Editorial: Spring forward

Trent Ernst, Editor

Just this last weekend, Canada shifted to daylight savings time (DST).

Well, not all of Canada. We didn’t. Some of Canada shifted. Most, in fact. Except for, you know, us. And Saskatchewan. And Creston, in the East Kootenay. And Southampton Island in Nunavut. And Pickle Lake in Ontario. And the Eastern reaches of Quebec’s North Shore, east of 63 degrees west, although local custom is to use Eastern Time as far east as the Natashquan River. Those communities observe DST, including all of Anticosti Island.

And…who the heck thought this was a good idea again? It was supposed to make life simple.

By resetting all clocks in a region to one hour ahead of Standard Time (one hour “fast”), Wikipedia tells us, “individuals who follow such a year-round schedule will wake an hour earlier than they would have otherwise; they will begin and complete daily work routines an hour earlier, and they will have available to them an extra hour of daylight after their workday activities. However, they will have one less hour of daylight at the start of each day, making the policy less practical during winter.”

Which might sound like a good idea, but it would be far easier to just show up to work an hour early.

But if only certain people do that, then everything gets all screwed up, the thinking goes.

The trouble is, only certain people agree to do it anyway, which means everything is all screwy anyway.

Take Tumbler Ridge. How onerous, really, is life here because we don’t honour DST? How messed up do you get, having to remember that half the year you’re on Vancouver/Prince George time, and half the year you’re on Edmonton/Grande Prairie time?

Okay, it’s a little confusing. For years, my computer thought I lived in a location that did DST; while that’s been solved, now my thermostat suffers from the same misguided assumption, so once a year it starts kicking on an hour early, and once a year it kicks on an hour late.

(Side note; when we first moved up here, I told my wife not to forget to set the clocks ahead; she showed up at work an hour early; that joke only works once.)

But you know what? You deal with it and you move on. Why? Because you’re smart. That’s why you’re living in Tumbler Ridge, after all.

You know what would be smarter? Not having the rest of the country shift time zones around us.

So what if some businesses decide to start at eight, because they want to get out an hour early, while others start at nine. You know what? There’s still seven hours of overlap between the two. You don’t need to legislate that the time change just to make it easier on the folks who want that extra hour in the afternoon. What about morning people? Farmers can’t stand DST, after all.

And that’s just Canada. When you factor in the rest of the world, which starts and ends DST on different days, the whole thing is just one giant mess.

DST has only been practiced for the last hundred years or so in Canada. While that is a tradition that has stood longer than our flag (which we’ve only had since 1965), and nearly as old as the national anthem, which was Anglo-phied in 1908, or the Montreal Canadiens, which have been around since 1909.

Indeed, if these short-lived cultural traditions tell us one thing it is how quickly traditions, even legislated traditions, changes.

So, I for one, am good with changing this tradition. Let the rest of Canada be like Tumbler Ridge, and not celebrate DST. Or, if they prefer, stay in DST all the time, like Argentina and Chile and those wonderful folks in Iceland.

Just don’t keep changing the time on us.