Pauline Marois says she will hold a referendum once she has convinced Quebecers to say, 'Yes.'
The Parti Québécois premier gave a 15-minute English-language interview to BBC Scotland during her trip to the country Tuesday.
Sitting down with the political correspondent Raymond Buchanan, Marois spoke about her thoughts on separatism.
Buchanan asked what went wrong in the 1995 referendum and Marois noted it was difficult to pinpoint.
“You have laws, you have obligations for the people who agree with the, ‘Yes’ orientation, with the ‘No’ orientation. You say to these two groups, you have an amount of money that you can invest, so we can put on publicity, marketing.
"In our case, the other provinces and the federal government decided to put money in the process and that was not permitted and that [was] very difficult for us because we didn’t have any control on this,” she said.
Marois said she believes Quebecers may have needed more information on the issue to alleviate fear over the implications of a 'Yes' vote.
“Maybe we should have said to the Quebecers that we are rich. We are able to be independent because that is the case. We have big organizations. We have big financial institutions. We have great companies. We have great universities, so we don’t have to be afraid.”
When asked if the province plans to hold a third referendum, Marois said that is dependant on the opinions of Quebecers.
“During the electoral campaign, I said to the population, I can repeat that today, 'We will hold a referendum when we will be ready, when we think the population is ready to say, 'Yes,'” she said.
“If we are not able to have the support of the population, we will not hold a referendum during our mandate.”
Interim Liberal leader Jean-Marc Fournier criticized Marois for her trip to Scotland and for offering the country’s independence leader Alex Salmond documents from the 1995 referendum to help him prepare for his own independence plebiscite next year. Salmond turned down the offer.
“She is making the [trip] as leader of the Quebec government, on [behalf] of all Quebecers, saying that we will deliver to them all the documentation to help this secessionist movement of Mr. Salmond,” Fournier said.
Marois noted in the interview with BBC that it would be difficult to table a motion for referendum as a minority government.
“At this moment, it is not possible for me to hold a referendum on the independence of Quebec.”
Marois held only one sit-down interview in English during her election campaign in August, with CBC Montreal’s Daybreak.