Newly elected Cllr Phillips quickly getting up to speed on District 2 concerns

August 25, 2022

Blair Phillips says he’s quickly getting up to speed on issues as he takes his seat representing District #2 on Inverness County council.

The newly-elected Phillips, recently forced by an injury to retire from his career as a paramedic after 19 years on that job, says his phone has been ringing off the hook since winning the right to represent the residents of Grand Etang, St. Joseph du Moine and the Margarees in a special election June 4.

“I’ve been very busy,” he adds. “But I’m enjoying it.”

“I don’t know how people who have a full-time job besides this have time to do anything,” he laughs.

The special election was prompted by the passing of Inverness Warden Laurie Cranton in March. Cranton had served the district since 2016, after longtime councillor Gloria LeBlanc decided to retire after 19 years on council.

A retired forestry worker, who retrained to be a paramedic two decades ago, Phillips received 373 of the 964 votes cast, for 39 per cent of the vote.

He took the same workmanlike approach to the special election campaign that he’s employing in his early weeks as councillor.

“I spent six weeks travelling from Grand Etang to Southwest Margaree, to every point in between,” he explains. “I probably got to about 75 per cent of the homes.”

“It was the most tiring thing I’ve ever done. I’d come home at night after talking for six or seven hours, and I was just beat. But I think that played a part in my success in being elected.”

He says the single biggest issue on voters’ minds during the campaign was the state of local roads. Although that’s under the province’s jurisdiction, Phillips says he’ll certainly do what he can to address problems that don’t fall under municipal responsibilities. He says he’s already been in contact with local MLA Allan MacMaster and Mike Kelloway, Member of Parliament for the region, and that he plans to meet in person with both very soon.

The availability of housing, as well as internet and cellular phone service, were also discussed during his canvassing.

“We need housing for the young people also,” he notes. “All these things are important to bring people back to the community.”

“I think with COVID (pandemic), people are trying to move to this area, and work from home,” he adds. “But of course, we have the internet challenges, and that makes it difficult.”