In a narrow 8-6 vote yesterday, council rejected a call to drop the term for the more gender-neutral city councillor, with the three female members leading the charge against the plan.
Ald. Druh Farrell said getting hung up on gender when it comes to the term does little to bring women's issues to the forefront.
"I prefer alderman -- it has history and a sense of honour," she said. "I agree with social justice and inclusion, but will a name change do that?"
Calgary's longest-serving alderman, Dale Hodges, resurrected the debate that had been dormant since it last failed in 2003 after hearing a mood for change during the October municipal election.
The 24-year veteran said the title has run its course and it's time to take on a new mantle.
"It just seems it is
outdated and I would like to see council adopt a new
title," he said.
"Too much has been made on this about gender issues -- alderman just doesn't seem right anymore."
Ald. Joe Ceci said Calgary is being hypocritical in signing on to a coalition against racism and discrimination while still using the term alderman for all its elected officials.
"As it stands, Calgary remains a poster city for the non-inclusive," he said.
Following a short debate, council again decided to hold fast to the title, a move that left advocates for the change displeased.
Betty Donaldson, a member of Citizens for Calgary Councillors, said she was not surprised to see the women on council vote down the change but she plans to carry on the fight.
"I think the women who succeed under patriarchal systems and don't know much about gender aren't really representative of the kind of changes we need," she said.
Mayor Dave Bronconnier left chambers for the debate, noting it's up to council what it decides to call itself.
HOW THEY VOTED:
Mayor Dave Bronconnier