The Situation Room – My disappointment with Daylight Savings Time’s continuation

Mac Olsen

Daylight Savings Time ended in Alberta last Saturday night, but my desire for it to end permanently will not be fulfilled, although the idea of its demise seemed to catch on with many Albertans.

Earlier this year, the Alberta Government had proposed Bill 203, the Alberta Standard Time Act, and as per a CTV News story on Aug. 9:

“Of the 13,562 people who submitted written submissions on their opinions on Bill 203, a whopping 74 per cent supported the bill to kill daylight saving time while only 24 per cent didn’t. Less than two per cent of respondents were undecided.

“I wasn’t surprised by the survey results,” MLA Thomas Dang, who is behind the bill, said. “They matched up what my consultation earlier this year showed and I believe Albertans are very passionate about this issue and they’re very onside with this issue.”

But MLA Richard Starke, also quoted in the same story, disagrees.

“It’s still a relatively small number when you compare to the overall population,” he said of the written submissions. Starke believes that the issue should be put to a referendum that runs concurrently with the next provincial election.”

However, on Oct. 30, Bill 203 was defeated by a vote of 46-6. And as detailed in another CTV News report the next day, organizations like the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames and WestJet Airlines spoke out against the bill.

“The NHL franchises worried ditching daylight time would cause games to start too late for some fans to watch.

“WestJet expressed concern that the move would lead to earlier morning departures for those travelling from B.C. to Alberta, and might have prompted some travellers to avoid the province altogether.”

Irrespective of business interests and concerns, there is no practical reason for DST to continue.

During the First and Second World Wars, fine, I understand that energy conservation was the primary motivation for implementing Daylight Savings Time. But after those wars, continuing DST did not make sense.

A year-round standard time keeps your day and sleep pattern consistent. Having to move one hour ahead in April and then one hour back in November results in its own form of jet lag.

And having lived in northern regions of Canada most of my life, the days are short enough in winter and too long in the summer, without having to deal with DST.

No, the time has come to end DST. I’m not sympathetic to the economic arguments to maintain it. Sports teams and airlines can project a doom-and-gloom scenario about eliminating DST. But they would survive and adjust accordingly, benefitting financially in returning to a year-round standardized time.

The sky won’t fall if a year-round standardized is adopted in Alberta. I certainly hope that another Alberta Standard Time Act is introduced and passed.

But, for now, our back-and-forth time adjustments will have to continue.

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