It’s become a spring and fall ritual for B.C. Premier John Horgan, trying to meet public demand to do away with seasonal time changes, and waiting for western U.S. states to get federal permission first.
Horgan said Friday he has renewed his efforts to persuade the U.S. Congress to allow Washington, Oregon and California to switch to daylight saving time and stay there. Yukon’s government skipped the time travel and stayed on daylight time last fall, but Horgan says economic ties between B.C. and the western states would be disrupted too much to follow Yukon’s lead.
This weekend is the most unpopular for the subject, as most B.C. residents prepare to lose an hour’s sleep on Saturday night to stay in step with the U.S. Horgan said he raised the subject recently with Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.
“The Canadian ambassador understands our position,” Horgan told reporters March 12. “She’s working with the congressional delegations from the three western states and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to make progress before the fall when we would be scheduled to fall backwards.
“But for now, my message to British Columbians is: We’re springing forward, change the batteries on your smoke alarms, and enjoy the spring and summer ahead.”
Some local governments have acted on their own. The Peace River region in northeast B.C. has long been on Mountain Standard Time all year round, lining up with B.C. in summer, and the East Kootenay region follows Mountain Standard and Mountain Daylight time to align with Alberta. B.C. passed legislation in the fall of 2019 to go to change the time province-wide.
Researchers at Simon Fraser and University of B.C. wrote to the government at the time, telling them the best move for public health is to go on standard time year-round. But the political winds are all blowing in favour of daylight saving time, all the time. “Our body’s internal biological clock needs exposure to morning light,” the letter emphasizes.
Washington, Oregon, California and B.C. have all prepared to stay on daylight time, but Horgan said the message from airlines, high tech, the movie and TV business is for B.C. not to go it alone.
“We have such extraordinary economic relationships going south the California, whether it be our high tech sector, working in collaboration with Microsoft and other major companies in Washington state, Hollywood North,” Horgan said. “Some of the advantages of being in the same time zone as Hollywood means that our burgeoning film and television industry, which is making record productions at this point, needs to be on the same wavelength.”