Gatineau adopts a tax on registration despite a “headwind”

Starting in 2025, a tax of $60 will be imposed on each vehicle registered in Gatineau. The tax will rise to $90 in 2026. The measure should make it possible to raise $10 million next year and absorb the structural deficit of the Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO). From 2026, the additional $30 that will be imposed will make it possible to invest $5 million in service improvements.

The measure which was the subject of numerous discussions, sometimes tough, in recent months was finally adopted without any real debate in council. Even the fiercest opponent of this new tax in the municipal council, Councilor Mario Aubé, had thrown in the towel, seeing that a vast majority of his colleagues had already made their decision.

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The measure which was the subject of numerous discussions, sometimes tough, in recent months was finally adopted without any real debate in council. Even the fiercest opponent of this new tax in the municipal council, Councilor Mario Aubé, had thrown in the towel, seeing that a vast majority of his colleagues had already made their decision. (Martin Roy/Archives Le Droit)

“I just didn’t want to rekindle the debate,” he said, at the end of the preparatory caucus for the municipal council. My position remains the same. I think it’s exaggerated. […] In the eyes of all the citizens I represent, this is unfair. There is no reason to cut the throats of motorists like this.” Councilors Mike Duggan, Denis Girouard, Gilles Chagnon and Jean Lessard also opposed the levy of this new tax.

“If ten million dollars are missing, it is not because the STO is poorly managed,” insisted the president of the municipal council, Steven Boivin, in response to citizens who came to question the council. It’s because Quebec is not paying its share.”

Like Quebec City, Gatineau could have postponed the decision on the amount to be collected until later in September. For the mayor of Gatineau, there was no reason to postpone a decision that the council was comfortable making now.

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Advisors Mario Aubé and Jocelyn Blondin (Patrick Woodbury/Le Droit)

“I feel the headwind and it is quite unusual,” said Mayor Champagne. When we explain to people the importance of improving public transportation services, people are very understanding. But it’s certain that there is a headwind when we ask people if they want to pay more taxes.”

The president of the STO, Jocelyn Blondin, recalled that the objective of this tax is to allow the STO to improve its services. “The studies are conclusive, improvements to public transportation services reduce car use,” he insisted. The figures for this are truly surprising.”

Not enough, however, to allow him to convince the former mayor of Gatineau and candidate for mayor of Gatineau, Yves Ducharme, who officially spoke out this week against the imposition of this tax. Mr. Blondin is one of six municipal councilors to support Mr. Ducharme’s candidacy.

“Mr. Ducharme has his position and I maintain mine, he said. That’s the strength of being independent. If Mr. Ducharme is elected, I will not be obliged to follow him to the letter, we could have different opinions.

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