Estate of France Bélisle | Gatineau residents called to the polls on June 9

The citizens of Gatineau will be called to the polls on June 9 to find a successor to Mayor France Bélisle, who resigned last week. Until then, elected officials will have to “work collaboratively,” warns the deputy mayor, Daniel Champagne.

It was the returning officer for the City of Gatineau, Véronique Denis, who confirmed the date of the future election, Tuesday. Candidates must express their interest by the beginning of May, the registration period having been set between April 26 and May 10.

However, they will have to resign from their position as advisor before running. For citizens wishing to exercise their right to vote earlier, an advance poll will also take place on June 2.

According to the City, this new election should cost approximately two million dollars. This amount will be drawn from the municipality’s reserve fund.

Last week, citing a difficult political climate in her city, but also for all municipal elected officials, the former mayor of Gatineau France Bélisle announced her resignation, in order to preserve her health. His decision caused a shock wave in the municipal world, almost everywhere in Quebec.

During a press briefing Tuesday, on the sidelines of the first municipal council since the departure of Mme Bélisle, deputy mayor Daniel Champagne insisted “on the need to work collaboratively” over the coming months.

“There are certain issues on which we must continue work,” he said, promising to quickly establish priorities with the executive committee.

Last Friday, Gatineau’s official opposition refused to attach the label of “toxic climate” to city hall, as Mayor France Bélisle suggested when she resigned. In Quebec, liberals and solidarity activists have called for a parliamentary commission on “civility within municipal councils”.

“On the issue of partisanship, I have complete confidence in the ability of our president to ensure sound management of this municipal council. I don’t think it’s going to become a place of partisanship, in any case I don’t want it to,” persisted Mr. Champagne.

The latter does not intend to run for mayor. He also promises to “show impartiality” during the election. “I will not interfere in the election in any way and I will not support any candidate, whether independent or with a political party. I want to do my job as transitional mayor for the next four months,” recalled the elected official.

One in 10 Quebec municipal officials has left office since their election in the fall of 2021, according to the Union of Municipalities of Quebec. Exhausted, overworked and often harassed, more and more of them are demanding changes to reduce the pressure on their shoulders.

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