|This page is a text version of the RM of Rhineland History Book. You can purchase a PDF copy of the book in our online store. The PDF copy is an exact page by page representation of the original book. This text version has been reformated for the web and contains text recognition mistakes. These mistakes do not appear in the purchased version. The purchased version also includes each image in the original book.|
Page Index of the RM of Rhineland History Book
Previous - Page 89 or Next - Page 91
During the first years of municipal government the reeves in both Douglas and Rhineland were businessmen and non-Mennonites. However, as more farmers and Mennonites began voting, Mennonites came to dominate municipal positions. The adoption of the municipal system by one segment of Rhineland's Mennonite population and the full hearted endorsement of commercial grain farming, made economic status an important determinant in municipal politics. Between 1884 and 1890 over 85 per cent of the reeves of the R.M. of Douglas and over 70 per cent of its councillors came from the wealthiest quarter of the population. This was not as much the case in the R. M. of Rhineland where only 57 per cent of the reeves and 52 per cent of the councillors came from the wealthiest segment of the population. 5') This difference, however, can be explained by the fact that the majority of the residents of Rhineland did not participate in municipal elections, narrowing the choices dramatically.
Following the merger of Douglas and Rhineland in 1890, wealth played even more significant a part in the choice of reeves. Nine out of the ten reeves between 1890 and 1900 came from the wealthiest quartile of Rhineland society. Councillors, on the other hand, provided more of a broad spectrum. 60
Mennonite ideals and beliefs, however, still determined a great deal of political behavior in Rhineland. While the majority of Men nonites accepted Mennonite participation and leadership in municipal politics, this did not carryover into provincial or federal politics. Well into the twentieth century Mennonites in Rhineland refused to return a Mennonite to the Provincial Legislature or Dominion Parliament. Most Mennonites still felt that it was wrong to participate in higher govern rnent."
The provincial election of 1892 illustrated the political leanings of Rhineland during the 1890's. The municipality was, at the time, divided into two electoral districts: Rosenfeld and Rhineland. In Rosenfeld, the eastern part of Rhineland, the two candidates were: Erdman Penner, Conservative, and Enoch Winkler, Liberal. In this election Enoch Winkler, a non-Mennonite merchant from Gretna, won a wide majority over Penner who was a Mennonite merchant from Gretna. 62 This result showed not only the Mennonite reluctance to elect one of their own brethren, but their loyalty to the Liberal party in Manitoba.
Winkler and the Liberals constantly campaigned as loyal friends of the Mennonites, with even the school legislation of 1890 presented as a boon to the Mennonites. This legislation, the Liberals of Manitoba claimed, made all equal where as before the French Catholics had received an unfair share of school revenues. This legislation, they