For years, Calgary’s elected officials have been regarded as Alderman, a term not commonly used in Canada. In fact Calgary is one of the only major Canadian cities that identify its elected officials as Aldermen.
While the rest of Canada has adjusted with the times, referring to their elected officials as Councillors, Calgary’s City Council has held on to a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century.
Though the issue of gender equality continues to be the lightning rod that keeps this debate raging, it is also an issue of political equality. The Alberta Municipalities Act states that municipalities are governed by a council, and that “a councillor is to have the title ‘councillor’ and a chief elected official that of ‘chief elected official’ unless the council directs that another title appropriate to the office be used.”
“Many comments I have received, read and heard from Calgarians claim that changing the title from Alderman to Councillor is a non-issue. I wholly agree, this is a non-issue; a non-issue that becomes an issue every year.
If this truly is a non-issue and is something already widely recognized by the Alberta Municipalities Act, and a vast majority of Canadian municipalities, then let’s change the title once and for all so it becomes a part of our history, not next year’s agenda.”
Costs to the taxpayers will be minimal as the change, if approved by council, will coincide with the next municipal election in 2013.