Otherwise, they fear the Scottish Yes camp could end up like the Quebecois.
Daniel Turp, who played a key role for the Yes side during Canada's own hard-fought unity battles, said the Scots are in a position Quebec sovereigntists found themselves in during the 1980 and 1995 referendum campaigns.
"They voted No because to some extent they were promised some more powers or some more devolution, so I guess it's up to the No camp now to prove that they will abide by their promises," Turp said Friday in an interview from Scotland.
"And if not, what happened in Quebec will happen in Scotland — there will be another referendum on independence one day."
Turp, who travelled to Edinburgh for Thursday's vote, said the No side made pledges during Quebec's independence-referendum campaigns. Sovereigntists say among the unfulfilled promises was the vow to recognize Quebec as a distinct society.
As recent opinion polls predicted a tight finish in the Scottish referendum, nervous political leaders in Britain promised Scotland's government "extensive new powers" if voters chose to stay part of the United Kingdom.
Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated that vow Friday after the No campaign prevailed, insisting the commitments to give Scotland more say over tax, spending and welfare would be"honoured in full."
In his concession speech, Scottish independence leader Alex Salmond said, "Scotland will expect these (pledges) to be honoured in rapid course." Salmond announced later he will resign as first minister and leader of his political party.
Maxime Laporte, president of the Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montreal, also travelled to Scotland for the referendum. He hopes the Scots will keep pressure on the British government to deliver on its pledges.
"It's important not to blindly trust the No camp when they're saying that there will be devolution," Laporte said Friday in a phone interview from Edinburgh.
"Nothing happened (in Quebec) and since then it's been the status quo. So it's important that Scotland keeps on working on its autonomy."
The success of Scotland's pro-independence campaign captured the imagination of supporters of Quebec's down-and-out sovereignty cause. The fractured Quebec movement is searching for ways to rebound after major electoral defeats in recent years.
Laporte, among many Quebec sovereigntists who attended rallies in Scotland on Friday, said the disappointment was evident in the streets among pro-independence supporters.
But he said he also saw optimism.
"Now Scots are saying, as (Parti Quebecois founding father) Rene Levesque said in 1980, ... 'Until the next time.' I think it can be an inspiration for Quebec," said Laporte, whose group is dedicated to protecting the French language in Quebec and promoting sovereignty.
"It's important not to despair. The struggles for independence throughout history have been long — very long for many people."
A potential PQ leadership candidate who travelled to Edinburgh for the vote said Scotland has emerged stronger after the vote.
"The day of Sept. 18 is the most democratic day in the history of the Scottish people," said Alexandre Cloutier.
"We must hail their maturity, the quality of the debates and all of the effort that was expended. The Scottish sovereignty movement has made great gains.
"The Scots have rejected the status quo. The No camp has made promises to the Yes side. It's the end of the first chapter and now the second one is beginning — negotiations with London."
Cloutier's PQ, the sovereignty movement's primary political vehicle, suffered an historic electoral defeat in April after it promoted its sovereignty ambitions during the campaign.
The party is now looking for a new leader and a new way of selling its project to the province.
Scotland became a real-life example.
Support for the Scottish pro-independence movement climbed in recent months to put it at one point in a dead heat with the pro-union No side. For several years, surveys had pegged support for separatism somewhere between 25 and 30 per cent.
Other PQ members of the legislature were also in Scotland for the referendum. Martine Ouellet and Pierre Karl Peladeau, who are both considered possible leadership candidates, were there, as was Mathieu Traversy.
Turp said watching the No campaign win Thursday's referendum was an emotional experience.
"Not in the same way if it had been my people, but there was a certain sadness," he said.
"Because I really hoped the Scots would make a choice that we didn't make in Quebec."
In Quebec City, Premier Philippe Couillard was asked Friday what message he derived from the No victory.
"It is an example of a healthy state of tension in countries like the U.K. or Canada, between a strong feeling of identity, which I think Scots and Quebecers have in common, and at the same time the desire to belong to a larger political organization — the U.K. or Canada," he replied.
Couillard said Quebecers have power in more jurisdictions than do the Scots.
"If the Scots had what we have as Quebecers within Canada, they probably would be quite happy."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Mario Beaulieu also weighed in on the result, saying the Quebec sovereignty movement should take heart from the Yes side's surge in support during the Scottish campaign.
"We should be inspired by the positive and inclusive campaign that Alex Salmond's supporters had over the last 18 months," said Beaulieu, who pointed out that Scotland's Yes side stood at about 30 per cent at the beginning of the referendum process.
He said in a statement the Bloc will continue to closely follow the political situation in Britain to see whether Cameron delivers on promises to give Scotland more powers.
Andre Lecours of the University of Ottawa's school of political studies said there is at least one major difference between Quebec and Scotland.
"It's really about taxation powers," he said in an interview from Scotland. "The parliament here in Edinburgh has a long list of powers but can't raise its own revenue. It has extremenly limited taxation powers and that's where the future restructuring of the U.K. is going to happen.
"Quebec governments can make spending commitments and raise the revenue necessary to honour those. That's the huge difference."
Lecours said Quebec sovereigntists can be buoyed by the increased support the Yes side garnered during the Scottish campaign.
John Parisella, a strategist and decision-maker in the 1980 and 1995 referendum campaigns, said he doesn't believe Thursday's result will affect the political situation in Quebec.
"I wrote a blog to that effect....that I didn't think a No or a Yes would have any impact on what's happening in Quebec," said Parisella, a former chief of staff to late Liberal premier Robert Bourassa.
"I think that what it (the Scottish campaign) has shown, however, is that the sovereigntists in the last two weeks spoke more about sovereignty in Scotland than they did in the last Quebec election, where they tried to deny it after Mr. Peladeau's fist went up in the air.
"They backtracked all the rest of the campaign."
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