Alberta debates ending twice-yearly time changes – Edmonton

The ritual of springing ahead and falling back has sparked a debate in Alberta over whether changing time twice a year is necessary, healthy or good for business.

A private member’s bill introduced by a government MLA that would rid Alberta of shifting standard and daylight time has created a division in the province. Three-quarters of people answering an online questionnaire support the move, while businesses, particularly aviation and professional sports, vehemently object.

On one side, Alberta’s major airports and WestJet, as well as the hockey Flames and Oilers are urging a committee of the legislature that is studying the bill to reject it.

On social media the shift has been described by some as an NDP government plot against business. “Socialists want to destroy Alberta business and way of life. Leave DST alone,” wrote one man on Twitter.  

But surveys show strong support for eliminating the two-time system.

The government survey conducted over the spring and summer received 13,000 responses, with about 10,000 of them urging Alberta to eliminate the tradition of turning the clocks ahead one hour in March and back in November.

The debate began in the darkest days of winter when Alberta’s youngest MLA, 21-year-old Thomas Dang, began his political assault to end “this really dated practice.”

Alberta MLA Thomas Dang wants to eliminate the ‘dated practice’ of changing from standard to daylight time, and back again. (Trevor Wilson/CBC)

“I know most Albertans want us to get off of the change,” he told CBC News in a mid-December interview. “I know they want us to keep one time all year round.”

Among other problems, switching time disrupts family life, especially for schoolchildren, and farm activities such as caring for cattle, Dang argues.

Dang, it seems, didn’t waste an hour after that. In February he tested the waters with his own online survey and found resounding support. Then, just days after Albertans dutifully moved their clocks forward in March, Dang introduced the Alberta Standard Time Act.

The changes would leave Alberta on Mountain daylight time year round, though the time zone would be renamed Alberta Standard Time.

In the winter, that would put the province two hours ahead of British Columbia and one hour behind Ontario. In summer, it would be one hour ahead of B.C. and two hours behind Ontario.

But it would align Alberta with the one province that has held out on imposing daylight saving…

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