I hope you don't mind me calling you that. I know you are a duly elected member of Alberta Legislative Assembly, but you are also Canadian, so my guess is that you are not overly formal.
Recently the news came out that you are going to call for a referendum to ask voters what they think about Daylight Saving Time. You have good reason for wanting to do this:
“Albertans are passionate about this and a change on this matter should not be taken lightly. How Albertans calculate time affects literally everyone in this province, as well as others beyond our borders.”
Indeed, you are right that people are passionate about this issue, even in the under-stated country of Canada.
You are also right that how Albertans deal with time could affect others outside of Alberta. Or, you could be.
You went on to say that the wording of the question has not yet been decided. The wording is so important, and that’s why I am writing to you today in this public format.
You see, there has been a lot of polling done, and there have even been a handful of votes. In every poll and in every vote, it’s clear that the people would like to see something done to fix the madness of changing the clocks twice per year.
The question is: What should be done?
This is where I would respectfully submit to you the question you can ask that will help make some actual progress in Alberta, and as you alluded to, in the other provinces and I would say there may even be a lesson that those of us in the U.S. may listen to.
So, what should the question be? How about this:
If Alberta moves to stay in one time zone all year round, what time zone should it be? Permanent Standard Time (what we have in the winter) or Permanent Daylight Saving Time (what we have in the summer)?
With wording like that you will take away the ambiguity that has existed in so many other referenda and polls. I suppose you could make it two questions: 1. Should we keep changing the clock twice a year? and 2. If not, which time zone should we lock into?
Can you ask two questions? Maybe you just want to keep it to one. If so, then asking which time zone Alberta should lock into is the one that will get you the useful information you need, and will be instructive for politicians in all of the countries that still practice the barbarism of changing the clock twice per year.
If you do ask that question, my hunch is that it will come in at about 80-20 for permanent Daylight Time. In Alberta, a lot of people are already going to work/school in the dark during the winter, so if it is an hour of it still being dark in the morning, meh.
With Permanent DST, at least people will have a bit of sunshine when they get off of work, and the kids will have a little bit of time in the daylight after school to play outside.
I’ve been wrong before, and perhaps people will vote for permanent Standard Time. There will still be plenty of evening light in the summer, and the mornings won’t be quite as bleak in the winters.
There’s plenty of science on both sides of the issue, so asking voters what they think is a great idea, and a way to actually make some progress in Alberta, and around the world.
Happy to talk to you directly if I can be of service,
Your fellow citizen of the Mountain Time Zone down in the States,