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Just call me Mayor Gondek: Reference to ‘your worship’ is clunky and colonial, she says

It’s been in use for at least 135 years.

The first reference we could find in The Calgary Herald, Mining and Ranche Advocate and General Advertiser was January 15, 1887.

Now, the term “your worship” won’t be used to refer to the mayor. At least, not this one.

At the start of Tuesday’s Combined Meeting of Council, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she no longer wanted to be referenced that way. She called it clunky and colonial.

“I would greatly appreciate it, members of council, members of administration, and members of the public, if, for me, you were just comfortable using Mayor Gondek,” she said.

“The worship title at this point is not something that I need from any of you.”

Your Worship is the way members of council, administration or the public address the mayor (and council) at the start of their comments to the public body.  

The mayor acknowledged that it’s something they’ve traditionally used. She said it came down, in practice, from the federal government.

“I’m not breaking any customs or traditions by asking that we not use it,” she said.

A search of the city’s procedure bylaw, the document that guides public meetings, yields no reference to the words “your worship.”

Back in 2015, Calgary city council voted 11-4 in favour of removing the opening prayer to start meetings.

Now, each meeting (committee or council) begins with a land acknowledgment. That recognizes city council’s work being done on Treaty 7 and Métis lands.

Mayor Gondek credited Regina Mayor Sandra Masters with setting the trend when she stopped the use when elected in 2020.