Skip to main content

Six Quebec races to watch in this year's municipal elections


It's just days until voters head to the ballot box in this year's municipal elections.

Here are six ridings to watch across the province:


The lineup of star candidates hoping to be named mayor of Longueuil seems to be creating indecision among voters.

According to a CROP-Radio-Canada poll released on Oct. 21, 44 per cent of people still don't know who to vote for.

Catherine Fournier, a former PQ MNA-turned independent, is currently in the lead followed by Josée Latendresse, who came in a close second in the 2017 election.

Former director-general of the Longueuil Symphony Orchestra, Jean-Marc Léveillé, as well as former president of the Confederation of National Trade Unions, Jacques Létourneau, are at the back of the pack, with six per cent and four per cent, respectively.

Létourneau, however, has been named the successor of Action Longueuil, the party of outgoing mayor Sylvie Parent.

At the municipal level, "awareness is even more important than at other levels," explains Philippe Dubois, a doctoral student and researcher of political communication at Laval University. "It's the level we know the least about and we can't rely on the usual decision-making shortcuts."


Gatineau residents seem no more decisive than Longueuil residents, with 53 per cent saying they are still unsure of who they will vote for, according to the same poll.

With 22 per cent support, Action Gatineau leader Maude Marquis-Bissonnette has a ten-point lead over her closest rival, independent France Bélisle.

The other four independent candidates have six per cent of voting intentions or less each.

In addition to two women leading in voting intentions, Action Gatineau boasts a majority of women candidates, which could result in it being one of the only female-dominated municipal councils in Quebec.

"Gatineau is a bit of a leader among Quebec's large cities," said Danielle Pilette, associate professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a specialist in municipal management.

Outgoing mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin has "maintained the pace of social and political innovation" throughout his two terms and thus "prepared for a succession of women and diversity" within his party, Action Gatineau, Pilette explains.

After the 2017 election, only four per cent of municipal councils had more than 60 per cent women, according to the Secrétariat à la condition féminine. Among men, that figure stood at 61 per cent.


City councillor and mayoral candidate Virginie Proulx has a score to settle with Rimouski City Council: since May 2020, she has been excluded from committee meetings, which are held behind closed doors.

Her colleagues say they suspect her of sharing confidential information with members of the public -- accusations she has denied, claiming instead to be a victim of intimidation.

"It's very common at the city level," said Pilette, adding being excluded "is not necessarily a political disadvantage" and can even "give more visibility."

As a result, Proulx has been advocating for greater transparency on the municipal scene.

Last year, she introduced a resolution asking the provincial government to better regulate the rights of elected officials to deliberate on camera, along with Sherbrooke councillor Évelyne Beaudin, who is running for mayor in her city.

In Rimouski, the resolution was rejected by all other elected officials.

Proulx's opponent, Guy Caron, was a federal MP for the New Democratic Party from 2011 to 2019.

During his two terms, the economist served as his party's parliamentary leader, in addition to sitting on numerous committees, including foreign affairs, finance, natural resources and science and technology.


In Sherbrooke, the three main candidates for mayor are almost neck and neck.

Former Quebec Liberal minister Luc Fortin is leading with 28 per cent of voting intentions, according to a Navigator-La Tribune-107.7 FM poll released on Oct. 12.

During his time in provincial politics, he headed the ministries of recreation and sport, culture and communications and family, while serving as Sherbrooke's deputy under Premier Philippe Couillard.

The leader of the Sherbrooke citoyen party, Évelyne Beaudin, is trailing him with 25 per cent of support.

Outgoing mayor Steve Lussier currently has 21 per cent of the electorate.

Under these conditions, the 20 per cent of remaining undecided voters could tip the balance in any direction.

A fourth candidate, Patrick Tétreault, entered the fray at the last minute. In the previous election, he received one per cent of the vote.


Regardless of the voters' choice, Trois-Rivières will elect an independent mayor in November, with each of the three candidates running alone.

The city's only party, Civic Action, was founded a year ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under these circumstances, and having failed to field candidates in all districts, leader Jean-Claude Ayotte opted to run for city council.

The results after the election will determine whether the political landscape in Trois-Rivières is changed or not.

"Municipal parties are unique to Quebec," said Dubois.

He describes them as "machines serving a candidacy," which rarely have much political momentum outside of elections.

The presence or absence of a party cannot predict the dynamics of a future city council, he said, as independents may cooperate with each other, "depending on the political dynamics of a city."

Incumbent mayor Jean Lamarche has a healthy lead with 41 per cent of voting intentions, according to a Navigator-Le Nouvelliste-106.9 Mauricie poll released on Oct. 12.

Former city councillor Valérie Renaud-Martin has 28 per cent.

Candidate Gilles Brodeur, currently at one per cent, ran in the federal election under the banner of the Free Party, a conspiracy group that wants "the suspension of the COVID-19 experimental injection" and the "establishment of military tribunals for high treason" to that effect.

However, Brodeur says he infiltrated the party for the sole purpose of monitoring it.

He now presents himself under his" true identity," with a pro-vaccination program.


This year, there are seven candidates running for mayor in Saguenay.

"This is always the case after there has been an omnipotent mayor," Pilette said, referring to the departure of Jean Tremblay, who was in power from 2001 to 2017. "It's as if the whole territory is divided in the political power vacuum."

Incumbent mayor Josée Néron had a five-point lead over her biggest opponent as of Oct. 12, according to a Navigator-Le Quotidien-KYK 95.7 poll.

Since then, former councilwoman Julie Dufour has surpassed her by nine points, according to a Segma research-92.5 CKAJ poll released three days later.

With just over a week to go, Dufour's lead was reduced to less than one point, according to a second poll by the same firm -- though she does have the support of older voters who are more likely to vote.

In third place, Serge Simard has 11.7 per cent of voting intentions.

Neither Catherine Morissette, Jacinthe Vaillancourt, nor Claude Côté have managed to reach 10 per cent.

Dominic Gagnon withdrew from the race on Oct. 18.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 4, 2021.

-- This article was produced with financial support from Facebook and The Canadian Press News Fellowships. Top Stories

Stay Connected