B.C. Premier John Horgan says he hopes when British Columbians set their clocks forward Sunday morning, it will be the last time they do it.
The time shift is the annual switch to Daylight Saving Time, which B.C.’s NDP government has pledged to eliminate.
The B.C. legislature passed legislation in 2019 giving the province the power to stop seasonal time changes — but the process has been delayed by a failure by U.S. states in the same time zone to follow suit.
“I’ve heard from businesses, I’ve heard with people, they want to stay in contact with the Pacific time zone. We’re going to be watching closely how that happens,” Horgan said at his Friday media availability.
Both Washington state and Oregon passed legislation to scrap the annual time change. California voters approved the idea by 62 per cent in 2018, but the proposal has since stalled in the state senate.
The initiative would also require approval of the U.S. federal government.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio reintroduced the Sunshine Protection Act in the Senate which would allow states to make Daylight Saving Time permanent. He introduced an identical bill in 2018, which stalled before reaching a vote.
In 2019, 223,273 British Columbians responded to an online questionnaire about getting rid of seasonal time changes. The most popular questionnaire in the province’s history indicated 93 per cent of respondents wanted to get rid of the twice-annual tradition.
Last March, Yukon made Daylight Saving Time permanent.
Horgan said he’d reached out to the Canadian ambassador to the U.S. to try and nudge the effort forward.
“The Canadian ambassador understands our position, she’s working with the congressional delegations from the three western states, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to make progress before the fall when we’re scheduled to ‘fall backward,'” Horgan said.
Tara Holmes, an organizer with the group Stop the Time Change B.C., said no jurisdiction seems to want to be the first one to actually make good on the change, despite its popularity.
She called on B.C. to be a leader on the proposal, adding that she believes other governments would quickly follow.
“Wouldn’t it be great leadership to say we are going to do this like (Yukon Premier) Sandy Silver did up north, and stay on it? And I guarantee the rest of the country will follow, and yes (Governor) Jay Inslee in Washington state will follow at some point as well,” she told CKNW’s Jill Bennett Show.
“We do trade with them, we do, but my goodness, business is done 24/7 online now and for a little while I don’t think it would really matter much being an hour different.”
In the meantime, Horgan reminded British Columbians to change their clocks Sunday, and to use the opportunity to double-check the batteries in their smoke detectors while they were at it.
“Let’s hope that this is the last time,” he said.
— With files from the Associated Press