By Richard McGuire
Special to the Chronicle
If MLA Linda Larson is successful with her new bill in the BC Legislature, changing clocks twice a year will be a thing of the past.
Larson’s bill introduced last Tuesday would abolish Daylight Savings Time in BC, putting the province on Standard Time all year round.
“Twice a year, the changing of our clocks forward or back one hour creates a flurry of articles and discussion,” Larson said in the legislature.
“Studies continue to be published about the negative impacts on our health that have documented an increase in both heart attacks and car accidents in the days immediately following the time shift.
Studies have also identified losses to the economy from a lack of productivity directly related to this time shift.”
Larson said her initiative came about after Grand Forks put forward a resolution at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in September.
Other constituents had brought their concerns to her previously, so it was already on her radar, she said.
After UBCM passed the resolution, Larson said Premier John Horgan was noncommittal, prompting people to deluge him with emails.
She believes though that support for her measure crosses party lines.
That support will be needed if Larson’s bill is to go anywhere because she now sits in opposition. And in BC, Larson says, such a private member’s bill needs the blessing of the government to move forward.
She’ll need to reintroduce it in the new legislative session next year and hope that the government puts it forward for debate.
Larson says the public concern is about the time change and not necessarily opposition to Daylight Savings Time.
“I’ve had some people say they want to keep daylight savings and get rid of the winter one,” she said.
Getting rid of Daylight Savings Time between March and November would mean an hour less of sunlight in the evenings and an hour more of sunlight in the early mornings.
Larson said staff at the legislature researched the necessary legislative changes, which require changes to the Interpretation Act and other consequential amendments.
The law, however, refers to Daylight Savings Time, but not to Standard Time. This, Larson believes, would preclude eliminating Standard Time and staying on Daylight Savings Time all year round.
The original bill, she said, came in after the First World War in 1918 and was aimed at conserving coal.
“I think the time has come,” said Larson. “A hundred years – the time has come.”
(Richard McGuire is a reporter with the Osoyoos Times.)