Five Calgary city councillors talk about their real names

Calgarians is likely to be stunned to study that 5 metropolis councillors don’t use their actual names.

It is a curious factor, on condition that in politics your identify usually turns into a part of your model. 

Are these elected officers not being true to themselves? Or are they only going with what’s sensible, comfy or acquainted?

It is not your on a regular basis query however I not too long ago requested them:  Councillor, what’s your actual identify?

With out additional ado, let’s meet these councillors. 

Councillor Harnirjodh Chahal ​

Coun. George Chahal selected his first identify as a baby. (CBC)

Chahal stated his start identify is one with spiritual meanings and comes with loads of historical past behind it. 

From Punjabi, he stated it interprets in English as, “God’s immortal warrior.”

However the rookie councillor stated, “I like George.”

And he has been George since his pre-school days. 

He recollects how the swap happened as in the future, when he was younger, he received into bother for one thing and he was requested for his identify.

“I stated my identify was George Washington.”


“I cherished the identify George and we have had some wonderful individuals all through historical past that have been named George so why not?”

From then, he simply saved utilizing the identify George.

Chahal stated no one calls him by his actual identify, not even his dad and mom.

“I’ve really thought of legally even utilizing George however I believe out of respect to my dad and mom and grandparents and generations earlier than me, the significance of the identify was given to me and out of respect for that, we’ll maintain it as is.”

And by George, that is the way it will keep. 

Councillor Wen-Hsiang Chu

Coun. Sean Chu selected a reputation that appears like a part of his actual identify (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Sean Chu got here to Canada within the Nineteen Eighties from his native Taiwan.

However even earlier than he arrived right here, he stated he was referred to as Sean.

Quickly after got here to his new nation, he recollects being at a barbecue with mates. “The daughter stated ‘Hey, your nickname is Sean. So why do not you simply use Sean. S-E-A-N.’ And I stated ‘I prefer it.’ So at the moment, that was how the thought began.”

When he utilized for his first Canadian passport, Chu stated he wanted an affidavit stating that he’d been utilizing Sean for a lot of years and the identify was added to Wen-Hsiang Chu in his passport.

Finally Sean grew to become his first identify and Wen-Hsiang his center identify.

Now, he is simply Sean Chu.

He stated his mother nonetheless calls him Wen-Hsiang however he feels no have to revert to his actual identify.  

Sean is, “who I’m. Not altering it in any respect.” 

Councillor Prabhjote Gondek 

Coun. Jyoti Gondek goes by her nickname. (CBC)

The rookie councillor stated it is essential for her to make use of her full and authorized identify at any time when she indicators paperwork.

However Prabhjote Gondek says she’s at all times been higher identified by a shorter model of her first identify.

“Jyoti is the everyday abbreviation for Prabhjote in Punjabi or Hindi. It’s extremely very similar to William is Invoice or Bob is brief for Robert,” stated Gondek.

As for a way that happened in her case, she stated her dad and mom began the behavior however everybody has known as her Jyoti since childhood.

“People who find themselves of Indian origin get it as a result of they’re used to it. People who find themselves not are likely to wrestle with it,” she stated.

“It is somewhat bit like being an Indo-Canadian if you’ll, I discover Peggy to be a really unusual abbreviation for Margaret. But most people who find themselves uncovered to that identify get it.”

And in case you’re questioning in regards to the that means of Prabhjote, Gondek stated it interprets from Punjabi as “somewhat flame” or “gentle from God.”

“So after I gentle myself on hearth in (council) chambers, now you realize why!” 

All joking apart, she stated that she hopes everybody referred to as Jyoti can, “get somewhat publicity out of individuals like me entering into positions like this.”

Councillor Eric Jones

Coun. Ray Jones makes use of a shortened model of his center identify, identical to his dad. (CBC)


That is proper. Even the longest-serving member of Calgary metropolis council is not identified by his actual identify.

To most, he is Ray or even perhaps Rundle Ray, his residence neighborhood in northeast Calgary. However his actual identify is Eric. 

As for why he is been referred to as Ray all his life, it appears like both his dad’s in charge, or it is what has grow to be a household custom.

“My dad was Thomas Alfred and he glided by Alf. Second names. My son is Randall Scott and he goes by Scott. All of us go by our second identify,” stated Jones.

“Besides my women. They go by their first names,” he stated smiling.

Jones indicators paperwork utilizing his full identify (Eric Raymond Jones) and makes use of Eric in e-mail accounts too.

However does really anybody name him Eric?

“My physician. Income Canada,” he stated laughing.

“Everybody calls me Ray.”

Councillor Biagio Magliocca

Ward 2 Coun. Joe Magliocca selected his identify as a result of it is simpler for a lot of to pronounce than his Italian first identify. (Mike Symington/CBC)

When he ran unsuccessfully for metropolis council in 2007, his garden indicators stated Biagio.

However in 2013 and 2017, the indicators simply stated Joe. 

“Biagio is mostly a true, conventional Italian identify and there is loads of Biagios in Italy,” stated Magliocca who readily and infrequently talks about his household’s heritage. 

However how he got here to be Joe is not only a derivation of Biagio. 

Magliocca stated many individuals could not say his first identify. “They’d say ‘bee-ah-jo’, ‘badge-jo’ after which they’d simply name me ‘joe’ and I would say ‘Simply name me Joe. That is my center identify. Simply name me Joe.'”

He stated when he visits Toronto, relations all name him Biagio. However to mates, it is Joe. 

When he was rising up taking part in highway hockey, one of many different children on the road was a man named Paul Coffey, who went on to grow to be an all-star defenceman within the NHL.

“He used to name me Joe the Slasher,” laughs Magliocca, who jokes he is moved on from shins to budgets.

Any ideas about going again to the true deal, Biagio?


“I heard loads of suggestions from lots of people [in the 2007 election], saying I can not even pronounce your identify. How do you pronounce it?’ And I stated: Simply name me Joe.”

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