What you need to know about the Outaouais municipal elections

With one month to go before Quebec municipal elections, voters in Gatineau and Chelsea are assured of one thing: they will have a new mayor once results are tabulated on Nov. 7.

Most of Gatineau city council will feature fresh faces, including the mayor's seat

Maude Marquis-Bissonnette represented the Plateau district in Gatineau and is now running for mayor under the banner of the Action Gatineau party. (Radio-Canada)

With one month to go before Quebec municipal elections, voters in Gatineau and Chelsea are assured of one thing: they will have a new mayor once results are tabulated on Nov. 7.

The vacancy in Gatineau was created when current mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin announced in January he would not seek re-election for the job he's held since 2013. 

Two of the six candidates running to replace him are outgoing councillors.

Maude-Marquis Bissonnette was first elected in 2017 and has replaced Pedneaud-Jobin as the leader of Action Gatineau — political parties are permitted at the municipal level in Quebec — while Jean-François Leblanc is running as an independent. 

The four other candidates are all independent. They include the former president of Tourisme Outaouais, France Bélisle; former Gatineau fire captain Jacques Lemay, who finished third in the 2013 mayoral race; Rémi Bergeron, who finished last in the 2017 election; and Abdelhak Lekbabi, who is running for council for the first time.

Gatineau, Que., Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin is stepping out of politics. Six candidates have registered to replace him. (Alexander Behne/CBC)

New faces in most Gatineau seats

Bissonnette and Leblanc aren't the only ones to leave their seats at the Gatineau city council table as the city is guaranteed to have new representation in nine additional districts.

When you add the creation of a new electoral district of Mitigomijokan in Aylmer, and the election of a new mayor, it means 13 of the 20 seats at Gatineau council will have a new face.

Current Gatineau city councillor and mayoral candidate Jean-François Leblanc is running as an independent. (Radio-Canada)

Change is also guaranteed for the top job up the Gatineau River in Chelsea. After serving 12 years as mayor, Caryl Green is now running for warden of the regional county of MRC des Collines-de-l'Outaouais, one of the fastest growing counties in Quebec.

This municipal election marks the first time eligible voters will directly elect the county's warden, which is being changed from a part-time job to a full-time one.

Previous wardens were appointed by their fellow mayors after the municipal election.

Green's competitors include former MNA and Val-des-Monts mayor, Marc Carrière, and former chair of the Cœur-des-Vallées school board Eric Antoine.

Shelley Fraser and Pierre Guénard are competing to replace Green as mayor of Chelsea.

France Bélisle, the former president of Tourisme Outaouais, is vying to become the mayor of Gatineau. (Hugo Bélanger/Radio-Canada)

More than half of mayors already acclaimed 

The contest for mayor won't even make it to the ballot box in some 30 Outaouais municipalities where the mayor is being acclaimed since no other candidate registered to run before the Oct. 1 deadline.

Among those with an acclaimed path to the mayorship: Benoit Lauzon in Thurso, Francine Fortin in Maniwaki, Luc Desjardins in Ripon, and Gaston Donovan in Bowman.

In La Pêche, which includes the village of Wakefield, Guillaume Lamoureux hopes to win a second term as mayor against his only opponent, Luc Richard.

After serving as mayor of Chelsea, Que., for the past 12 years, Caryl Green hopes to become the first democratically elected warden of MRC des Collines. (Francis Olmstead/Radio-Canada)

David Gomes will give it a second try to become mayor of Cantley after losing in 2017 to current mayor Madeleine Brunette, who is not running for re-election. Gomes is up against current Cantley councillor Aimé Sabourin.

Over in Pontiac, incumbent mayor Joanne Labadie will be challenged by not one, but two former mayors. Roger Larose, who she unseated in 2017, and Edward McCann, who served as mayor from 1990 to 1994, and again from 2005 to 2013. 

In Val-des-Monts, where current mayor Jacques Laurin has decided not to seek a third term, four candidates are competing to replace him, and each of the municipality's six districts has at least two candidates running. 

While most voters will head to the polls on election day Nov 7, voting by mail has already begun for residents in long-term care homes, government-approved retirement homes, hospitals, and anyone else unable to make it to a polling station because of health reasons.


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