- 1910-1911 - The Birth of the ALSA
is little information on record about the birth of the Alberta Land Surveyors’
Association, but it appears that when the Alberta Land Surveyors Act had been
passed in 1910, the Dominion Land Surveyors then practising in the province
immediately got together and organized the Association provided for by the terms
of the Act. There was an unrecorded and apparently an unofficial meeting in the
spring of 1910, but the first Annual General Meeting of the Association was held
on the morning of January 17th, 1911, in the committee room of the Edmonton
Builders Exchange, wherever that may have been.
That meeting was attended by twenty members under the chairmanship of
R.W. Cautley, D. and ALS The first item of business at that meeting seems to have
been the sorting out of a difference of opinion between the provincial Attorney
General and the federal Minister of Justice as to the admissibility of Dominion
Land Surveyors to membership in the Association. The old professional jealousy
between Dominion and provincial land surveyors was apparently simmering and was
having its repercussions in higher places, as the following extracts from the
“Mr. Cautley was able to inform the meeting that the Deputy Attorney General,
after consultation with the Hon. Mr. Mitchell (Attorney General), had definitely
decided that any Dominion Land Surveyor resident in the Province on the 16th of
December, 1910, was entitled to be registered under subsection 25(1) of the Act.
“Mr. Cautley also read an adverse recommendation made by the Hon. Mr. Aylesworth,
Minister of Justice, on complaint of the Surveyor General of Canada and
communicated to the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, with a view to demanding
that the Act be changed or that it be vetoed.”
Just what all the argument was about is rather obscure, but evidently there were
some strong feelings on the subject. The first Annual Meeting, however, took the
matter calmly, for the next paragraph of the minutes relates that upon motion of
Mr. Cautley, seconded by
Mr. Knight, it was agreed that this meeting do now
adjourn to reconvene at the call of the chair, whereupon those present proceeded
to elect the officers of the Association for the coming year.
The first president so elected was
Mr. William Pearce, a well-known surveyor and
former Inspector of Dominion Lands who in 1875 had been appointed as one of the
members of the original Board of Examiners for Dominion Land Surveyors. His
pioneering work in land settlement and irrigation was outstanding and although
he was even then of fairly advanced age, he remained for several years an active
and prominent figure in the Alberta Land Surveyors' Association.
Mr. L.C. Charlesworth, who was then provincial Director of Surveys, was elected
Vice-President, and Mr. R.W. Cautley, Surveyor to the Edmonton Land Titles
Office, who later made a name for himself as a member of the Alberta – British
Columbia Boundary Commission, was elected Secretary-Treasurer and Registrar.
The members of the Council were
J.L. Cote, the first Alberta Land Surveyor to
be appointed to the Canadian Senate,
A.J. Latornell, City Engineer for
Edmonton, A.P. Patrick, who carried on his private practice at Calgary until he
was well past the age of ninety, R.H. Knight,
Maurice Kimpe and B.F. Mitchell, all in private practice at Edmonton.
With that and after passing a vote of thanks to the members of the provisional
council for the good work done by them in organizing the Association, it was
moved, seconded and carried, that this meeting do now adjourn until 8:00 p.m.
this evening. What happened after 8:00 p.m. is not recorded, but no doubt a good
time was had by all.
That afternoon the newly-appointed Council met and devoted most of its time to
the examination of applications for membership that has been received from a
number of Dominion Land Surveyors. They also authorized the Secretary to invite
several prominent Dominion Land Surveyors to apply for membership, among them
Mr. P.R.A. Belanger, DLS, Q.L.S., and M.L.S., an Inspector of Surveys of
Dominion Lands who, as it turned out, held some rigid views about his DLS
status. Upon being invited to become an Alberta Land Surveyor, he exchanged some
dignified correspondence with Mr. Cautley, turning down the invitation on the
ground that because all Dominion Land Surveyors could not become members,
neither would he. A couple of years later, he was elected as incoming president
of the Dominion Land Surveyors’ Association, but he refused to take office
because that Association had not accepted a proposal of his that only Dominion
Land Surveyors who were not also provincial land surveyors should be admitted to
membership in the DLS Association; this in spite of the fact that he himself
held Quebec and Manitoba provincial commissions.
Although Mr. Belanger’s attitude seems to have been unnecessarily extreme, it
was typical of the umbrage taken by many Dominion Land Surveyors with regard to
their status under provincial laws in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In his address
to the annual dinner of the DLS Association in
1913, the Surveyor General,
Dr. Deville, said “Dominion Land Surveyors had been put out of private business
in the western provinces by the legislatures. That was, perhaps, unfair, but
they had to put up with it because the provinces were within their rights.” Even
so, all that a Dominion Land Surveyor had to do in order to qualify in either
Alberta or Saskatchewan was to pass a very limited sort of final examination.
Furthermore, the disgruntled Dominion Land Surveyors appear to have been seeking
a one-way kind of reciprocity, for there was never any suggestion that the DLS
Board of Examiners in turn should give reciprocal recognition to surveyors who
held provincial commissions. The hard feelings aroused by this question hung
around for a long time and it is only since the Second World War that they have
finally died out.
At the first Council meeting of 1911, the decision was made to impose a levy of
$10.00 per member in addition to the annual membership fee to meet the costs of
organizing the Association. This apparently more than served its purpose, for
the records of the Council meetings of
1912 show that the Association by then
had a sizable sum of money on hand and a special committee was set up to decide
how it should be invested. After
1912, the levy was not imposed again until
The 1911 Annual General Meeting continued after the Council had held its meeting
on January 11th, but by that time the attendance had dropped to eleven members.
This adjourned part of the meeting was brief. The Council reported that it had
been unable to draft any by-laws in the short time available, and the meeting
was adjourned to February 7th. By that time it was late in the evening and
presumably those present had more convivial business on hand than the
preparation of by-laws.
The next day, five members of the Council met to draft a set of by-laws, a copy
of which was sent to each member for study prior to the adjourned Annual Meeting
of February 7th. On February 7th, thirteen members showed up, and took all day
to adopt the by-laws and ratify the imposition of the $10.00 levy. Later in the
year, the Council held two further meetings, dealing mainly with the admission of
a number of new members.
- Back - 1905 - The
Birth of the Province
- Forward - 1912-1913 - The
Urban Land Boom