NDP wants to turn off daylight savings time
Province: Clocks change Sunday, March 12
Friday, Mar 10, 2017 04:43 pm
If an Edmonton MLA has his way, this weekend could be the last time Albertans will have to move their clocks ahead for spring.
NDP MLA Thomas Dang intends to introduce private members legislation this spring to eliminate daylight savings time.
“Since we’ve been talking about it for the last few months, we’ve heard from hundreds of Albertans and actually we’ve heard from across the country too,” said the Edmonton-Southwest MLA. “The vast majority of Albertans are on board to get rid of daylight savings time.”
Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday, March 12. Each spring, Albertans turn their clocks ahead one hour, providing an extra hour of sunlight in the evening, and then turn their clocks back one hour again in November.
Dang said he hopes to stop this practice with his private member’s bill. He said it follows a similar motion introduced at the NDP provincial council in the fall and the party’s rural caucus has also proposed it.
Dang said he wants to hear from Albertans about his proposal, when they spend time outdoors and what impact a change could have on them.
He said he has found research that shows energy use for air conditioning goes up with daylight savings time and there is a greater prevalence of workplace injuries or collisions when times change in the spring and fall.
Dang held meetings in the Edmonton area and online consultation. So far, Dang said the response has been in favour of eliminating daylight savings time.
“I think that Albertans overwhelmingly do want some sort of change, but we do need to know exactly where it is they fall,” he said.
Dang said he wasn’t able to hold additional meetings in other parts of Alberta due to budget limitations on private members bills.
The proposal doesn’t sit well with at least one Foothills resident.
MD of Foothills resident Bob Russell said eliminating daylight savings time will mean less sunlight and time to be active in the evenings during the summer.
He said it would require turning on lights for outdoor events earlier, resulting in more use of electricity.
“People have been doing it for 70 years or more,” Russell said. “It’s there for a reason, people would be burning more electricity if there wasn’t daylight savings time.”
Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson said Russell has spoken to him about the potential impact on sports. It’s an argument Anderson said has merit.
“Having the extra hour of daylight in the evening benefits a lot of people, recreational sports, more than having an extra hour of daylight in the morning when people are not as active,” he said. “Just golfers are some of the only ones out that early.”
Anderson said he has done his own informal polling, asking people in his riding what they think about daylight savings time.
“It’s kinda split 50/50,” he said. “Some people would like to see it change, but there’s a number of people would like to see it remain the same.”
Anderson said there are families and individuals that rely on the extra hour of daylight in the evenings for so many activities, whether it’s organized sports, personal activities or simply getting home from work and putting supper on the table before the sun goes down.
Ultimately, Anderson said would rather daylight savings time remain in place.
“I guess I’m a traditionalist, I like to see it spring ahead in the spring and fall back in the fall,” he said.