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A. S. Rosenroll

The Member for Wetaskiwin of the first Alberta legislature was an early anti-Bell Telephone Company crusader. Rosenroll had witnessed how entry into Wetaskwin of Bell had discouraged a local company from opening, and spent much time thereafter fighting the monopoly in Alberta.

In 1880, the large Eastern-based company received a Dominion charter to carry the technology then known as "telephony" from the Atlantic to the Rockies. At the same time, private concerns in Alberta communities were also interested in establishing businesses.

A. S. RosenrollIn an attempt to establish a beachhead in Alberta, Bell president Charles Fleetwood Sise wanted to transfer his company’s holdings to the North American Telegraph Company, which had operated under a Dominion charter issued in 1886. That particular charter carried telephone rights as well as telegraph. The maneuver failed.

After forcing the issue over private companies in Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Wetaskiwin by installing Bell equipment, in 1903 Sise petitioned the territorial government of the Northwest Territories—which then included Alberta—to confirm Bell’s federal monopoly.

By 1905, however, the newly established government of the province of Alberta wasn’t buying the idea, especially when politicians such as Rosenroll used the occasion of the first legislature’s second session to describe how Bell had "invaded" Wetaskiwin and "crushed a municipal enterprise."

There would be no confirmation of the monopoly in Alberta, and in 1908, an Alberta government-owned telephone system would buy out Bell for $675,000.


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