Shaun Janse van Rensburg, a Red Deer resident, said he is tired of changing clocks twice a year. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

Shaun Janse van Rensburg, a Red Deer resident, said he is tired of changing clocks twice a year. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

After COVID, Kenney may consider referendum on daylight savings

Albertans may be divided on several issues today, but there’s a consensus on scrapping the bi-annual clock changes in the province.

Shaun Janse van Rensburg, a Red Deer resident, said he is tired of tinkering with his timepieces twice a year.

“The change in the time doesn’t really save you that much daylight savings time,” he said. “I still wake up to work and it’s dark, and I come back from work and it’s dark.

“I think it’s a waste of time,” he said.

Janse van Rensburg, along with the rest of the province, will be falling back this Sunday morning when the clocks have to be changed.

Dorothy Perry, a Sylvan Lake resident, said changing clocks is a chore.

“I know it doesn’t seem like it a lot, but it’s one more thing to worry about.”

Perry said springing ahead and falling back is disruptive to health and sleep. It takes a couple of weeks for kids to adjust to it, said the grandmother.

Debby, who didn’t want to share her last name, agreed the time change disrupts the sleep cycle – especially for children.

“And B.C. is looking at it, too,” said the Sylvan Lake woman.

The B.C. government put forward legislation last fall to stay with year-round daylight time based on 93 per cent of respondents being in favour of having the same time year round, with 75 per cent of the about 223,000 residents citing health and wellness as reasons related to later evening light, when they could be more active.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has said he will wait to see whether Washington, Oregon and California go with that measure, based on federal approval, which is not required in Canada.

Wendy Hall, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia’s school of nursing, is among critics who say the B.C government’s online poll was flawed, because a permanent standard-time option was not offered, and research into the effects of sleep deprivation from people waking up in the dark during daylight time seemed to be ignored.

In Alberta, the UCP government conducted a survey that closed in December 2019.

More than 141,000 Albertans took part in the survey, and 91 per cent of the respondents preferred to move to summer hours, said Tricia Velthuzien, press secretary to Nate Glubish, the minister of Service Alberta.

According to an Edmonton newspaper, the Alberta survey asked a yes or no question whether the province should change the clocks or not.

“Right now, Alberta’s government is focused on Alberta’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and Premier Jason Kenney has indicated that this issue is one that Alberta’s government is considering putting to a referendum,” the press secretary said.

“For the time being, Albertans will continue changing their clocks this fall and in the spring.”

Darlene Davenport, a central Alberta Facebook user, was in agreement to stop the bi-annual changes.

“We are always discussing this and never doing anything about it,” said Davenport. “I wish we would just stop and leave it the same time all year. It is hard on people’s health and well-being.”

Carl Stretton, a Red Deer resident, said the clock change is disruptive to sleep and he doesn’t know why it’s necessary.

“I would prefer to have more sunlight in the afternoon,” he said.

Kiri Nelson, a Red Deer resident, suggested following Saskatchewan’s lead.

“Stop. Let’s be like Saskatchewan, where they are on one time all year,” she said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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