November 1886 Calgary municipal election

The November 1886 Calgary municipal election was held on November 3, 1886 to elect a Mayor and four Councillors to sit on the third Calgary Town Council from November 4, 1886 to January 16, 1888.

November 1886 Calgary municipal election

← 1886 (January) November 3, 1886 (1886-11-03) 1888 →
Candidate George Clift King John Lineham
Popular vote 195 172
Percentage 53.1% 46.9%

Mayor before election

George Murdoch

Elected Mayor

George Clift King

The second Council was terminated by a special Territorial Ordinance effective October 21, 1886 following an order by local Stipendiary Magistrate Jeremiah Travis. Travis contended George Murdoch had tampered with the voters' list and a new council was appointed which failed to garner public support.[1][2]

Background edit

Election Procedures edit

Voting rights were provided to any male British subject over twenty-one years of age who are assessed on the last revised assessment roll with a minimum property value of $300.

The election was held under Multiple non-transferable vote where each elector was able to cast a ballot for the mayor and up to four ballots for separate councillors.[3]

Travis Affair edit

Murdoch along with councillors Issac Sanford Freeze and Dr. Neville James Lindsay were removed from office effective October 21, 1886 by a special Territorial Ordinance issued by stipendiary magistrate Jeremiah Travis.

Travis, a teetotaler and supporter of the temperance movement, was appalled by the open traffic of liquor, gambling and prostitution in Calgary despite legal prohibition in the Northwest Territories. Murdoch and the town solicitor Henry Bleeker were alleged to be members of a whisky ring, and rumors were rampant that both Murdoch and the town's police chief James Ingram was receiving kickbacks from brothels and saloon keepers. Travis' behavior would soon reach Ottawa and Judge Thomas Wardlaw Taylor of Winnipeg was sent by the federal government to investigate the situation. Taylor's report "Precis of the case of Jeremiah Travis (late stipendiary magistrate at Calgary) as presented by the report of Mr. Justice Taylor and the correspondence and evidence" which found Travis had exceeded his authority was released much later in June 1887.

Shortly before the 1886 election, G. E. Marsh brought a charge of corruption against Murdoch and council over irregularities in the voters' list. Travis found Murdoch and the councillors guilty, disqualifying them from running in the 1886 election, barring them from municipal office for two years, and fining Murdoch $100, and the councillors $20. Taylor notes Council added about 78 names to the voter list without notice of sworn testimony, but the names added appeared to have the qualifications necessary to be entitled to be on the voters list. Taylor found treating the actions of council as a case of personal corruption was erroneous in law and irregular in form. Furthermore, Taylor noted the punishment of removal from office, disqualification from re-election for two years and fines "extreme". Taylor also notes when the voters' list was being revised and the "corrupt practices" were occurring, Murdoch was visiting his former home in Eastern Canada and not in Calgary.[4]

The election occurred as planned in on January 6, 1886 with Murdoch and the councillors on the ballot and the "irregular voter list" in use. Travis served the Returning Officer with a judicial order forbidding him from receiving any vote for Murdoch which would have the effect of showing Murdoch's opponents having received a majority of the vote. The returning officer ignored Travis' order as there was no authority for it to be issued. The final result of the election showed Murdoch with a majority 180 votes and his opponent James Reilly with 18. Of the 78 names irregularly added to the voters' list, only 41 votes were cast.

Travis would find Murdoch in contempt of court and disallowed the result of the election, instead installing James Reilly as mayor and other members as the council. The municipal government under Mayor Reilly was ineffective when the town's books and seal disappeared.

The federal government would act before officially receiving Taylor's report by reorganized the courts of the Northwest Territories, and the Territorial Council called for a new municipal election in Calgary on November 3, 1886. George Clift King would defeat opponent John Lineham for the office of Mayor of Calgary.[5][6]

Calgary Fire of 1886 edit

The election took place 11 months before the Calgary Fire of 1886 which destroyed much of downtown Calgary. Part of the slow response to the fire can be attributed to the absence of functioning local government during 1886. As neither George Murdoch or James Reilly was capable of effectively governing the town, the newly ordered chemical engine for the recently organized Calgary Fire Department (Calgary Hook, Ladder and Bucket Corps) was held in the Canadian Pacific Railway's storage yard due to lack of payment. Members of the Calgary Hook, Ladder and Bucket Corps would break into the storage yard on the day of the fire to retrieve the engine.[7]

Results edit

Mayor edit

November 1886 Calgary municipal election: Mayor
Party Candidate Votes % Elected
- George Clift King 195 53.13%  Y
- John Lineham 172 46.87%
Total valid votes 367
Calgary Herald, November 6, 1886.[2][8]

Councillors edit

Election conducted using Plurality block voting. Each voter could cast up to four votes. A total of 1309 votes were cast for aldermanic candidates. Perhaps 328 cast a ballot in the aldermanic contest. (Percentage indicated is percentage of votes, not percentage of voters who endorsed the candidate.)

November 1886 Calgary municipal election: Councillor
Party Candidate Votes % Elected
- James Morris Martin 285 21.77%  Y
- Arthur Edwin Shelton 253 19.33%  Y
- Alexander Allan 223 17.04%  Y
- John Ellis 203 15.51%  Y
- Joseph Bannerman 174 13.29%
- A. Ferland 171 13.06%

[2] Election was held under multiple non-transferable vote where each elector was able to cast a ballot for the mayor and up to four ballots for separate councillors.

Full name of unsuccessful candidates is not known.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Foran, Max. "George Murdoch". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "The Elections". The Calgary Herald. No. 43. November 6, 1886. p. 1. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  3. ^ Ordinances of the North-West Territories (1884 ed.). Regina, Canada: Queens Printer. pp. 47–94. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  4. ^ Taylor, Thomas Wardlaw (1886). Precis of the Case of Jeremiah Travis (Late Stipendiary Magistrate at Calgary) As Presented By the Report of Mr. Justice Taylor and the Correspondence and Evidence (PDF). Ottawa, Ontario: Privy Council Office. pp. 5–6.
  5. ^ Mittelstadt, David (August 2005). Foundations of Justice: Alberta's Historic Courthouses. Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary Press. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1-55238-345-2.
  6. ^ MacEwan, Grant. Calgary cavalcade from Fort to fortune. Saskatoon, Canada: Western Producer Book Service. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-91930-650-9. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. ^ Ward, Tom (1975). Cowtown : an album of early Calgary. Calgary: City of Calgary Electric System, McClelland and Stewart West. p. 255. ISBN 0-7712-1012-4.
  8. ^ MacEwan, Grant (1975). Calgary cavalcade from Fort to fortune. Saskatoon, Canada: Western Producer Book Service. p. 49. ISBN 0919306500. Retrieved 19 May 2020.

Sources edit