Time is precious

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It looks like Alberta will not scrap daylights savings after all and I for one am disappointed.

For years, through various opinion pieces, I have lobbied the powers to be to scrap daylights savings time.

As a person who grew up in Creston, B.C., a community which besides being famous for its fruit and Kokanee beer, is known for not changing time. For better or worse, Creston is permanently locked on Pacific Standard Time. And for the most part everyone managed just fine. It isn’t just the inconvenience of having to change all my clocks, I’m not that lazy, but the lack of sleep. I don’t know about you, but sleep is a precious commodity in my household and anything that takes it away raises my ire.

In the spring, I have to move my clocks forward, losing an hour of sleep. The same thing happens again in the fall, when I have to do it all over again, this time moving my clock back an hour. I know in theory, I should be happy because I get that hour of sleep back, but what usually happens is that it just messes up my body’s rhythms so I yet again lose sleep.

And all of this is because, some people way back when and are no longer alive, thought for their own selfish reasons, that DST was a good idea.

It was New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, who first proposed a two-hour time shift in 1895. Hudson was a shift worker and amateur entomologist (he collected bugs) and wanted more daylight to aid in his collecting of bugs. In England in 1905, prominent builder and outdoorsman William Willett also proposed the idea of DST. Willett was an avid golfer who was upset that he had to often cut his golf games short due to a lack of daylight. However, it was not until World War I that daylight savings time actually started to gain some traction. On April 30, 1916, Germany became the first country to enact DST in an effort to conserve coal.

That’s why I was so excited when kindred spirit, Thomas Dang, MLA for Edmonton southwest. In late 2016, Dang introduced a private member’s bill that if passed will see time change come to an end.

It also looks like the majority of Albertans support the abolishment of time change. The government has received about 13,000 written submissions, with 75 per cent of people wanting to scrap the time change.

Unfortunately for me, WestJet Airlines Ltd and both of Alberta’s NHL hockey teams are not among them. They all say the elimination of time change would impact their bottom lines.

Whether or not it would I’m not sure, but what I am sure about is that it impacts sleep and not for the better — and how much does that impact our economy in terms of productivity and added health care costs?

I hope the Alberta legislature takes that into account when the bill before them for discussion in the next few weeks.

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