Alberta time should align with B.C., committee hears
While many like the idea of eliminating time changes, others support status quo
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.”