Régis Labeaume, longtime Quebec City mayor, won't seek re-election in November

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QUEBEC — Longtime Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said Wednesday he's quitting politics and won't seek re-election in November.

Labeaume, the 65-year-old outspoken municipal politician, was one of the city's longest-serving leaders, with 14 years in the top job.

"My time is up and I aspire to another life," Labeaume told reporters. He said despite the rumours, he had made a decision four years ago that he wouldn't run in 2021.

His original plan had been to serve a decade and pivot to a different career at 60. But that plan didn't work, quipped Labeaume, who celebrated his 65th birthday on Sunday.

He was first elected in December 2007 following the death of former mayor Andrée Boucher. Labeaume would go on to win re-election in 2009, 2013 and 2017.

He said he will remain mayor until the Nov. 7 municipal election and is looking forward to some rest before deciding what to do next.

But he ruled out jumping back into a different level of politics, saying it wasn't in the cards. "Politics, it's over," he said.

In 2019, Labeaume was diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer, an experience he said did nothing to change his mind about his political future.

The provincial capital was struck by two tragic events in recent years that shook the city and the province: the January 2017 mosque shootings that killed six and a sword attack last Halloween that killed two.

"Going through those tragedies was just incredible, you couldn't believe that you would go through that, that it would happen in your own city," Labeaume said.

"In a city like Quebec, a city that's probably the safest in the Western Hemisphere."

Labeaume was also instrumental in the construction of Centre Vidéotron, the city's new arena, in the hopes of wooing an NHL franchise back to the capital.

His longtime goal of equipping his city with a tramway is close to coming to fruition after the tender process began on Friday. The $3.3-billion public transport project is managed jointly with the provincial government.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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