(Quebec) The former figurehead of the opposition to the city hall of Quebec and former fierce opponent of Régis Labeaume and his tramway project, Jean-François Gosselin, does not rule out the idea of stand on Bruno Marchand’s team in the next municipal elections if there is an opening from the mayor.
“The door is not closed in 2025 […]. Of course, we would have to discuss. Nor do I assume their willingness to have me on their team,” Jean-François Gosselin said in an interview requested by La Presse.
The 47-year-old councilor says he hasn’t decided yet whether he will run for the next election. However, it is out of the question for him to run for mayor for the third time, or to do so as an independent. If he starts, it will be in a team.
“It is certain that the door is not closed. We got to know each other for a year and a half. I have a good relationship with the mayor, his chief of staff and his advisers,” adds Mr. Gosselin.
Régis Labeaume’s former party was renamed Quebec First, became the Official Opposition, and is still trying to stand out under its leader, Claude Villeneuve.
Quebec 21, the former official opposition under Régis Labeaume, imploded in internal tensions. Mr. Gosselin and a counselor slammed the door. The party has been renamed Team Prioritize Quebec (EPQ) and maintains its opposition to the tramway project.
Jean-François Gosselin has since served as an independent advisor. Bruno Marchand appointed him to its executive committee, responsible for recreation and sport. In a recent reconfiguration of seats on the city council, the councilor moved to the side of the ruling party, Quebec strong and proud (QFF). The image is strong.
Would QFF be willing to welcome Mr. Gosselin into its ranks? La Presse reached out to the mayor’s press secretary on Monday afternoon, but with Mr. Marchand on assignment in Europe, it was too late for comment.
In an interview, Mr. Gosselin is full of praise for the mayor. He speaks of “great leadership”, indicates that he feels “respected” even if they don’t always agree.
“It was an open discussion. And at one point he said, ‘It’s my decision, you have the right to disagree, but I’m going here. I respect that. It’s clear. He never made me feel like a fool or a waste because I didn’t think like him. »
The tone of the administration has changed dramatically since the Labeaume era, believes Jean-François Gosselin. But the changes at the town hall do not explain everything. The chosen one also changes. “I have evolved, I think that’s the right word,” said the man who had already accused the City of Quebec of waging a “war on the car”.
“When I ran in 2017, I didn’t have a really clear plan for public transport. In 2021, I arrived with a light metro project, so it shows an evolution in my thinking, “says the man who also cites his support for bike sharing, shared streets, etc.
Jean-François Gosselin also qualified his support for the third link. Today he defends a cautious position very similar to that of Bruno Marchand: let’s wait to see the project before judging.
As for the tramway, this staunch opponent believes that the time has come to move on to a more constructive approach.
“Right now, I have a great reflection and it will continue,” he said. In short, he notes that the voters of Quebec have elected a mayor in favor of the tramway. All provincial parties, and all federal parties – “even the Conservatives” – support the project.
“People didn’t elect us [mayor]. From there, you have to move on. That’s what I’m doing. There, I look at the project from another angle. I’m going to come to a point where I’m going to say to myself: this has got to work. »
He therefore sees himself changing his approach and working so that the “citizens of northern Beauport get their money’s worth in there”.
Philippe Dubois, assistant professor of public communication at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), believes that Mr. Gosselin’s hypothetical move to the mayor’s party could be a win-win scenario.
“One of the advantages for Mr. Marchand is that he would probably end up with an elected official in Beauport, in the heart of Beauport. It can be positive for Mayor Marchand to have an elected official in that part of the city,” said Philippe Dubois.
“On the other hand, Beauport has often felt neglected in the evolution of the City. So it could also be interesting for the people of Beauport to have someone in the ruling party. »