Toronto’s Momentous Election
Summary Sept 3rd 2020 B Laxson,
With each cycle of voting there is a need to become informed both of central issues and the relevant capability of the candidates. In this historic era the idea of public power and transportation was new. It would mean drawing in workers from companies which had both been private and potential rivals of each other. The complexity of this would require stable minds to guide the process which leads this article to recommend whom to elect. One can see the same general process happening today and imagine it occurring in every election since or yet to come.
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The Globe (1844-1936); Dec 31, 1920;
TORONTO’S MOMENTOUS ELECTION
At the polls tomorrow the citizens of Toronto must make a decision that will influence the daily life of the people long after the present generation has passed away. They are asked to vote approval of measures to be submitted to the Legislature with the endorsation of the Drury Government, whereby the private electric light, power and transportation franchises that restrict and hamper public operation will be purchased at a fair price, and the citizens will resume control of their own streets. If the ratepayers approve of the project to extinguish the Mackenzie franchises the streets thereafter will be entirely under control of the civic government, and will be used to provide light, power and transportation at cost, instead of excessive profits to franchise-holding monopolies.
The “clean-up,” couple with the taking over of the street railway on September 1, 1921, will give Toronto an opportunity such as no other city of like size and importance on this continent has to demonstrate that workmen will operate public services under good civic management as efficiently as they operate similar services under private control. Relatively few people as yet believe this, and it is unquestionably true that in some spheres of Governmental activity, not only in the United States but on this side of the border, public operation has meant waste, extravagance and inefficiency. It is the great and honorable task of Toronto to prove that public operation can be carried on efficiently, economically, and with marked advantage to the mass of the people.
In the inauguration of the new system must be taken to give it a favorable start. The civic Transportation and Hydro-electric Commissions are composed of competent men who take pride in their work, but before the unified light, power and transportation system can be handed over to them for operation the City Council must work out in detail the purchase plans and secure the necessary legislation. There is, therefore, need that the members of Council, and especially the Mayor and Controllers, shall be unhesitatingly in favor of the project, and shall possess the skill in steering measures of importance through Council and the Legislature requisite to success.
Probably the two most unfit men in Toronto today for such a task are Mr. McBride, who wants to be Mayor, and Mr. Cameron, who seeks re-election to the Board of Control.
They are hot-tempered, impetuous and quarrelsome. If someone were needed to go up the Legislature, order the removal of the mace, and tell the members to be gone and give way to honester men, either Mr. McBride or Mr. Cameron might play Cromwell to advantage. For the role of negotiators and mediators they are about as well qualified as a kicking mule would be.
It is for this reason that The Globe asks its readers to go the polls tomorrow and, in their own interest, vote for the re-election of Mayor Church and the present Board of Control, substituting for Controller Cameron Mr. Hiltz, who as a member of the Board of Education and of Council has given faithful and disinterested service to the citizens. This is no year for experimenting on a large scale with inexperienced men. Controllers Maguire, Ramsden and Givvons have proved their capacity. Mr. Maguire should receive almost unanimous support at the polls. He deserves the place he will undoubtedly occupy. Mr Ramsden has served eight years in Council. He is a keen business man, a large employer of labor, a fluent speaker and a clear thinker. On the platform and in private he has been urging the electors to vote for the electrical clean-up, pointing out that it will prevent duplication of overhead expenses and of the poles, conduits and wires required for lighting and power purposes on the city streets. Mr. Ramsden’s knowledge of the business side of electrical development will make him especially useful to the citizens in 1921.
There has been some adverse criticism of Mr. Gibbons’ candidature because he is one of the officials of the Street Railwaymen’s Union, the members of which will become civic employees during the coming year. There might be ground for this objection were the making of agreements with the railway operatives as to wages and conditions of employment a matter for the Board of Control. The Board, however, has nothing to do with these things, which are under the jurisdiction of the civic Transportation Commission. Mr. Gibbons’ knowledge of the street railway traffic conditions, and of the pitfalls into which the city might blunder in the inauguration of a unified transportation service, should make him one of the most useful members of the Board of Control during the year of transition upon which Toronto enters tomorrow.
Having no favorites at City Hall, no political or lodge interests to advance, nor any personal grudges to feed The Globe can recommend with a clear conscience the re-election of Mayor Church and of Controllers Maguire, Ramsden and Gibbons, and the substitution of Mr. Hiltz for Mr. Cameron as the other member of the Board.