Having lost the first round, Calgary now set its sights on
being designated the capital by the new provincial Legislature. However,
early in 1905, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier assigned the task of
new electoral districts ( constituencies ) to Edmonton
Frank Oliver and Peter Talbot, the Liberal Member of Parliament for Strathcona.
Although Red Deer was in the Strathcona electoral district, Peter Talbot lived
in Lacombe and did not support the designation of Red Deer as capital of
Alberta. Red Deer lobbied for this designation directly with Ottawa.
At the conclusion of their deliberations, Frank Oliver and
Peter Talbot recommended that northern Alberta be given thirteen seats and that
southern Alberta be given twelve. At that point, representatives of
southern Alberta demanded a judicial review. They were unsuccessful.
When the first Alberta general election took place on
November 9, 1905, the Liberals won twenty-three of the twenty-five seats in the
provincial Legislature. Feeling confident of his government's strength, Premier Alexander C. Rutherford decided that the location of the permanent
capital would be determined by an open vote in the House rather than by
order-in-council. Matters were made more difficult for Calgary when the
Premier appointed a representative of southern Alberta as the Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly (the Speaker does not normally vote in the
Legislature.) On April 25, 1906, William C. Cushing, Member of the
Legislative Assembly for the Calgary electoral district moved that "the
seat of Government in this province should be fixed permanently at the City of
Calgary." His motion was seconded by Charles A. Stuart, the Member of the
Legislative Assembly for Gleichen. Eight members voted for this motion and
sixteen voted against it. It is interesting to note that three Members
from southern Alberta voted against the motion. Motions favouring Red Deer
and Banff were also put forward, but were later withdrawn. Consequently,
Edmonton remained the capital of Alberta by federal legislation.