Report and discussion about elimination of daylight savings time in the NWT

On March 7th, 2017, Petition 6-18(2): Elimination of Time Change in the Northwest
Territories was presented to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. It contained over 500 electronic signatures of territorial residents. The petition was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Development by way of motion. The Standing Committee produced a report on the petition that discussed the elimination of daylight savings time in the NWT.

Below is an edited version of the October 20th, 2017 discussion about the report that took place in the Legislative Assembly about the report. The original can be found on pages 159-160 of the original Hansard document.

 

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): We have next agreed to consider Committee Report 3-18(3), Standing Committee on Social Development Report on Motion 32-18(2), Referral of Petition 6-18(2), Elimination of Time Change in the Northwest Territories to the Standing Committee on Social Development. I will turn to the chair of the committee which produced the report for any opening comments. Mr. Thompson.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chair. On October 19, 2017, the Standing Committee on Social Development presented its report on Motion 32-18(2), Referral of Petition 6-18(2), Elimination of Time Change in the Northwest Territories, to the Standing Committee on Social Development. The report involved one recommendation. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Thompson. I will open the floor to general comments. Any general comments from committee? Mr. Vanthuyne.

MR. VANTHUYNE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for the committee for undertaking this as well as to those who first presented this as a petition. The petition did get significant uptake. I do not think it is unreasonable to suggest that this is a matter that a lot of residents of the Northwest Territories were hoping would actually be moved forward and would go through.

For me, it is just a matter of time, and maybe now is not the time, but maybe some point in the future, that we are going to reach a point where we no longer have to change our clocks at all. This is antiquated, archaic legislation from back in the wartime days, and it really carries no effect today, but what does carry an effect is the negative effects that switching your clocks forward and backwards each year has.

One thing that the report did not note which, if we are ever to go down this road again, I would strongly suggest they look into, are the effects that it has on families and in particular young, young kids. That is a disruption for families when they are trying to have a newborn or very young child make this adjustment two times a year, but I recognize that this is something that the committee has done some significant work on and the research department has done some good work on, and I regret that it will not be passing, but I just thank them for that and wanted to put my comments on the record. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Vanthuyne. Seeing nothing further, Mr. Thompson.

MR. THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I move that this Assembly recommends, should the Government of the Northwest Territories consider change to the daylight savings time regulation in the future, that it engages with its counterparts in Alberta and undertake both broad, public, and targeted stakeholders’ engagement. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Thompson. There is a motion on the floor. The motion has been distributed and is in order. To the motion. […] Mr. Testart.

MR. TESTART: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and I think the last speaker with the Member opposite kind of summarized, when a lot of these kind of issues come forward, they come forward and they are written off as something that is not important to people, but they are important to people.

In the Province of Alberta, where they had a similar Private Member’s bill, it generated more public engagement than any other piece of legislation in the province’s history. So daylight savings, the debate around daylight savings, because it affects people’s lives in a very personal way, it is disappointing to have things like this that are brought to this House via way of petition – this was not a Member’s initiative; this was an initiative of the people of the Northwest Territories – to be written off as a laughing matter by any Member of this House.

Notwithstanding that, I think the committee is right to pause this work until Alberta, but my one concern is Alberta has said the same thing, that we are not going to move forward until BC does it, and BC has said we are not going to do this until California does it, you know, so they are waiting for one domino to fall and then everyone will follow suit. I say that, if we really think this is a good idea for our residents, let’s be that first domino and let’s just deal with it. Saskatchewan seems to do all right, and I think the Northwest Territories, if this is something our people want, that we should be bold and decide on whether or not we want to be that first domino and see everyone follow suit. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Testart. To the motion. Mr. Nakimayak.

MR. NAKIMAYAK: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, I think motions like this, we need to look at what is going on to the west of us, to the east of us, and as well as other governments in this country and around the world before we start to change something like this which could affect operations within federal jurisdictions like, say, Parks Canada, for instance. They need to coincide, they need to coordinate their time of operations all across Canada, and that is the daylight savings time, time zone changes, and we need to look at the trajectory of which way these are going. I think they are staying stable, and, Mr. Chair, I think we need to focus on issues that directly affect Northerners. This is not one of them, in my view. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Nakimayak. To the motion. I will allow the mover of the motion to close debate. Mr. Thompson.

MR. THOMPSON: Thank you, Mr. Chair. For the record, our committee took this seriously. Our research department looked into this matter quite extensively. I guess the biggest challenge that we found is that we are connected, really, with Alberta, and when Alberta is not going to change anything, that has a huge impact on us. I respect the opinions of my colleagues who voiced their concerns. They are very valid. However, at the end of the day, we have to make sure that we are consistent with our partner, which is Alberta, in how we deal with things, so when we made this recommendation, it was based on the information that we received. If Alberta does not change, then we are causing a disconnect with them, as well. Again, that is why we encouraged, that the motion is that, if it is brought up again, that they work with Alberta and stakeholders in the public to make a decision. Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Thank you, Mr. Thompson. To the motion.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Question.

CHAIRPERSON (Mr. Simpson): Question has been called. All those in favour. All those opposed. The motion is carried.

—Carried