NEWS

P.E.I. councillor running for re-election from Alberta

11/01/2012 02:36 EDT | Updated 01/01/2013 05:12 EST
A member of Georgetown's town council in eastern P.E.I. is not letting his new job in Calgary stop him from running for re-election this Monday.

Social media has become an important part of municipal politics in Georgetown in recent years, but it is perhaps most important for Coun. Allan Gallant. Gallant moved to Calgary last winter after the job he held for 23 years in Georgetown disappeared.

"I do a lot texting, Facebooking, emailing back and forth," Gallant told CBC News Wednesday.

"I talk to people about the issues in the community and what not."

Gallant keeps in regular contact with Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier via Skype. Lavandier said Gallant's story of having to move west is not unusual in the town. With the main industry in town, the East Isle Shipyard, sitting idle, many skilled workers have headed west.

"The way things are going now with our rural communities and our young people having to move out of province to seek employment, I think that possibly this may be something that may happen more often," Lavandier said.

Commuting for council

Gallant, who is also deputy fire chief, is pledging to continue keeping in touch with his constituents on social media.

"If they decide to put me in, that's great," he said.

"I'll schedule my time home so I can make the monthly council meetings and so I can weigh in on the decisions."

Gallant does not expect his election campaign will suffer from his being out of province. In a community with fewer than 700 people, there is not a lot of door-to-door canvassing that goes on.

He said a lot of voters can relate to having to go out west to find work. Lavandier agrees residents don't find Gallant's situation unusual.

There's nothing in the municipal act to stop Gallant running and holding office while commuting long distance. Lavandier said if Gallant is re-elected, council may arrange for him to vote on issues via computer.

Gallant hopes to eventually find a new job closer to home.

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