Year-round day­light time em­braced by prov­ince

Times Colonist - - Front Page - CINDY E. HARNETT

The B.C. gov­ern­ment could in­tro­duce leg­is­la­tion this fall to man­date year-round day­light time, de­pend­ing on what hap­pens in the United States, B.C. Jobs Min­is­ter Bruce Ral­ston said Tues­day.

“On the B.C. side I think we will wait for the Amer­i­cans to go first, but there has to be a change in leg­is­la­tion by the prov­ince,” said Ral­ston. “We don’t want to go out alone on this, so we will co-or­di­nate our ef­forts. We want to see what the Amer­i­can Congress does first, al­though it looks like it will go for­ward.”

On Tues­day, the prov­ince re­leased a re­port show­ing 93 per cent of 220,000 peo­ple who an­swered a B.C. gov­ern­ment sur­vey think the prov­ince should move to year-round day­light time.

Seven per cent wanted to stick with the cur­rent sys­tem of time changes in spring and fall.

The gov­ern­ment said it rec­og­nizes the im­por­tance of be­ing in sync with Wash­ing­ton state, Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia when it comes to busi­ness and trade.

The com­ing fall leg­is­la­ture ses­sion is only 20 days and there are many hur­dles, so it would be “op­ti­mistic” to see leg­is­la­tion in the fall “but the gov­ern­ment is con­vinced based on this con­sul­ta­tion that there is strong pub­lic sup­port for it,” Ral­ston said.

Sup­port for year-round day­light time was con­sis­tent through­out B.C. More than 90 per cent of re­spon­dents in each re­gion sup­ported year-round day­light time.

Of those in favour, 54 per cent agree B.C. should be aligned with neigh­bour­ing ju­ris­dic­tions.

Linda Lar­son, B.C. Lib­eral MLA for Bound­ary-Sim­ilka­meen, has in­tro­duced a pri­vate-mem­bers bill to keep the prov­ince on day­light time year-round.

Politi­cians in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and Cal­i­for­nia are cre­at­ing or en­act­ing leg­is­la­tion that, with fed­eral ap­proval, would see those states adopt year-round day­light time.

So far this year, at least 36 states have in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to end time changes, or study a per­ma­nent time, more than any year be­fore, ac­cord­ing to an NBC News re­port last month.

Some bills call for all-year stan­dard time (Hawaii and Ari­zona are the two states that use stan­dard time), but most en­dorse per­ma­nent day­light time.

In Wash­ing­ton, such a bill re­ceived Se­nate ap­proval and Gov. Jay Inslee signed off on it in May, but be­cause fed­eral law only al­lows states to per­ma­nently adopt stan­dard time, con­gres­sional ap­proval for per­ma­nent day­light time is re­quired.

There’s no time line on that, but U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has said he wouldn’t stand in its way “al­though I sup­pose that could change,” Ral­ston noted.

From the per­spec­tive of trade and busi­ness, “one of the at­tributes we have and speak of when we talk about why B.C. is so at­trac­tive for Sil­i­con Val­ley tech com­pa­nies or the film in­dus­try is that we are in the same time zone so that be­comes very very im­por­tant, that that unity of time zone is pre­served,” Ral­ston said.

He said it speaks to Pre­mier John Hor­gan’s “po­lit­i­cal el­bow” that he rec­og­nized this was an is­sue and or­dered the time-change sur­vey. The pre­mier will meet with Yukon’s pre­mier at the end of Septem­ber, and he’ll be in Seat­tle in Oc­to­ber when he will speak with Wash­ing­ton’s gover­nor, Ral­ston said.

“The peo­ple of British Columbia have spo­ken and their col­lec­tive voice has come through loudly and clearly,” Hor­gan said in a state­ment. “This en­gage­ment has done ex­actly as we hoped it would in pro­vid­ing clar­ity about a pre­ferred di­rec­tion.”

The gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edges the vol­un­tary na­ture of the sur­vey al­lows for a self-selec­tion bias — peo­ple who want a change are more likely to par­tic­i­pate.

Sev­enty-five per cent of those who pre­fer year-round day­light time iden­ti­fied health and well­ness con­cerns as the main rea­son.

How­ever, 74 per cent of those who pre­fer to keep time changes in spring and fall said they wanted to bal­ance day­light hours through­out the year, with 36 per cent iden­ti­fy­ing health and well­ness con­cerns.

B.C. moved to day­light time at 2 a.m. on March 10, ad­vanc­ing clocks by an hour. On Nov. 3, clocks will re­vert to stan­dard time. For 2020, the time change dates are March 8 and Nov. 1.

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