Tick, tock, tick, tock. Opposition to Daylight Saving Time in Alberta since the 1970s.

Thomas Dang MLA

Thomas Dang

Edmonton-South West MLA Thomas Dang announced last week that he plans to introduce a private members’ bill into Alberta’s Legislative Assembly in the 2017 spring session that would abolish Daylight Saving Time. The biannual practice of turning the clock forward by one hour in the spring and back one hour in the fall has a long and controversial history in Alberta.

DST was introduced in Alberta after a 1971 province-wide plebiscite resulted in 386,846 votes (61.47%) in favour of adopting the change. This followed the first plebiscite, which took place in 1967 and resulted in a narrow defeat for the Daylight Saving Time change (248,680, or 51.25%, against the change).

While the time change is anecdotally unpopular, a CBC report suggested that lobbyists representing big-box stores, sporting and recreational goods manufacturers, barbecue and charcoal retailers, shopping malls and golf courses remain big supporters of Daylight Saving Time.

National Post columnist Colby Cosh chimed in today, taking a totally reasonable if it’s not broken why fix it? approach to the debate.

Since it was introduced in Alberta, there have been a handful of attempts by opposition critics and government backbenchers to abolish the practice or at least raise concerns about Daylight Saving Time.

A newspaper advertisement promoting DST in 1967.

A newspaper advertisement opposing DST in 1967.

In 1978, Spirit River-Fairview MLA and New Democratic Party leader Grant Notley tabled a petition in the Assembly from 36 constituents “living in an area of the province that comes closest to having the midnight sun,” which called on the government to hold a referendum or plebiscite at the time of the next provincial election.

In 1983, Walt Buck, an Independent former Social Credit MLA representing the Clover Bar constituency, asked in Question Period whether the Progressive Conservative government “if any studies have been done as to the feasibility of leaving daylight saving time year-round?

Premier Peter Lougheed was quick on his feet with a non-response to Buck, “I have to admit I haven’t had a question on that subject since possibly 1972, and I would be somewhat concerned to ask the Minister of Agriculture or the Minister of Economic Development. So the question is quite properly directed to me. I’ll have to take consideration and decide who will be the fortunate person to whom I delegate the answer.

Lacombe PC MLA Ronald Moore introduced private members’ bill in 1991 and 1992 which proposed the adoption of daylight saving time year-round. Both bills were introduced into the Assembly but did not make it further than first reading and were not debated.

In March 2015, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville PC MLA Jacquie Fenske tabled a petition organized by Ruby Kassian calling for an end to Daylight Saving Time. More than year later, in December 2016, Vermilion-Lloydminster PC MLA Richard Starke tabled a petition urging the government to introduce legislation to repeal the Daylight Saving Time Act and require the observance of Central Standard Time in Alberta.

Daylight Saving Time now longer than it was in 1972

The first Daylight Saving Time was observed in Alberta at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday in April in 1972.

In 1987, Attorney General Jim Horsman introduced Bill 2: Daylight Saving Time Amendment Act, which moved the start of Daylight Saving Time to first Sunday in April.

In 2006, Justice Minister Ron Stevens introduced Bill 4: Daylight Saving Time Amendment Act, which moved the start of Daylight Saving Time to the second Sunday in March and ending the first Sunday in November. This was in response to the same change made by the United States Congress in 2005.

10 thoughts on “Tick, tock, tick, tock. Opposition to Daylight Saving Time in Alberta since the 1970s.

  1. David Wasserman

    By changing the province to Central Standard Time, Mr. Starke is not proposing repealing daylight savings time, he is proposing making it year-round. Since our local right-wingers have decided Brad Wall is their new idol, Mr. Starke apparently thinks a clock setting that is good enough for Saskatchewan is good enough for us. Admittedly, he represents the Alberta half of Lloydminster, and it would be convenient for those citizens to not need to wear two watches for part of the year.

    Edmontonians should keep in mind that sun noon in Edmonton is a 12:30 pm; we have a half-hour time-shift when on Mountain Standard Time, and 1.5 hours when on Mountain Daylight time.

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  2. Bob Raynard

    I think most people would agree that they like the results that DST brings us – long summer days and at least some summer darkness at night, and light during the workday in winter (If we stayed on DST year round, people who work outside would not be able to work without lights until well past 9 AM).

    Really, the only thing anyone dislikes about DST is the biannual time change. If there was a less painful way to do it, we could have our cake and eat it too.

    This sounds like pie in the sky, but really once upon a time so did the internet. Given how more and more of our clocks are centrally controlled, what if clocks changed by 5 minutes per day for 12 consecutive days, instead of an hour once? Sure, changing our clocks everyday would be a total pain, but I’m thinking that if this was something all governments got on board with, clocks could be programmed to make the change automatically.

    I happily acknowledge there would be all sorts of problems implementing this would be, but I’m sure if you dug through archives you would read how ATMs, self checkouts and even the internet could never work.

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  3. Janet Hammond

    Hello, I strongly agree that we should NOT CHANGE OUR CLOCKS ANYMORE. WE SHOULD STAY ON THE SAME TIME ZONE AS SASKATCHEWAN! 1 hour change does not make that much difference. It just messes us up for a week or 2 after the change happens. I have lived in Alberta all my life & have always hated when time time changes spring & fall.

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  4. Laura Fraser

    An article on the Live Science website (quoting a study in the journal Open Heart) indicates *”In fact, the number of heart attacks increased 24 percent on the Monday following a daylight saving time, compared with the daily average for the weeks surrounding the start of daylight saving time, according to a 2014 study in the journal Open Heart.
    *Reference: http://www.livescience.com/50068-daylight-saving-time-heart-attacks.html

    In my family we need an average of 9 to 10 hours sleep a night so the loss of that hour seems to have a huge impact. In fact, for me it can take any where from a month to I never do adjust to the new time change. **As the advent of suicide spikes in spring I believe a study is in order to see if the loss of the hour due has a bearing on this. There are several members of my family who have attempted or succeeded committing suicide, including my father who succeeded in April of 1984.
    **Reference: http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2012/12/suicide_rate_season_there_more_suicides_in_spring_and_not_during_the_holidays.html

    Please, please, please just leave the time on Daylight Savings time and do not lose the hour in spring, I beg of you!!

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  5. Wayne

    Let’s just move the clocks ahead to Daylight savings time (Central Standard Time) in spring of 2017 and PLEASE just leave it there. For the five month where Alberta is in the dark, morning and evening during working hours, there is no point in moving the clock back. Just leave it at Central Standard Time and we will all be better off for it.

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  6. Virgil Maier

    We should stay on the same time all year long.MOUNTAIN TIME zone not on the Central time zone,the aberration is the summer hour so we should not go with it.If we adopt the central time zone all year long,for 5 and a half months the kids will go on the dark to school,The sun will rise for 2 months a year at 10 am.And all this so the golfers can play till 10 pm over the summer?!Of course they don’t care about the light in the morning since anyway most of them sleep till noon! Start playing the rich man game sooner don’t screw up us all with aberration of changing the time zone.

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  7. RD

    Having been a classroom teacher for nearly 25 years, I can honestly say that time changes cause disruptions in student learning. Fatigue and lack of focus are very noticeable and can have negative impacts on behaviour as well. It takes many weeks for any kind of adjustment or adaptation to changes in the time. It seems that the desire to rethink DST is gathering momentum. This is a good opportunity for opinions to be heard. I ask myself, how does the current system of changing the time every spring and fall benefit me? For me, there are no benefits, there are several negatives.

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  8. Jeremy Freeborn

    As a Canadian sports writer, I moved from Toronto to Calgary in 2002 because it was easier on my body to watch sporting events earlier in the evening. The mountain time zone is significantly better for my health than the central time zone as it allows me to be in bed by 11:30 most nights. A move to the Central Time Zone for four months of the year and be a strong inconvenience.

    Reply

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