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Marois Says Quebec Separation Vote Only If Timing Right

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois said her government wouldn’t hold a surprise referendum if she wins a majority in the April 7 provincial election, according to a radio interview with Ici Radio-Canada.

Marois, who leads the separatist Parti Quebecois, said she won’t commit to holding a referendum -- a province-wide vote on whether to separate from Canada -- in her next mandate, adding it would take place only under “opportune” conditions. The government will first produce a paper on the subject and then hold consultations, she said.

“I have already said we are not going to jostle Quebeckers,” Marois said in the interview. “We are going to take the time to think about this matter. We are not going to take anyone by surprise.”

The Parti Quebecois returned to power in 2012 with a minority in the legislature, ending nine years of rule by the Liberal Party, which advocates Quebec remaining within Canada. Marois called an election last week as polls show her support has risen to levels that could produce a majority government for her party.

“If we deem it pertinent and if we judge that the time is right to hold a referendum, we will hold one,” Marois said. “If it’s not, we won’t. We are keeping the agenda open.”

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