A Parti Quebecois bill to reform the mining industry has been scrapped.
The minority government's Bill 43 has died on the order paper, due to lack of opposition support.
The PQ is expressing frustration over today's turn of events, noting that the bill was already a watered-down version of the plan it campaigned on and that it had incorporated opposition ideas.
But the opposition says it has no confidence in this government. It accuses the PQ of scaring off investors with a hostile attitude toward the sector — and it points to two events this week as evidence.
According to newly released statistics, the mining sector has shrunk this year for the first time in a decade, with investments projected to decline 9.8 per cent from the record high in 2012 — although a slowdown has also been seen outside the province.
Also, there's news that U.S. giant Alcoa has threatened to shut down one-third of its nine Quebec plants unless the government revises plans to drastically increase its hydro rates for 2015.
The now-defeated PQ bill would have raised mining royalty rates by only a fraction of the levels set out in last year's election platform.
The party was elected last year on a platform that included a call for resource revenues to more than double, with a new royalty formula that would bring provincial coffers another $388 million per year.
Its election messaging promised big changes and had accused the previous Liberal government of selling out Quebec's resources.
But with only a minority, and in the face of concerns from the business community, the PQ toned down its plan when it introduced the bill in May.
The bill would have increased royalties by 15 per cent.
Mining companies would have been required to pay a minimum annual tax, based on extraction amounts, and a royalty on profits ranging between 16 and 23 per cent.
The plan also called for more transparency and would have made public the annual sums raised from each individual company.