Who wants to dethrone 'King Régis' of Quebec City?

Régis Labeaume's Équipe Labeaume holds 19 of a possible 22 seats at Quebec City Hall. Here's a look at who's running against him in the 2017 municipal elections.

Démocratie Québec's sole councillor, Anne Guérette, Québec 21's Jean-François Gosselin take on Régis Labeaume

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume points at a map last August, as he announces the establishment of a Muslim cemetery in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press )

Quebec City is the province's second largest city, with 538,000 residents.

Here's a snapshot of the main candidates running for mayor in the Nov. 5 municipal elections.

Régis Labeaume, Équipe Labeaume (incumbent)

Régis Labeaume was elected mayor in 2007 in a byelection after his predecessor Andrée Boucher died while in office.

The former businessman and political attaché was re-elected in 2009, with 80 percent of the vote.

In 2013, he won with 74 per cent, while his party, Équipe Labeaume, clinched all but three of the 21 positions on city council.

This time around, Labeaume says he will make public transit a pillar of his campaign, and he's already projecting running for the mayor's office in 2021.

Labeaume, known for a quick tongue and abrasive relationship with local media, is sometimes called "King Régis" for his iron-clad hold on city hall and his management style.

"If you want to be a politician but just beat around the bush, you won't take much initiative," Labeaume has said.

His time in office has been marked by a combative relationship with municipal unions over city workers' pension plans and the construction of the controversial Vidéotron Centre.

That arena was built in the hope of attracting an NHL team back to Quebec City, 22 years after the departure of the Nordiques. Funded by both provincial and city taxpayers, the final bill came to $370 million.

Anne Guérette, Démocratie Québec

Anne Guerétte is the leader of Démocratie Québec, the opposition municipal party in Quebec City. (CBC News)

An architect by training, Guérette is leader of the opposition at city hall and has been a councillor since 2007. She created Démocratie Québec in 2012 but gave up her leadership of the party for the 2013 municipal election, following a merger with another opposition party.

Démocratie Québec won only three seats that year.

Guérette's two fellow councillors left to sit as independents, blaming friction with her, leaving Guérette as the only sitting member of her party. Constant internal conflict has hindered the party's ability to challenge Labeaume's reign effectively.

If elected mayor, Guerette says she will end Labeaume's "authoritarian, hierarchical and unilateral" management style.

"It's not just one person who can be mayor of a city," said Guerette, who is also proposing that a mayor be limited to two terms in office.

She is promising to "give the city back to residents," by giving borough councils more power and by creating an independent public consultation office.

Jean-François Gosselin, Québec 21

Jean-François Gosselin, the leader of Québec 21, says he used to support Labeaume but now feels the mayor is 'disconnected.' (CBC News)

Gosselin is the new face in this race.

A former professional hockey player with an MBA from New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, this is his first foray into municipal politics.

In 2007 he was elected to National Assembly in the riding of Jean-Lesage under the Action démocratique du Québec banner, only to lose in the 2008 election.

In 2012, after the Maple Spring — when students took to the streets, wearing red squares, to protest against tuition hikes — Gosselin ran again, this time for the provincial Liberals in La Peltrie.

He said he wanted to "represent citizens in their fight against the red squares," but he lost to Coalition Avenir du Québec's Éric Caire.

Gosselin says he used to support Labeaume but now feels the mayor is "disconnected" and has imposed unfair taxes on residents to finance his high spending habits.

He says he will focus on three main issues during the campaign:

  • Transportation: Gosselin believes there is a "war against cars" in Quebec City, given proposals to transform vehicle lanes into reserved lanes for buses or bike paths.
  • City services: Gosselin says services such as snow removal need to be made more accessible and effective.
  • Construction: Gosselin says he'll focus on building another link between Quebec City and Lévis, beyond the current pair of bridges and the ferry service.

All candidates for the municipal elections across Quebec have until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 to register to run for office.

Quebecers in 1,105 municipalities and 16 regional municipal counties head to the polls on Sunday, Nov. 5.