Local Journalism Initiative reporter
He’s had many detractors, political foes and constituents put off by his style of leadership, but departing Mayor Régis Labeaume seems to have made friends in Quebec City’s English-speaking community.
The QCT contacted some community leaders for their reaction to the pending retirement of the man who has ruled city hall for 14 years.
Voice of English-speaking Québec (VEQ) executive director Brigitte Wellens said in an email, “Our community vitality depends on partnerships such as the one we have developed with Mayor Labeaume over the last 14 years. From his unwavering determination to make our beautiful city shine internationally, to his ongoing recognition of the crucial role played by community organizations such as VEQ, Mayor Labeaume has always been a strong supporter of the English-speaking community, and never failed to acknowledge the importance of its contribution to the socioeconomic development, and overall success of Quebec City. Merci, Régis!”
Labeaume attended several editions of VEQ’s annual Fall Fest and marched in most if not all of the Défilés de la Saint-Patrick over the past 10 years.
At the Morrin Centre, which receives significant funding from the city, executive director Barry McCullough offered this reflection: “During my time as executive director of the Morrin Centre, Mayor Labeaume has always been a great supporter of the English-speaking community. He is clearly a lover of the arts and culture sector and recognizes its importance, particularly in a cultural hotspot like Quebec City. I wish him the best in his future endeavours.”
Labeaume had attended several of the Morrin Centre’s annual Literary Feasts over the years.
Longtime Central Québec School Board (CQSB) chairperson and prominent member of the city’s Irish community Stephen Burke has these thoughts: “When I reflect on Mayor Labeaume, the Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec comes immediately to mind. No other mayor would have ever embraced such an idea. It has become a festive event that unites all of this city's citizens, be they of Irish descent or not. His true affection for the English-speaking community of this city continues to amaze me. Mayor Labeaume, we will miss you!”
Burke sent a congratulatory letter to the mayor in which he lauded Labeaume for his support of the board’s new unified high school project. He also praised him for naming a prominent member of the city’s English-speaking community as deputy mayor. Michelle Morin-Doyle, a former CQSB chair and VEQ president, has been part of the Labeaume administration since she was first elected to city council in 2009.
The QCT requested an interview with Morin-Doyle for her reaction to the mayor’s impending retirement. A city communications official said city councillors are not responding at this time.