Josh Freed: The tide is turning toward permanent daylight saving time

But this year at last, I see some light at the end of the tunnel. Am I day(light)dreaming?

Brake lights reflect on rain-soaked Ste-Catherine St. during rush hour in Montreal.

Premiers Ford and Legault have both recently said they like the idea too — but no one wants it more than me.

Many of you know I have pestered, whined and annoyed you poor readers for years with calls to END THE DARKNESS.

Why should we suffer just because of a planetary design flaw that tilts poor Earth on its axis and condemns Canadians to spend half the year plunged into gloom?

But this year at last, I see some light at the end of the tunnel. Am I day(light)dreaming?

Nope. Let me catch you up on the fast-changing world of the daylight liberation movement.

Last year the European Union finally took my advice and massively passed a remarkable vote. They agreed that all EU countries would switch to one permanent time zone in spring of 2021 —  and 84 per cent of Europeans agree.

The only catch is that each country will vote separately on whether to switch to “permanent summer” (sunshine) time, or “permanent winter” (darkness) time.

So once every country eventually votes, Europe could conceivably have a patchwork of time zones that go forward an hour in Spain, then back an hour in France, then forward again in Italy, back in Germany, forward in Hungary and so on through 28 countries.

These national votes have been postponed awhile because of the pandemic, but elsewhere the darkness may lift even sooner.

In the U.S., 32 states have recently introduced “sunshine protection” acts, asking the federal government to let them switch to permanent daylight time.

British Columbia has passed similar legislation, but is waiting for neighbouring Washington state to finalize the switch as well.

Most importantly, this month Ontario passed second reading of the Time Amendment Act. It’s a bill that would make Daylight Saving Time permanent, as early as this fall — as long as neighbouring Quebec and New York state agree.

This sunlight revolution is inevitably coming and I have a bold question for premiers Legault and Ford: If not now, when? The time will never be timelier.

Ontario may prefer New York to join but really, who needs it?  With the U.S. border shut and Canada virtually closed to the world, who’ll notice the difference but us?

No tourists from the U.S. come here anymore, and we Canadians don’t go anywhere either, except to meet friends in the park.

So why not have our own Quebec-Ontario new improved Daylight Plus Time Zone, starting this fall?

Look at the advantages: Half of us are now working from home and studies show we’re getting up an hour later and going to bed later too. So we could all use some added afternoon sunshine.

Experts say that changing the clock leads to more car accidents, injuries, crime and depression — also missed appointments by those of us who usually forget to change our alarms.

They also say that some extra evening daylight gets more people shopping, just what we need to help our COVID-battered stores.

The opponents of permanent daylight-time were traditionally parents who didn’t want their kids walking to school alone in the dark. But that’s now less of an issue since kids are no longer allowed to walk anywhere alone.

The times, they are a-changin’. Sunrise was a great time to get up and hunt for breakfast before they invented the supermarket. But an early dawn serves little purpose today for anyone but fishermen, bird-watchers and other extremists.

Sorry everyone, but things are about to get dark — dark as night.

If COVID-19 wasn’t enough to keep you hibernating at home till spring, we’re about to set back our clocks and rob ourselves of a precious hour of light.

On Nov. 1, the clocks will fall back right in the midst of COVID-19, exactly when we need daylight most.

That’s when it’s best to meet family or friends outdoors — the only place it’s safe to see anyone anymore.

With Montreal’s outdoor terrasses questionably closed, it’s bad enough we can only meet in a park — do we have to do it in the dark?

Gyms are closed, too, so the great outdoors is the last place to get some exercise by biking, jogging and eventually cross-country skiing. But most people don’t finish work before 5 p.m., just when the sun will go down next Sunday, after the clocks change.

Night biking, anyone?

In polls last year, over 90 per cent of Albertans and British Columbians said they wanted to switch to permanent Daylight Saving Time, and abolish winter’s Daylight Craving Time.

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