Majority of Albertans want to nix daylight saving time: public consultation
Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017 10:02PM EDT
Thousands of Albertans recently weighed in on a bill that aims to eliminate daylight saving time, though the province still wants to hear more feedback before making a final decision.
Mohez Damji is a Calgary-based horologist. Twice a year, the clockmaker is forced to take time away from fixing and selling timepieces to adjust the devices in his shop.
“We spend about four, five hours just for that and I feel it's a waste of time,” Damji told CTV Calgary.
Damji’s opinion is shared by the majority Albertans who weighed in on Bill 203, also known as the Alberta Standard Time Act. If passed in the province’s legislature, Alberta would forever set its clocks to Alberta Standard Time, which would be aligned with the province’s summer time zone (that is, six hours behind co-ordinated universal time).
Of the 13,562 people who submitted written submissions on their opinions on Bill 203, a whopping 74 per cent supported the bill to kill daylight saving time while only 24 per cent didn’t. Less than two per cent of respondents were undecided.
“I wasn’t surprised by the survey results,” MLA Thomas Dang, who is behind the bill, said. “They matched up what my consultation earlier this year showed, and I believe Albertans are very passionate about this issue and they’re very onside with this issue.”
Fellow MLA Richard Starke disagrees.
“It’s still a relatively small number when you compare to the overall population,” he said of the written submissions. Starke believes that the issue should be put to a referendum that runs concurrently with the next provincial election.
“You’ll get a much wider participation and a much broader debate on this issue -- and it is an issue that affects all of us.”
Before the Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future, which oversaw the public input process, makes its final recommendations to the province’s legislature in October, it is organizing public meetings in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
Chrystal Zacarias, a mother of four, says she wouldn’t miss the time change challenges her family faces every fall and spring.
“I think it would make it easier,” she said. “No more struggling to get them asleep or to keep them awake.”
Some, like Jim Floyd, would miss the tradition.
“Isn't the whole world doing the daylight saving thing?” he said. “So why change?”
Businesses also provided submissions to the committee.
WestJet, for example, expressed worry about a “potential negative impact,” including earlier morning departures from British Columbia for those wishing to travel to Alberta. “(M)any may choose alternate routings that bypass flying through Alberta to get to their final destination," the company added in its submission to the committee.
If Bill 203 goes through, Alberta would become the second province after Saskatchewan to nix biannual clock changes. There are, however, a handful of communities in B.C., Nunavut, Ontario and Quebec that do not change their clocks (as well as a few along Saskatchewan’s provincial borders that still do).
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Alesia Fieldberg