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Majority of respondents to feedback request call for Alberta to do away with daylight saving
Published Wednesday, August 9, 2017 5:35PM MDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 9, 2017 6:54PM MDT
The province asked for Albertans to weigh-in on the future of daylight saving time and thousands of citizens voiced their concerns with the status quo.
“We received over 13,000 submissions by Albertans from across the province and that actually broke records for the amount of feedback that’s been brought towards the Legislative Assembly on any issue that the committees have seen,” said Graham Sucha, MLA for Calgary Shaw, adding it surpassed the previous feedback record ‘by a significant amount’.”
The feedback was in response to a bill proposed by Thomas Dang, MLA for Edmonton South West, that would see the province end the practice of moving clocks ahead one hour in the spring and turning clocks back an hour in the fall. If approved, the province would enact Alberta Standard Time and Alberta would remain in the same time zone as Saskatchewan year-round.
“Should it pass, (it) would mean that we would stop doing the time change in November of 2018,” explained Sucha.
The MLA for Calgary Shaw says the majority of the 13,000 respondents supported the proposal. “In total, we’ve seen 75 per cent of Albertans say they want us to do away with the daylight saving time change, 24 (per cent) have said they are happy with the way things are and then one per cent is still undecided on the issue.”
According to Sucha, concerns raised by those who support ending daylight saving time included health concerns, specifically the impact on children and the elderly.
Crystal Zacarias, a Calgary mother of four children all under the age of six, says it takes a significant length of time for her children to adapt following the biannual time changes
“I think it would make it easier,” said Zacarias. “No more struggling to get them to sleep or to keep them awake.”
Mohez Damji, a professional horologist who owns Global Diamonds in Calgary, has been repairing clocks and watches for the last 45 years. He says the time change takes him away from his trade as he attends to the tedious chore of adjusting the time on all of the timepieces in his shop.
“For us, we have to change each and every clock and everything in the store,” said Damji. “We have maybe 50 repairs that are waiting to be picked up and, when the people come to pick up their goods, they have to be right on time. We have to sit back and we spend four or five hours just for that.”
“I feel it’s a waste of time.”
Sucha say there have been vocal opponents to the proposal. The MLA says business owners near to the British Columbia boundary, including several in the Grande Prairie and Lethbridge regions, have expressed their concerns with the idea of a two-hour time difference with their customers in the province to the west.
The Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future reached out to a number of businesses in Alberta for input including WestJet. In response to the committee’s request, officials with the airline expressed their opposition to the potential time change.
“WestJet is opposed to B203 because of the potential negative impact it will have on our ambitious plans to further connect Alberta globally and make Calgary a global aviation hub,” said Mike McNaney, WestJet’s vice president of industry, corporate and airport affairs in a letter to the committee dated July 21, 2017. “As such, we believe the legislation should not be passed.”
The letter, which WestJet officials shared with CTV, outlined how potentially unattractive early morning flights from the west coast could become with a two hour time difference.
“The economic advantages of a global airline housed in Alberta are numerous and far reaching.
Potential inconsistencies caused by not following widely accepted daylight saving times programs, will negatively impact our hub strategy in the province.”
The provincial government will continue to request feedback from Albertans in the coming weeks.
“The Legislature has mandated that we have to report back by October 4 so we have to be done this process by then,” said Sucha. “We’re going to have a very aggressive September as we move throughout the province hearing from ordinary Albertans and the business community alike.”
To read the bill, visit Bill 203 - Alberta Standard Time Act
With files from CTV's Alesia Fieldberg