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 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.
In 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
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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Heritage Community Foundation and
Telephone Historical Centre All Rights Reserved