B.C. Liberal Party MLA Linda Larson from the Boundary-Similkameen riding, spoke in a committee meeting in B.C. Legislature Tuesday afternoon on the issue of health care in the Osoyoos-Oliver area. (B.C. Legislature image)

BC MLA wants to abolish Daylight Saving Time

Okanagan-Boundary MLA Linda Larson put forward a private member bill

Next spring, it will be 100 years since we first had to set our clocks forward for daylight saving time. Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson thinks it is time to end it.

“It is something that is widely supported and was put on the floor at the 2017 UBCM by one of my communities, Grand Forks,” said Larson. “It was supported by the members of UBCM and the premier just kind of ignored it. He did say people could contact him and he received so many emails that he had to close down that account because it was so overwhelmed.”

Larson first introduced Bill M201 last Thursday at the end of the fall session and moved it be placed on the orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House in February. She said there were claps of support from the other side of the House when she presented and that she will be reaching out to see if she can garner support from the government.

“I really do feel it has a fighting chance,” she said, adding the purpose of daylight savings time has long since gone.

MLA Thomas Dang of Edmonton South West launched a similar bill in Alberta earlier this year.

“I have reached out by email to that member that introduced it but haven’t heard back from him yet. It had failed and one of the reasons was B.C. wasn’t doing it. So let’s get it out there and get back on board,” said Larson. “Finally people’s clocks will be their clock. You won’t have distraction twice a year that causes no end of issues … there is enough documentation and studies to show what it has done to negatively affect us.”

According to the Canadian Press, public consultations in Alberta on the bill show people are divided on the issue and businesses such as WestJet said it could lead to economic losses. Although Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said there would be more debate on the issue, Dang believes if more jurisdictions brought the debate forward it could be a nationwide conversation

Larson said she hopes if her bill moves forward it would be debated on the floor of the house. She does not believe a costly referendum is needed when the public opinion can be taken through online surveys.

Jaret Blidook, a licensed practical nurse in Oliver, is fully supportive of moving the province to standard time year-round and asks that the issue receive non-partisan support.

“In my industry, I talk to shift work nurses that find it difficult for them. Even things as simple as administrating medication that people need at a certain time, people who are diabetic, or have a certain regime where we are waking them up an hour early to give their medication or an hour later, it does have an effect on them. It throws people off for days until their body can reset,” said Blidock.

He said whether you like the time change or not, what is important is to objectively look at studies about how it affects people. In Larson’s introduction of the bill, she noted studies have been published about the negative impacts including an increase in heart attacks and car accidents in the days immediately following the time shift. She noted that studies have also identified losses to the economy from lack of productivity directly related to the time shift.

Should the bill pass, changes would be required to the Interpretation Act and other consequential amendments.

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