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Election results: Albertans say no to permanent Daylight Saving Time, but yes to a rework of Equalization

Results are official on Alberta's referendum votes for Senators, Equalization and Daylight Saving Time.
Though results favouring a renegotiation of Equalization and options for the Senate are symbolic, the choice to stick with the status quo on time change is the one referendum result with any weight. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

Elections Alberta released the official results for the 2021 Alberta Senate Election and Referendum Vote on Equalization and Daylight Saving Time.

Though it's symbolic, (only the Prime Minister can make appointments to the Senate), those nominees with the most votes on Oct. 18 were:

  • Pam Davidson, Conservative Party of Canada

  • Erika Barootes, Conservative Party of Canada

  • Mykhailo Martyniouk, Conservative Party of Canada

On the issue of equalization, the referendum question asked electors: Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 – Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments – be removed from the constitution? Alberta's Chief Electoral Officer said the YES vote won, with 642,501 votes (61.7 per cent) ballots cast in favour, and the NO vote representing 38.3 per cent, or 399,169 of electors.

The vote result drew immediate reaction from those who want to see Canada renegotiate equalization with the provinces. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, for one, is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and premiers to begin negotiations on the equalization program, even though the current equalization formula was renewed by an act of Parliament in 2018 and doesn't expire until March 31, 2024.

“Albertans have sent a clear message that equalization isn’t working and it’s time for reform,” said Kevin Lacey, Alberta Director for the CTF. “Trudeau shouldn’t ignore the 642,501 Albertans who went to the polls and voted for a fair deal.”

“These results have given Alberta’s government a powerful mandate to secure changes to equalization and other federal transfers that have treated Albertans unfairly for so long. Our message is clear: Ottawa must respect Alberta and the huge role we play in Canada’s economic prosperity," said Premier Jason Kenney.

The referendum question on Daylight Saving Time asked electors: Do you want Alberta to adopt year-round Daylight Saving Time, which is summer hours, eliminating the need to change our clocks twice a year?

The Chief Electoral Officer said 531,782 Albertans (49.8 per cent) voted YES, to make a change, while 50.2 per cent, or 536,874 Albertans voted no, which would keep things as they are.

“The results of the referendum show that, right now, Albertans prefer to continue changing their clocks. There is no right or wrong answer on DST. We respect the decision made," said Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta.

Albertans will continue to adjust their clocks twice a year as they have in the past. The next time change takes place on Nov. 7, when Alberta falls back one hour.

The provincial vote totals, as well as the votes reported from each municipality, are available at