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ANTLE: Why year-round Daylight Saving Time is wrong for Alberta

I was initially excited when our provincial government proposed to do away with the biannual clock changes. However, I was disappointed to see that the proposal was to move to permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST).

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Guest Column: Dr. Michael Antle is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary and Hotchkiss Brain Institute

As a scientist who studies how our bodies tracks time, I’ve long advocated to do away with the tradition of changing our clocks twice a year. I was initially excited when our provincial government proposed to do away with the biannual clock changes. However, I was disappointed to see the proposal was to move to permanent Daylight Saving Time (DST). Every sleep and circadian organization in the world, including the Canadian Society for Chronobiology, advocates for the adoption of the more natural permanent standard time. Permanent DST was tried in Russia in 2012 and in the USA in 1973. In each case, the practice was abandoned once citizens experienced just how profoundly long and dark the winter mornings were. We should not repeat their mistakes.

This leads to two questions. Why is year-round DST so bad? And why is it so bad for Alberta? Year-round DST will have us all waking up and going to work/school an hour earlier in the winter over what we do now on Standard Time. The problem here arises because our body clock — which governs when we wake and sleep — follows daylight. On DST, we have later dawns and later sunsets than on standard time. While the clock in our brain dictates when we should wake, it is the clock on the wall that dictates when we need to wake to keep our employers and teachers happy. When these clocks disagree, we experience social jet lag. We know from large-scale, nation-wide studies that people who experience later sunsets sleep less and have poorer health, with increased rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. This comes from later bedtimes with later sunsets, but early awakenings. The greater the mismatch between our body clock and our society clock, the worse this is for our health.

But why will DST be so bad for Alberta in particular? It has to do with our geographic position relative to the time we follow. On Standard Time, Alberta follows Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) minus-7. The ideal location for this time zone is quite a bit east of Alberta. For this reason, even when on standard time, days in Alberta are already quite delayed. On standard time, the middle of our solar day should be close to 12 noon, but in Calgary and Edmonton it can be as late as 12:50 p.m. So in Alberta, we’re already experiencing DST-like days on Standard Time.

On DST, our days are actually closer to double-DST, with solar noon now occurring is late as 1:44 pm in our major cities. In fact, on DST Calgary and Edmonton are the most delayed relative to the time they follow of all major Canadian cities besides Thunder Bay, Ont.

The problem becomes even worse when we consider Alberta’s population lives significantly further north than in other Canadian province. Edmonton is Canada’s most northern major city, and Calgary is third. This means while we have gloriously long summer days, we have incredibly short winter days. Combining these really short winter days with our geographic mismatch from the time zone we follow means in the winter on DST, dawn will be as late as 9:39 a.m. in Calgary, 9:50 a.m. in Edmonton, and 10:21 a.m. in Grande Prairie.

The mismatch between the social clock that governs our lives and our circadian that follows the sun and governs our biology will be quite severe. Our children and many of our workers leave for school and work before 8 a.m., long before dawn. But because our circadian clock follows the delayed daylight, it will feel like leaving for school and work before 7 a.m. This means we will start our winter days with sleepy workers, sleepy students and sleepy drivers. Because of Alberta’s unique geographic position and northern population, the negative effects will be more profound here than in other provinces.

A lot of people think that the choice of standard vs. daylight time in the winter is arbitrary and comes down to personal preference. However, for the reasons listed above, I’m recommending in this referendum, continuing with the clock changes is the better option on the ballot.

Sadly, the best option — to have the more natural permanent standard time — is not on the ballot.

Dr. Michael Antle is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Calgary and Hotchkiss Brain Institute

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Dennis

    October 19, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    I agree with Baron, surely there are more pressing issues than this.

  2. Russ G

    October 12, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    As Dr. Michael Antle stated at the very bottom of the article, the best option is “to have the more natural permanent standard time”, but that is not an option on the ballot.

    I agree that permanent standard time is the best way to go. It SHOULD have been an option.

  3. Kieran

    October 11, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    Once I lived in a country without changing time and it was way better experience than Dr. Antle says.

  4. Bill Mccann

    October 11, 2021 at 8:46 am

    I prefer DST. I’d sooner have the extra daylight on summer evenings, summers are already short enough.

  5. Baron Not Baron

    October 10, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Oh FFS is this the most pressing issue at hand???????

  6. Left Coast

    October 10, 2021 at 10:35 am

    I got up and left for work at about 6 am 5 days a week for many decades.
    It didn’t matter whether is was DST or ST . . . for close to 6 months of the year I was driving to work in the dark, often in the rain as well. By 5 PM in the winter it was getting dark again . . .
    I personally would rather have the Hour of sunlight at the end of the day . . .
    I spent some time in Sundsvall Sweden where you can read a newspaper on your patio after 11 pm in June . . . and in December if you don’t pay attention you could miss the Sunlight. And people have lived there for 1000s of years and adapted, even the animals.

  7. Westcanguy

    October 9, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    I’m glad I read the article. I was excited to get rid of time change but now see that Kenney has screwed up the option… like with everything else he has done.

  8. John Lankers

    October 9, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    As a retired farmer who worked with animals for many years, I 100% agree.

  9. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    October 9, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    The change in the time does not serve most Albertains.Re adjusting when Saskatchewan does not change is foolhardy. The time worked well for many years change fool change must be for city folks.

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New Sask law exempts employers from COVID-19 lawsuits

The release bragged that Saskatchewan was one of only five jurisdictions with such extensive sexual harassment protections, but after the legislation was passed, Morgan defended the COVID-19 provisions as being common.

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By Lee Harding

Employees’ quests for legal COVID-19 recourse has died with recently passed legislation that is “protecting vulnerable workers” according to Labour Minister Don Morgan.

Legislation recently passed by the Government of Saskatchewan prevents employers from being sued for implementing measures listed in the Public Employers’ COVID-19 Emergency Regulations or the Employers’ COVID-19 Emergency Regulations.

Amendments to the Saskatchewan Employment Act say “no action or proceeding lies or shall be commenced or maintained against an employer” if that employer acts in good faith.

“It’s broad general thing that would cover anything related to COVID-19 — signage, lack of signage, whatever else might reasonably arise from it. The threshold is that they must act in good faith,” said Morgan.

“We aren’t trying to target a specific lawsuit that’s been started or being threatened … But we know that COVID-19 vaccines, etc., are a worldwide issue right now and we want to be able to encourage our employers to have some comfort that they’re not going to be subject to lawsuits.”

The legislation applies regardless of when a perceived transgression may have occurred. The amendment received royal assent November 30. However, when the Saskatchewan Employment Amendment Act, 2021 was first announced in a press release November 18, nothing about COVID-19 was even mentioned.

Although the opening sentence mentioned “better and safer workplaces for employers and employees” the rest of the release concerned details about sexual harassment and union bargaining provisions.

Now the Labour Relations Board must exclude supervisors from the same bargaining unit as those they supervise, wherever possible. Sexual harassment at the workplace is now defined as any unwelcome action of a sexual nature, and provisions of the act extend beyond employees to include independent contractors, students, and volunteers.

“The legislation that governs our employers and employees needs to address the challenges of the modern work environment, including protecting vulnerable workers,” Morgan wrote in the release. “These amendments will help us build a stronger, safer and healthier Saskatchewan.”

fact sheet the release linked to concluded with a brief mention of COVID-19.

“We are introducing a provision that will provide protection for public and private sector employers that comply with the new COVID-19 vaccination regulations. These regulations give the employee the choice of showing evidence of being fully vaccinated or evidence of a negative COVID-19 test at least every seven days.”

The release bragged Saskatchewan was one of only five jurisdictions with such extensive sexual harassment protections, but after the legislation was passed, Morgan defended the COVID-19 provisions as being common.

“That’s being done generally across North America,” Morgan said.

The same day Morgan made his comments, a post on the Freedom Alliance Facebook page suggested a strong desire for legal recourse alongside skepticism, and an apparent unawareness of the new provincial law.

“Does anyone here know of any lawyers in Saskatoon that believe in the same rights and freedom as we do? I believe it’s time to really do something about losing my source of income 

“The couple lawyers I did speak with basically said the pandemic supersedes all our rights! Would be great if we found a lawyer that called out the BS! Might have to source out to other provinces,” replied Michielle Ross Noble.

“At the mine I work at they had a lawyer go to bat and it seems to be that the government is above the law and beyond the constitution. Money talks louder than laws these days,” replied Garrick Bernard.

“I also live near Saskatoon,” replied Ron Chappell. “Good luck finding a lawyer that will stand up for your rights and freedoms. Seems these evils are above the law including the Canadian charter of rights and freedoms. There should be lawsuits going on everywhere. Either we don’t hear about them or they are not happening. Justin Trudeau is [a] tyrant.”

To this Funk made what proved to be a moot reply.

“Then a group of us should band together and file lawsuits! Who’s with me?”

Harding is a reporter based in Saskatchewan

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Maverick leader describes his perfect successor

“I am aware of three or four people who are seriously considering running for leadership,” interim leader Jay Hill told the Western Standard.

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Jay Hill, interim leader of the federal Maverick Party, says he hopes for a candidate for his replacement is someone that can “move the provinces and premiers towards greater autonomy for the West.”

On Wednesday, the Maverick Party released the rules for its leadership race that will see a new leader elected May 14, 2022.

The party will officially be accepting leadership applications as early as January 3 with a deadline of April 30.

Hill says he hopes to see two to six candidates apply.

“I am aware of three or four people who are seriously considering running for leadership,” Hill told the Western Standard.

“We’re more so focused on the quality side of things rather than quantity.”

The Maverick Party, formerly known as Wexit Canada, advocates for greater autonomy for Western Canadian provinces including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the three territories.

“I’d like to see someone with the right vision and oratory skills to communicate with passion for Western Canadians,” said Hill.

Hill pointed to Quebec’s position within Canada and said the Maverick Party supports moving the western provinces in that direction.

Included in the list of rules for those interested in throwing their hat into the leadership race is a registration fee set at $10,000.

“Our governing council really struggled with that fee,” said Hill, who indicated the registration fee is still “substantially less” than any of the other federal parties.  

“We were really aiming for the right balance — that sweet spot — where you want to be realistic and make it doable and not a deterrent.

“It’s efficient to get serious contenders with serious commitment to register and not those with frivolous reasons.”

Hill, the former House leader for the Conservative Party of Canada, said he’s “too old” to run the party moving forward.

“My roll in elected office is done,” said Hill, adding he was done with the “high stress and high drama” when he quit federal politics in the fall of 2010.

When a new leader is elected in May, Hill plans to stay on and assist the party “depending on the needs of the new leader and how he or she feels I can contribute the most.”

Hill said he is excited and is looking forward to “a good, credible and lively leadership race.”

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Maverick Party petition calls for carbon tax break for Canadians

Canadians will soon have to choose between food on their tables or heat in their homes,” the petition reads.

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The Maverick Party, with a newly launched petition, is calling on the federal government to suspend the collection of carbon taxes from Canadians from January 1 to April 1, 2022.

Carbon tax is a levy imposed on human activity that results in carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere, usually by the burning of fossil fuels like gasoline, natural gas and coal.

The petition notes although carbon taxes are designed to “change behaviour,” the rising costs of living are an “added extra burden” on taxpayers.  

The petition also says the party “understands that the cost of living is increasing at a pace that families can’t keep up with,” pointing to “skyrocketing” inflation and the cost of essential items rising.

“Many Canadians will soon have to choose between food on their tables or heat in their homes,” the petition reads.

“The federal government can alleviate some of the burden by declaring a carbon tax moratorium on New Year’s Day 2022.”

The Maverick Party is demanding the government give Canadians who are “drowning financially” a break to get through what will likely be “the most expensive winter in memory,”

The Trudeau government implemented the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act in 2019 that was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in March of this year.

“Putting a price on carbon pollution is widely recognized as the most efficient means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also driving innovation,” the Government of Canada states on its website.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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