Fracking in Québec has been subject to a moratorium since 2011, when then-premier Jean Charest imposed a ban while studies could be conducted on the health and environmental effects of the practice.

Québec's new natural resources minister, Martine Ouellet, has now commented that she believes that fracking cannot be conducted in a safe way, and that the moratorium on extraction and exploration should be made permanent.

While the comments were made to the media on the way into a cabinet meeting and may well indicate that the new Québec government has already made up its mind about fracking, before the anticipated completion of the studies in 2014.