It’s time to pull the plug on day­light sav­ing time

The Delhi News-Record - - OPINION - MIKE JIGGENS

The end of day­light sav­ing time on the week­end has again raised the ques­tion, “Do we re­ally need this, and, if we do, why isn’t there global uni­for­mity to day­light sav­ing time?”

Day­light sav­ing time has never been ob­served in most of Africa, and much of Asia and South Amer­ica did away with it years ago af­ter giv­ing it a try. The coun­tries on these con­ti­nents see no need for it. The Euro­pean Union is in dis­cus­sions about break­ing away from day­light sav­ing time.

Even here in Canada, there is no uni­for­mity to day­light sav­ings time. Most of Saskatchewan, for ex­am­ple, prefers to keep time con­stant the year round.

So, is it re­ally nec­es­sary to “fall back” and “spring for­ward” ev­ery year? Day­light sav­ing time was orig­i­nally con­ceived as a means of con­serv­ing en­ergy for roughly half the year, but many Cana­dian hy­dro of­fi­cials say there is lit­tle ev­i­dence to sug­gest it’s as ef­fec­tive as it was ini­tially cracked up to be.

Ac­cord­ing to a sleep ex­pert from Man­i­toba, it can take the bet­ter part of a week for the av­er­age per­son to read­just to a proper sleep sched­ule. Dur­ing that pe­riod of ad­just­ment, the risk of be­com­ing in­jured – es­pe­cially in traf­fic ac­ci­dents – is greater, the ex­pert says. Some Cana­dian prov­inces have ver­i­fied that as­ser­tion, not­ing the num­ber of traf­fic ac­ci­dents typ­i­cally in­crease in the days and weeks im­me­di­ately fol­low­ing day­light sav­ings time.

Speak­ing per­son­ally, I’m not a fan of day­light sav­ing time. The ex­tra hour we’re awarded in the fall to sleep in is given right back again in the spring. When dusk ar­rives at 4:30 p.m. by the first of De­cem­ber, it gets pretty de­press­ing. You’re driv­ing home from work in the dark and it feels more like 9 p.m. Stu­dents bused back and forth to school wait to board the bus barely af­ter dawn and fi­nally ar­rive home of­ten at dusk. There’s some­thing not quite right about this.

There is also the in­con­ve­nience of hav­ing to change the clocks twice a year.

I can’t imag­ine the world would come to an end if day­light sav­ing time was abol­ished. But it’s one of these things that ev­ery­one ideally needs to agree upon. If Canada wished to put an end to this, it’s in our best in­ter­ests that the United States does like­wise. Cross-bor­der busi­ness and air travel be­tween both coun­tries might get a lit­tle chaotic, but we could still func­tion on our own with­out an agree­ment with the U.S.

We adopted the met­ric sys­tem decades ago while the U.S. opted to stay the course with the Bri­tish sys­tem. Amer­i­cans cross­ing the bor­der by car con­tinue to have to ad­just to speeds mea­sured in kilo­me­tres per hour and adapt to tem­per­a­tures stated in Cel­sius, but it works. If Canada took the lead and did away with day­light sav­ing time, the United States would even­tu­ally adapt and per­haps even fol­low suit.

Ob­vi­ously this works in most of Saskatchewan. The prov­ince has made no noise about want­ing to join most of the rest of Canada in adopt­ing day­light sav­ing time. Per­haps it’s time for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to study the Saskatchewan model and con­sider do­ing away with day­light sav­ing time from coast to coast.

It’s had a good run, but it’s re­ally not nec­es­sary to keep it go­ing. Heck, if this coun­try can le­gal­ize mar­i­juana, it can do away with day­light sav­ing time.

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