The Parti Quebecois has raised the ire of two opposition parties by using an extraordinary legislative measure to cut-off debate on a mining bill.
The 127-article bill will now pass into law in a matter of hours thanks to the use of a controversial procedure that Francophones nickname "the muzzle."
Normally, only a majority government can turn to this exceptional technique, which was also used to pass bill 78, but the PQ has gained the support of the CAQ.
"It's clear that there's a new marriage between the Parti Quebecois and the CAQ after their engagement on the charter of values," says Amir Khadir of Quebec Solidaire.
Both Quebec Solidaire and the Liberals say they are ready to pass the bill before Christmas, but wanted two or three more days to discuss the details.
The move could also detract from the byelections that are supposed to carry two Liberals, including leader Philippe Couillard, into the assembly.
Adopt the bill quickly
"The chance we have is that we have an agreement," says PQ house leader Stéphane Bédard in response to questions about why the bill must be adopted today through extraordinary measures, rather than tomorrow or later this week with unanimous consent.
Bédard had repeatedly condemned the Liberals for resorting to the exceptional procedure in the past.
He now says his party's use of it is legitimate because it is in the interest of Quebec to adopt the bill quickly.
Byelection "cheep shot"
Philippe Couillard is expected to carry Outremont riding tonight and Liberal MNAs would normally be there cheering in front of the cameras, but now they'll be tied up at the assembly.
Media attention between the two events are also likely to compete with each other, since the passage of the mining bill is likely to take place at about the same time.
Liberal Pierre Moreau says this is a "cheap shot" since the premier chose the date for both.
The CAQ, which is holding up the PQ move, is distancing itself from the decision. "It's not a gentlemanly attitude, but that's the government's attitude that's...we have noting to say about that," says Gerald Deltell.
The CAQ house leader says at the same time that the Liberals are facing this procedure because they had not negotiated earlier.
"The last 17 days we worked hard to reach an agreement with the government, we opened the door to discussion. The government said 'yes,' the Liberal party said 'no'."