The story goes that Benjamin Franklin first suggested Daylight Savings Time in 1784 when he was the American envoy to France.
The French could save money on candles, he suggested in an anonymous, satirical letter, by waking earlier to use morning sunlight. He also proposed taxing window shutters and firing cannons at sunrise.
Who would have thought that anyone would take him seriously? But in the 1910s, that’s exactly what happened, and the idea of turning the clocks ahead in the spring and back to normal in the winter started spreading.
The rationale is often given as adding an extra hour of sunlight to work in their fields. But if you’re working rising with the sun, as farmers tend to do, does it really matter what time you call it?
Saving electricity is another line of reasoning, but which costs more, a light or an air conditioner?
We do have to agree on what time it is, otherwise, we’d never be able to catch a bus. But there is no requirement that we use DST. Nor is it universal: the Peace River District, Fort Nelson and Creston all ignore daylight savings time, along with many other places across Canada and around the world.
Linda Larson, MP for Boundary-Similkameen, is introducing a bill to the B.C. Legislature that would see the province give up fooling with the clocks, and our sleep patterns, each spring and fall.
The proposition has failed before, and it will probably fail this time, but it’s about time we moved on from this antiquated idea. Even if DST was once effective — and that has been questioned for years — it has lost that relevance in our modern, automated 24/7 society.
Will it put us out of sync with our neighbours? Sure, but it won’t be hard to adjust. And once we do, the idea is going to spread.
Someone just needs to take the first step.