Residents of Gatineau, Quebec elected France Bélisle as their new mayor and the first woman to hold this position in the city’s history.
At 9:15 p.m., Bélisle had 45 percent of the vote, ahead of second-place candidate Maude Marquis-Bissonnette who had 37 percent.
Bélisle will replace mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin. in january he announced that he not to be re-elected for the post he has held since 2013.
Six candidates applied to replace Pedneaud-Jobin. Apart from Marquis-Bissonette, who replaced Pedneaud-Jobin at the head of the Action Gatineau party – political parties are authorized at the municipal level in Quebec – all the candidates ran as independents.
Bélisle is the former president of Tourisme Outaouais and campaigned as a vote for change after eight years in power for the Action Gatineau party.
His campaign promises included increased transparency in the city, such as limiting the use of closed meetings. It also promised to ensure better governance than its predecessor, sound management of public finances and the reduction of administrative obstacles for citizens and businesses.
She said she wanted to see a post-pandemic revival of the city’s downtown core with, in particular, its world-class convention center project – a project first presented by Tourisme Outaouais.
Ousted municipal party of town hall
The role of political parties at municipal level was mentioned several times during the election campaign.
Jean-François Leblanc, third in the race, posted a video on Facebook at the end of October in which he accused the Action Gatineau party of lacking transparency, calling it a “political party and not a movement”. He said that because members have to follow the party line, it hinders their work at mayoralty.
Leblanc left his seat as city councilor to run for mayor.
A CROP poll conducted on behalf of Radio-Canada during the election campaign puts Maude Marquis-Bissonnette in the lead. The poll also showed that the number of undecided voters was high when asked in October.
With his departure and the creation of a new electoral district of Mitigomijokan in Aylmer, the majority of the 19 seats on Gatineau’s municipal council will now have new faces.
The other mayoral candidates were the former Gatineau fire captain Jacques Lemay, Rémi Bergeron and Abdelhak Lekbabi.