Wickett, S. Morley
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The early settlers who strove for an ideal, as evidenced in their constitution. Applying this ideal to the subject in hand. How the ideals that we form for our local government affect more than we perhaps may be inclined to think at first the ideals of the wider political field of the Province and the Dominion. The problem of municipal government essentially a modern one. A brief glance through the history of the development of municipal government. How the new world has been handicapped in meeting the problem of city government. The lack of traditions of organization. The professional responsibility of departmental officials as the key to the success of the old world in its governmental affairs. Having had to work out organization on the gallop, with a sometimes unsatisfactory result. Municipal activity dependent on the efficiency of local organization and the extent to which municipal business is regarded as business, not politics. The problems before the country today: to determine to what extent the Dominion Government is entitled to interfere with local administration, especially in connection with radial railways, street railways, and electric power; the relation of the Province to the municipality; the problem of municipal ownership; the problem of civic organization, to which the speaker calls our attention. The division of municipal work into various departments. The elective Council. The need to get the right men to take charge of our work if we want good municipal government. An indication of the lack of professional responsibility in Canada with regard to the Council. The lack of departmental reports and of municipal statistics. Expecting too much of our Aldermen. The issue of the length of term of office. The system they have adopted in Prussia, in contrast to ours. Some details of administration of Council. The appointment of Controllers. The invitation to Mr. C.R.W. Biggar, the late City Solicitor of Toronto's Municipal Council to draw up a model charter for the City of Edmonton. Details of some of his suggestions. Regina's adoption of the Edmonton charter. Winnipeg's adoption of the Board of Control idea. A similar adoption by several other cities in Ontario. Working towards a division of work between the Aldermen and the administrators in such a way as to relieve men who are willing to sit in the Council and to give time for the study of municipal problems and the cares of detailed administration. A summary of the situation of today, and the tendency to which we are headed.