Al­berta time should align with B.C., com­mit­tee hears

While many like the idea of elim­i­nat­ing time changes, oth­ers sup­port sta­tus quo

Edmonton Journal - - CITY -

CAL­GARY Many Al­ber­tans want the prov­ince to scrap the twice-an­nual chang­ing of the clocks but are wor­ried about the po­ten­tial time dif­fer­ence with Bri­tish Columbia, says the chair of the leg­is­la­ture com­mit­tee con­sid­er­ing the is­sue.

The stand­ing com­mit­tee on Al­berta’s eco­nomic fu­ture held a pub­lic hear­ing Thurs­day in Cal­gary as part of its re­view of NDP MLA Thomas Dang’s pri­vate mem­ber’s Bill 203, which would put the prov­ince on cen­tral time year-round.

The move to what is be­ing called Al­berta stan­dard time would mean the prov­ince would be on the same time as Saskatchewan all year.

Over the win­ter, Al­berta would have a two-hour time dif­fer­ence from such Bri­tish Columbia cities as Van­cou­ver, how­ever.

Gra­ham Sucha, the NDP MLA who chairs the com­mit­tee, said many of the peo­ple who have ap­peared be­fore the com­mit­tee in other cities like the idea of elim­i­nat­ing the time change each spring and fall, but want Al­berta to be more closely aligned with B.C.

“That’s kind of the un­der­tone of what we’re hear­ing,” the Cal­gar­yShaw MLA said in a brief in­ter­view.

One of two wit­nesses to ap­pear first thing Thurs­day morn­ing, Jen­nifer Carscallan, said the prov­ince should ei­ther stay on moun­tain stan­dard time year-round to match B.C. or main­tain the sta­tus quo.

She noted Van­cou­ver is the near­est ma­jor cen­tre and port to Al­berta and the pro­posed time change would dis­rupt busi­ness and va­ca­tion travel.

“I don’t know why we should switch to be closer to Saskatchewan, and I don’t mean that as any slight to Saskatchewan,” Carscallan told the com­mit­tee.

Carscallan, along with the other early morn­ing pre­sen­ter, Kevin Wolfe, also raised con­cerns about chil­dren hav­ing to walk to school in the dark on win­ter morn­ings.

“We will rob from our chil­dren the abil­ity to walk safely or ride each morn­ing to school,” said Wolfe.

By late af­ter­noon, 24 peo­ple had ad­dressed the com­mit­tee dur­ing its all-day meet­ing.

The com­mit­tee re­ceived more than 13,000 on­line sub­mis­sions by the orig­i­nal July 28 dead­line, which has since been ex­tended to Sept. 15.

The com­mit­tee is to re­port to the leg­is­la­ture by Oct. 4.

The NDP gov­ern­ment has not taken an of­fi­cial po­si­tion on Dang ’s bill, but has been sym­pa­thetic to the idea of elim­i­nat­ing the time change.

Premier Rachel Not­ley said Al­ber­tans are heav­ily en­gaged with the time is­sue.

“If peo­ple want to talk about it, that’s good,” she said in Edmonton. “There are com­pelling ar­gu­ments on both sides of the is­sue and we look for­ward to hear­ing what peo­ple have to say.”

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