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Here's what Alberta's vote on Daylight Saving Time means for the N.W.T.

Last week, Albertans went to the polls to vote on whether to adopt Daylight Saving Time year-round. The N.W.T. may follow suit, and one MLA says the territory is eagerly waiting for Alberta's results.

Alberta and N.W.T. residents are expected to learn the outcome of the vote Tuesday

Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson says he expects the territory to adopt Daylight Saving Time year-round if Alberta does. (Mario De Ciccio/Radio-Canada)

Albertans learn Tuesday whether a majority of them want to adopt Daylight Saving Time permanently, and the Northwest Territories is poised to follow suit if that's the case.

Department of Justice spokesperson Ngan Trinh said in an email the territory is watching Alberta's results "with great interest," though it's too soon to speculate on what the N.W.T. will do as a result of the vote.

N.W.T. MLAs have already voted for legislation brought forward by Justice Minister R.J. Simpson earlier this year that would allow for the elimination of seasonal time changes. That legislation won't come into effect until the government makes an order to do so.

Adopting Daylight Saving Time permanently would mean later sunrises and sunsets in the winter, as the territory would stay on summer hours year-round.

Yellowknife North MLA Rylund Johnson told CBC News Monday afternoon he fully expects the N.W.T. to go ahead with permanent Daylight Saving Time if Alberta chooses to do so.

He said he, too, has been eagerly watching the results out of Alberta.

Albertans cast their votes on the question last week during the municipal election, and some municipalities released early numbers that showed the vote fairly evenly split.

Given that a survey last year showed nine in 10 Albertans supported permanent Daylight Savings, Johnson said he believes people are in favour of getting rid of the time change in general; the real debate is over whether to adopt Daylight Saving Time, or Standard Time, which would mean earlier sunrises and sunsets in the summer.

"I don't think there's a clear majority on that, which is why the Alberta vote is so close. Which then, if this fails, it forces us in the N.W.T. to start all over with that debate," he said.

"I believe there's general agreement there to get rid of the time change, but we, as all members, and the minister (of Justice) would have to kind of re-engage the public on whether to go the Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time route."

A shift across Western Canada

The time change debate isn't unique to Alberta or the Northwest Territories.

Last year, Yukon voted to adopt Daylight Saving Time permanently. B.C. was expected to as well, after passing legislation, but ultimately decided to wait until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saskatchewan stays on Central Standard Time year-round.

Provinces and territories that still have the time change will roll their clocks back one hour on Nov. 7 this year.

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