How does Calgary’s government work?

Calgary’s government operates in a system that is similar to the ones seen at the federal and provincial levels. However, under section 92(8) of the Canadian constitution, cities are deemed to be “wards” of the provincial government, which means that cities (like Calgary) can only do what the provincial government decides they can do.

Calgary’s City Council consists of 14 aldermen elected from single-member wards, with one mayor elected at-large (which means the entire city as a whole elects the mayor). While the mayor is popularly elected by the entire city, he or she is only one vote on the Council. However, the mayor is responsible for controls the Council’s agenda, as well as representing the city at the higher levels of government. He or she connects the Council with the City Hall bureaucrats, and is also an ex officio (non-voting) member of every committee and board in the city.

As for the aldermen who represent the 14 wards of the city, they serve as the local representatives for the citizens. Issues such as local grievances are usually brought to aldermen, who have the power to bring the issues to the full Council. Failing that, aldermen can bring those issues to the cornucopia of committees they serve on, which research, debate and retool new city bylaws and policies before they are brought to the full Council for a vote.

Leave a comment