethically by funding the No side's campaign.
Sovereigntists believe the federalist side ignored Quebec's fundraising laws - as private businesses donated workers' time, and transport companies subsidized travel to Quebec for things like Montreal's giant unity rally.
Mr. Landry has also complained in the past about federal immigration offices staying open at night to process new Canadian citizenships faster, in the hope that the grateful recipients would vote No.
"If I have one bit of advice to offer, it is that they take all the necessary precautions so that the referendum is equal for all sides and honest," Mr. Landry said.
"The federal government didn't do that here... They violated the spirit of our laws."
Though the SNP has been in power in Scotland since 2007, the path to a referendum was only cleared when it upgraded its minority status in parliament to a majority in the recent elections.
PQ members welcome the SNP's strengthened position as a positive development for their own efforts to create an independent Quebec.
Louise Beaudoin, the PQ's critic for international relations, said she "rejoiced" when she heard the news of the SNP's victory in the May 5 election.
"It is important for them but it's also important for all those who are trying to do the same thing," she said.
"That's what is interesting for us, to have partners who are equals."
Ms. Beaudoin said it is likely that a PQ delegation will travel to meet with SNP representatives in the fall.
"We've known each other for a fairly long time, we've never lost contact after all these years," she said.
Members of the two parties have met often in recent years, along with members of the Catalan independence party, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya.
The groups frequently discuss their respective political situations and exchange information on strategies and tactics, said Alexandre Cloutier, a PQ legislative member who took part in the last PQ delegation to Scotland.
"We try to understand what's motivating the Scottish desire for independence, what are the roots of the idea," Mr. Cloutier said.
"It is a relatively recent development in their history that the SNP has come to power."
Mr. Cloutier noted that, like in Quebec, desire for Scottish independence was based largely around arguments about identity and economic resources.
There might be numerous independence movements in the world.
But Ms. Beaudoin says there is a "precious" bond between these three - in Quebec, Scotland and Catalonia - which are seeking to break away from economically developed countries, in stable parts of the world, using peaceful democratic means.
"We see that we are not alone," said Ms. Beaudoin, who was also a provincial cabinet minister in 1995.
"What makes me happy is that in Catalonia and Scotland there are parties like the Parti Quebecois, parties that are rooted in their surroundings, quite open to the world and who democratically and peacefully want the independence of their nation."
Political observers in Britain, however, have looked to the PQ's history since 1976 and see in it a cautionary tale for the SNP.
"After two failed referendums and interminable constitutional battles with Ottawa, support for sovereignty in Quebec has dwindled and left the province isolated from the rest of the country," University of London lecturer Francoise Boucek wrote in a recent analysis for the London School of Economics.
"Salmond would be wise to study Quebec's travels down the road to independence.
"So far, that road has led nowhere."Report Typo/Error
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