PQ gov’t would ‘redo’ Quebec’s northern development plan [Plan Nord] – by Canadian Press/CTV News (August 12, 2012)posted in Canadian/International Media Resource Articles, Quebec Mining |
MONTREAL – The Parti Quebecois says it will give Jean Charest’s signature northern-development plan a makeover if it wins the Sept. 4 election, altering a project the Liberal premier hails as Quebec’s ticket to prosperity.
The party’s mining critic said a PQ government would “redo” the multibillion-dollar Plan Nord. It argues the initiative offers up Quebec’s natural resources for next to nothing.
Martine Ouellet said the PQ is pledging to raise royalties; ensure more Quebec resources are processed in the province; and spend less public money to help private companies — unless Quebecers get something in return.
“The Parti Quebecois is okay with developing northern mines, but certainly not in the same way as the plan I call ‘The Plan Marketing du Nord,’ ” Ouellet said in an interview. “We can’t continue like this, we’re letting our minerals go for free.”
Ouellet also said the PQ would launch environmental reviews before each project and boost returns for Quebecers by processing more of the resources in the province.
The $80 billion Plan Nord, which the Liberals have made a key part of their re-election platform, would also take a different shape if the province’s upstart third party, Coalition Avenir Quebec, takes power.
The right-of-centre CAQ alleges the Liberal plan will primarily benefit foreign firms and Quebec mining companies cosy with the Liberals.
Francois Legault, the CAQ’s leader, has said he would ensure Quebecers benefit more from resources in the north by investing public money in the companies that operate there.
“We have an extraordinary opportunity over the coming years,” Legault told party members at the CAQ’s founding conference in the spring.
“We have a chance to have a huge territory in Quebec rich in natural resources… All countries dream of being in our situation.”
The CAQ would create a $5 billion natural-resources fund within the province’s pension-fund manager. The money would be used for investment in mining firms and earnings would be directed at reducing the debt.
A CAQ spokesman said the party wants to wait before commenting further on its ideas for northern development because it’s planning to make a campaign announcement on the subject soon.
Investors, meanwhile, are keeping an eye on the Quebec election race.
Desjardins Capital Markets advised investors in a recent research report that Plan Nord’s current form could be at risk.
“The plan in its current form could be at risk if there is a change in government or if a minority government is elected — creating uncertainty for investors,” said the July 30 analysts’ report, released a couple of days before the start of the election campaign.
For the rest of this article, please go to the CTV news website: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/pq-gov-t-would-redo-quebec-s-northern-development-plan-1.911203