In a surprise announcement Canada’s Justin Trudeau announced that the province of Quebec will switch to metric time (MT) in 2020. All of Quebec’s timepieces will be converted to the new system over the course of the next three years. Trudeau himself has been experimenting with MT, using it for the past month and claiming it improves his efficiency being a more logical way of managing time.
National and international time specialists fear the move will disrupt trade and cause confusion. Metric time has 100 seconds in every minute, 100 minutes in every hour and 10 hours in every semi-day to give an overall equivalence of 20 metric hours per regular 24-hour period. Quebec’s move follows suit with France who announced their adoption of the new units earlier this year. The official French line has been that this is consistent with the original intent of the metric system, as postulated by Marquis de Condorcet:
“The metric system is for all the people for all the time” (Condorcet, 1791)
There will be many practical hurdles to overcome, not least for Quebec-bound air travelers who will have to acclimatize themselves to leaving Toronto at 1215h and arriving in Montreal at 11.75hm, heure locale.
Trudeau’s time-bombshell was dropped at a press conference in Ottawa. Noticeably late, he announced that this followed the great French traditions of free thought, cooperation and empathy with foreigners.
The only positive reaction to date has been from Apple who may have finally found a raison d’être for their Watch. This could transform the device from being just a complicated way of ordering a burrito to the only mechanism for seamless integration of MT. The current battery life of approximately 2 hours during the harsh Quebec winter season may still cause some problems and delayed burritos.