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"Economy With Efficiency" -
Henry Becomes Mayor!

On July 16, 1917 a brief story appeared in the Regina Leader - Alderman Black had a better idea for the downtown parking problem - the new scheme recognized that parking was required to encourage shoppers to come down town and suggested that building owners and shopkeeps and employees park away from downtown to ensure that parking was available for shoppers. I.E., they could WALK to work.

A Big Story In the Paper On Saturday July 14, 1917

The Prairie Biscuit Company opened its doors and a feature on the new business was featured in the Regina Morning Leader. “Products of Prairie Biscuit Company Now At Disposal of Householders of the City” trumpeted the headline. The company had been incorporated in Feb. Of 1916 with a capital of $100,000 The factory could produce biscuits and confections at a rate of 13,300 pounds in a 10 hour shift. The factory employed 20 people - the supervisor had been hired from a biscuit manufacturer in Glasgow Henry Black was president and managing director Andrew MacBeth (another alderman etc. of the time) was vice president The factory was at the corner of 6th and Rose AE Hodgert was the Sec’ty Treasurer Other directors included: J.D. Martin (barrister/former mayor). S.C. Burton (another mayor/alderman type). Dr. J.C. Black, John McEachern from Pilot Butte and George Speers the undertaker. The flame of the company burnt brightly for more than a year, but a world-wide, war-caused sugar shortage ensured that the flame was extinguished rather quickly. One of H.K.Black’s fondest early memories of his childhood (he would have been four or five years old at the time) were the trips that he would make to the cookie factory where he could sample the output and perform quality control.

Another flame that burnt brightly was under the Exhibition grandstand. It burnt to the ground during a spectacular fire on the night of July 25th.

In 1917 Regina could boast of 42 miles of granolithic sidewalks and 72 miles of 3 plank sidewalks. It proudly called itself “The best paved city in Canada for its size.”

The Fort Qu’Appelle Sanitorium opened in July of 1917.

Civic Elections were held on the second Monday of December every year. December of 1917 was especially tumultuous. December 7, 1917 was the date of the Halifax Harbor explosion. Almost 1300 people were killed and Halifax was flattened. The next day, December 8, an enormous blizzard caused further havoc in Halifax. A fund for people to contribute to in Regina was set up almost immediately. By December 17 more than $5000 had been raised in Regina.

December 1917 was the fourth straight Christmas that saw the country at war.

The Conscription Crisis
There was a crucial federal election campaign going on and it was the height of the conscription crisis. The Liberals under Sir Wilfrid Laurier vs. The Unionists under Robert Borden. Laurier spoke in Regina on December 17, 1917, just a week after the civic election. The Union ads in the papers of the day illustrate the bitter, hateful tone of the campaign:

“Men and Women of Canada. Your Duty Is Clear. Support Unionist Government. Shall Quebec Force Her Will On Canada? Quebec, who has spurned her duty to Canada in the War made conscription necessary. Had the French Canadian done his duty under the voluntary service act system the Conscription Act would not be necessary. Vote for the boys, or vote for the Kaiser.”

“A Laurier victory in Canada would be celebrated in Germany” “Save Canada from Russia’s disgrace” (Russia, under Bolsheveks had sued for peace)

“Your vote On Monday (December 17)... will support our brave men in France, or help defeat them will strengthen the allies, or encourage the Kaiser will be for the honor of Canada or for her dishonor will return Union government or leave Canada to the will of Laurier, Bourassa and Quebec If you are a true loyal Canadian you will vote for the Union candidate”

As well, there were dark intimations of a world-wide socialist plot. The page 1 headline on December 26, 1917 says it all: “World Wide Plot To Crush Social Order Suspected. Russian Bolshevekia, Irish Agitators and American Industrial Workers Of the World (‘wobblies’) Believed To Be Involved. Socialist Elements in Various Countries In Close Touch”

The Election Campaign
The Regina civic election was held on December 10, 1917 - just a week before the federal election. The papers report that it was a bitterly cold day (25 below with north wind) “Henry Black Elected Mayor of Regina By Large Majority. Perry, England, Campkin, McKinnis and Rose Aldermen”

Mayorality vote: Peter McAra - 935 Henry Black - 1406 Henry Black was quoted in the Morning Leader: “I am very gratified to have such tangible proof of the confidence which the electors repose in me and I take their verdict as an endorsation of the policy of efficiency with economy which I have adopted during the past three years in the council and I will endeavour to continue this policy with the assistance of the new council.”

Remember that during those years, only ratepayers voted. Regina’s population in 1917 was approximately 40,000, yet there were only 11,800 ratepayers on the list. The Regina Morning Leader figured that a third of these ratepayers lived out of town. This left only a potential electorate of 7,000 - 8,000 to fight through the cold to exercise their franchise. In 1917, for the first time, the franchise had just been extended to a list of 1500 women.

The day before the election, Henry Black’s opponent, Peter McAra, had felt the need to insert an ad in the paper ...”I find that the duties that have been placed upon me with respect to the election of the Union candidate will make it impossible for me to do the necessary work properly with respect to my own candidature for the Mayorality” Mr. McAra went on to ask for the voters support anyway. In the same paper was a 1/4 page ad from Henry Black:

To the Electors: In support of the slogan “Economy With Efficiency” which has been adopted in connection with my candidature for mayor, I would like to point the attention of electors to the following figures: During my terms of office as alderman, these striking reductions were made in civic departments.

To the Electors: In support of the slogan “Economy With Efficiency” which has been adopted in connection with my candidature for mayor, I would like to point the attention of electors to the following figures: During my terms of office as alderman, these striking reductions were made in civic departments:

Department

1914

1916

Parks

$41,276

$12,564

Health

$98,995

$18,695

Street Railway

$131,657

$10,4711

Waterworks

$27,137

$19,380

The general tax has been reduced and this year is $140,000 less than in 1916 and $350,000 less than in 1915. These reductions have been made in spite of increased cost of materials and higher rates of wages and show conclusively that there has been an economic tendency in the council during my term as alderman. Hoping that you will weigh these figures carefully and endorse the slogan of ‘economy with efficiency’ by casting your vote in my favor, I am, respectfully yours, Henry Black.

Another Henry Black advertisement was a little more succinct:

“Your vote for H. Black retiring alderman is respectfully solicited for MAYOR 1918 Economy With Efficiency Mr. Black is now completing his third year as alderman and is fully in touch with all municipal matters. Being a heavy taxpayer, Mr. Black is vitally interested in an economic administration of local affairs. Economy With Efficiency”

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