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Alberta debates ending twice-yearly time changes

Alberta debates ending twice-yearly time changes
From CBC - September 17, 2017

The ritual of springing ahead and falling back has sparked a debate in Alberta over whether changing time twice a year is necessary, healthy or good for business.

A private member's bill introduced by a government MLA that would rid Alberta of shifting standard and daylight time has created a division in the province. Three-quarters of people answering an online questionnaire supportthe move, while businesses,particularlyaviation and professional sports, vehemently object.

On one side, Alberta's major airports and WestJet, as well as the hockey Flames and Oilers are urging acommittee of the legislature that isstudying the bill to reject it.

On social media the shift has been described by some as an NDP government plot against business. "Socialists want to destroy Alberta business and way of life. Leave DST alone,"wrote one man on Twitter.

But surveys showstrong support for eliminating the two-time system.

The government survey conducted over the spring and summer received 13,000 responses, with about 10,000 of them urging Alberta to eliminate thetradition of turning the clocks ahead one hour in March and back in November.

The debate began in the darkest days of winter when Alberta's youngest MLA, 21-year-old Thomas Dang, began his political assault to end "this really dated practice."

"I know most Albertans want us to get off of the change," he told CBC News in a mid-December interview. "I know they want us to keep one time all year round."

Among other problems, switching time disrupts family life, especially for schoolchildren, and farm activities such as caring for cattle, Dangargues.

Dang, it seems, did not waste an hour after that. In February he tested the waters with his own online survey and found resounding support. Then, just days after Albertans dutifully moved their clocks forwardin March, Dangintroduced the Alberta Standard Time Act.

The changes would leave Alberta on Mountain daylight time year round, though the time zonewould be renamed Alberta Standard Time.

In the winter, that would put the province two hours ahead of British Columbiaand one hour behind Ontario. In summer, it would be one hour ahead of B.C. and two hours behind Ontario.

A brief history of daylighttime

Daylight time was introduced during the First World War to conserveenergy. The reasoning went thatrousting people from their beds an hour earlier in the summer months would put themmore in syncwith the solar cycle, and thus they would not need to turn the lights on as often.

Canadian cities were first to sign on in 1918, when Winnipeg, Montreal, Halifax and a few other centres adopted the time change.

But the provinces are responsible for all matters of time, and since the 1960s most have moved in lockstep with U.S. states to avoid disruptions in business. While the vast majority of North American jurisdictions observe daylight time in spring and summer, Dang's bill has given voice to a rising chorus calling for an end to the twice-yearly disruption of schedules.

What the research shows

We often hear about groggy students and crashing cars in the days after the spring time change. And there is legitimate research to back that up. Unfortunately there's not a lot of it, and some dates back decades.

Stanley Coren,a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, showed a clear link between daylight timeand motor vehicle collisions in a 1996 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. He looked at two years of Canadian accident statistics andconcluded there is a slight increase in crashes in the week after daylight timebegins in spring, and a more moderate reduction when clocks are turned back in the fall.

WestJet opposes change

Late games irk Oilers, Flames

Government will decide

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