Maude Marquis-Bissonnette set to become Gatineau's next mayor

Maude Marquis-Bissonnette speaks to supporters on June 9, 2024. According to preliminary results of Sunday's byelection, Marquis-Bissonnette will be the next mayor of Gatineau, Que. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Maude Marquis-Bissonnette speaks to supporters on June 9, 2024. According to preliminary results of Sunday's byelection, Marquis-Bissonnette will be the next mayor of Gatineau, Que. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Former Gatineau, Que., councillor Maude Marquis-Bissonnette will be the city's next mayor, according the unofficial results of Sunday's byelection.

As of 11:30 p.m., with all votes counted, Marquis-Bissonnette had 41.7 per cent of the vote, with former mayor Yves Ducharme in second place with 30.9 per cent.

Turnout was just over 33 per cent, with 67,118 people casting ballots, the City of Gatineau said.

Seven candidates were running for the job, after the unexpected resignation of France Bélisle in February.

In a French-language victory speech at Bar Minotaure in the city's Hull neighbourhood, Marquis-Bissonnette thanked the city's voters for putting their faith in her.

"I am touched, honoured. I take my responsibilities seriously," she said. "I will be everyone's mayor. I plan to work with the entire city council."

Marquis-Bissonnette is set to serve as mayor of the western Quebec city until 2025, when the next general election is held.

"I am aware that there are high expectations. In 17 months, we will not be able to solve everything," she said, adding she hoped to create a "greener, more dynamic, more equitable, more inclusive and more beautiful city."

Speaking in English to CBC, Marquis-Bissonnette said that addressing Gatineau's housing and homelessness issues would be a top priority, along with building strong relationships with the federal and provincial governments and the City of Ottawa.

Maude Marquis-Bissonnette, centre, smiles as she's congratulated by supporters at her election night party in Gatineau, Que., on June 9, 2024. Radio-Canada is projecting that Marquis-Bissonnette has won the mayoral byelection that was called after former mayor France Bélisle resigned earlier in the year.
Maude Marquis-Bissonnette, centre, smiles as she's congratulated by supporters at her election night party in Gatineau, Que., on June 9, 2024. Radio-Canada is projecting that Marquis-Bissonnette has won the mayoral byelection that was called after former mayor France Bélisle resigned earlier in the year.

Marquis-Bissonnette, centre, smiles as she's congratulated by supporters at her election night party. (Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada)

Was considered front-runner

A Segma Recherche poll commissioned by Radio-Canada and published earlier this month showed that Marquis-Bissonnette and Ducharme were the two front-runners, with Marquis-Bissonnette's lead in the double digits.

Elected as councillor for Gatineau's Plateau ward in 2017, Marquis-Bissonnette resigned to run for mayor in the 2021 election.

She ended up coming in second behind Bélisle.

As the leader of Action Gatineau, Marquis-Bissonnette was the only one of the seven candidates in Sunday's byelection who were aligned with a municipal political party.

Ducharme, meanwhile, was attempting to return to the mayor's chair after nearly 20 years away, having previously served from 2001 until 2005.

Before that, he was mayor of the pre-amalgamation city of Hull from 1992 until 2001.

"I'm disappointed, that's obvious. I thought I could win," Ducharme said in French after conceding defeat. "With many independent candidates battling it out, we knew the margin was very small. Unfortunately, we didn't succeed."

Yves Ducharme speaks to reporters after conceding defeat to Maude Marquis-Bissonnette in the Gatineau, Que., mayoral byelection on June 9, 2024.
Yves Ducharme speaks to reporters after conceding defeat to Maude Marquis-Bissonnette in the Gatineau, Que., mayoral byelection on June 9, 2024.

Yves Ducharme speaks to reporters after conceding defeat to Maude Marquis-Bissonnette in the Gatineau, Que., mayoral byelection. (Maxim Allain/Radio-Canada)

New councillor elected

Voters also elected Catherine Craig-St-Louis as the new councillor in the city's Carrefour-de-l'Hôpital ward Sunday, as former councillor Olive Kamanyana had stepped down to launch her own mayoral bid.

According to the unofficial results, Kamanyana finished third in the mayoral race with roughly 10.9 per cent of the vote.

An official vote count will take place Monday.