After Edmonton’s incorporation as a town in 1892, it competed with southern neighbour Strathcona for prominence on the provincial landscape. First mayor Matthew McCauley’s relationship with the federal government ensured Edmonton’s rapid ascent on the political scene, which culminated in its incorporation as a city in 1904 and its naming as provincial capital a year later.

While Alberta has traditionally leaned towards the right of the political spectrum, Edmonton has had a history of supporting left-leaning parties. The pattern stretches back through the city’s labour history and early years, during which unions and radical organizations pressed for progressive social change as the economy expanded.