Edmonton Bulletin editorial on the results of the 1893 Edmonton municipal election
The second municipal election in the history of Edmonton, which took place Tuesday last, was not less important than the first which occurred nearly a year ago. It is a mistake to think lightly of the importance of municipal office, or of the responsibilities which are attached to it, either on the part of the citizen, who, as a member of the council, conducts the affairs of the town, or of the citizen who plays the part of taxpayer — and complainant in general. There is no question as to the importance of the power of taxation which rests in the council — everyone feels and knows that — and there is as little as to the important effect which the proper or improper application of the taxes so raised has in advancing or retarding the general prosperity of the municipality — but this side of the question is not always as thoroughly understood or appreciated. It is a good sign when the heavy taxpayers of the town take an active interest in its public affairs, either by offering themselves for office or by turning out and voting and working for or against the several candidates who may be so offering. As to the personal feeling which may enter into a municipal contest nothing need be said. It is only fair to say, however, that in the two contests which Edmonton has gone through, personal feeling — either ambition or animosity — played the very smallest part. Of the late council it can truthfully be said that it fairly represented the business interests of the town, and of the present one the same may be said an almost equal degree. The only fault found with the retiring council was that it was somewhat too liberal in expenditure, and at times somewhat lax in its business methods. On the other hand, in taking hold of a town laid out and situated as this was, with everything to do, a liberal expenditure was necessary, and it was not desirable that mere formalities should be allowed to retard the work of improvement. Comparing the town as it is to-day with what it was a year ago, it must be admitted that the retiring council did a great deal of very good work, and certainly every member of it exerted himself to the very fullest extent — never stinting his time — in attending to the duties which devolved upon him. The first year of a town's existence is the most critical, for mistakes made then are liable to affect it ever afterwards, and for lack of any foundation to build on mistakes are then most liable to be made. Compared with almost any other town in the Northwest Edmonton has come through the first year of its municipal existence very creditably, and to the members of the council who had charge of its affairs during that time full credit is due.
The incoming council has been elected under most favorable circumstances. The mayor and two members of the retiring council have been re-elected, and their experience will be useful in all matters of procedure, saving time and tending to avoid irregularity, and so leaving less room for criticism. At the same time a majority of new members have been elected, so that if a change of policy in any particular is felt to be desirable it is possible to effect it. There is no doubt that the new members have been elected on the idea that they will secure a more economical efficiency in the municipal service. This is always desirable, and in their efforts in this direction they will have the support of every taxpayer. But there are two or three questions immediately facing them which must be dealt with on other grounds than those of mere economy. The first of these is the ferry matter. With the coming spring the control of ferries on the river opposite the town limits devolves upon the town. To arrange for the running of these ferries so that they shall not be an undue burden upon the town treasury, and at the same time so that travel shall have the greatest possible facility, as the business interests of the place requires, is a duty which will require the greatest delicacy, and tact in its discharge. The bridge question is also up, not simply for discussion, but for action, and also the question of securing an adequate supply of water for fire protection purposes in the business part of town. These are matters which must be dealt with, in one way or another — which will not be ignored. Upon the ability with which they — especially the bridge matter — are handled, depends very greatly the future of the place. In the incoming council we have men whose interests in the place are such, and whose success in business has been such, as to ensure that they have both the will and the ability to deal with these important questions in the manner which shall best advance the prosperity of the place.