Quebec City's mayor making a gradual return to work after cancer treatment

Mayor Régis Labeaume said he will begin a "gradual return" this week because he's still recovering from an operation he had about two months ago.

Régis Labeaume stepped back from role in April after prostate cancer diagnosis

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume announced in mid-March that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. (Allison Van Rassel/Radio-Canada)

Quebec City's mayor is preparing to return to full-time work this summer after stepping away from the role in April to undergo treatment for prostate cancer.

Régis Labeaume, the city's mayor since 2007, said he will begin a "gradual return" this week because he's still recovering from an operation he had about two months ago.

"I'm going back to work today for the first time," he said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday. "I'm going to do it gradually, because I'm not quite ready yet. It's taking longer than I thought."

At a news conference, Labeaume said he opted for the "more drastic" surgery option because it gave him the best odds. The treatment has been successful, Labeaume said, but he planned to be "cautious," given that in 30 per cent of cases, the cancer can return.

He admitted that he had had a "debate" with his doctors about his return to work.

When Labeaume stepped aside in April, he said he did not intend to cede responsibility to the deputy mayor, Michelle Morin-Doyle.

He said he would keep the job and its duties, but not attend council meetings or spend much time at Quebec City Hall.

"I want to tell you how much I love you and I want to thank you," Labeaume said in the video, addressing the people who have sent him messages of support. 

"I also want to tell you how extraordinary I found the work of my colleagues here in Quebec City, who in my absence have been excellent, so much so that sometimes I wonder if I'm still useful."

Labeaume said he won't attend the next council meeting, but he will go to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' annual conference, which takes place in Quebec City and begins Thursday.

With files from Radio-Canada and La Presse Canadienne


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