Time to listen about time

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Daylight Savings Time is dumb. There, we said it. Earlier this month, on Nov. 5, clocks fell back an hour. Which, for anybody living North of 60, meant they got up in the dark and walked home in the dark.

But this is a rant most people are familiar with. Whether parents of young children, who undoubtedly will not get to enjoy that extra hour of sleep anyway, or everybody else fiddling with their clocks twice per year, Daylights Savings Time does not get much love.

The NWT can blame New Zealand for this clock-based scourge. Entomologist George Hudson proposed it in 1895, in order to give him more daylight after work to collect insects. The concept spread over the next century and by the 1970s was widely accepted as a counterbalance to the variances of the seasons, which may work for southern Canada but not in the North where winter days are much shorter or non-existent and summer days are long.

Jennifer Coleman, from Hay River, certainly thinks so: she launched a new petition recently calling for the fall of Daylight Saving Time once and for all in the NWT.

“I just feel like it’s a practice that doesn’t really benefit us in the North because we’re above the 60th,” said Coleman. “We have almost 24-hour daylight in the summer, regardless of an extra hour, and it’s dark all winter, regardless of an extra hour in the morning.”

As of Nov. 10, Coleman’s petition had garnered only 39 signatures so far. She hopes to attract around 500 people to her cause, before presenting it to the legislative assembly just in time for the beginning of Daylight Saving Time 2018.

She’s not the first one. In March, a 500-name strong petition made its way to the legislative assembly, with a report on the petition by the Standing Committee on Social Development presented on Oct. 19. The report essentially found, according to Hay River MLA R.J. Simpson, that Alberta is the sticking point for the NWT doing away with Daylight Savings Time, specifically because the territory is so interconnected with Alberta that it would “cause too many problems” to make the change.

No matter how one feel about Daylight Savings Time, however, the issue brings up another important point: that the legislative assembly should listen to the people of the NWT. This is the second time a petition on this issue has made its way up the chain. Scheduling troubles with Alberta or not, people would appreciate a debate.

Simpson said he encourages people to sign petitions. “It’s a great way for the public to get their voice out there,” he said.

Politicians are quick to agree they want more people engaged; they want more people involved; and they want more people willing to do the work to try to make change. Let’s hope they’re equally enthusiastic about listening.