Manitoulin should ditch Daylight Savings Time

To the Expositor:

My grandparents used to call it “fast time.”

The west half of Indiana, where they live, used to not change their clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST), when the rest of North America (except Saskatchewan) did. Each spring we switched to ‘fast time,’ and became an hour ahead of them.

I have resented DST since 1964.

Being in school myself, and later dealing with putting six children to bed in sunlight, and getting them up an hour early each day for school, my attempts to get it changed have evolved through the years.

First, I just wanted it abolished altogether.

Later, only in Canada. Since we’re so far north, we have about 16-24 hours a day of sunlight in summer anyway. (Remember, our planet is spherical, not cylindrical).

Or we could at least abolish it on Manitoulin. I suggested that we think of ourselves as living in Brigadoon, but a former Expositor editor didn’t print my Brigadoon paragraph.

Other people say, “We’re on ‘Island Time’,” but we still change our clocks and disrupt our lives twice a year for DST.

On the radio, I heard that some people ‘blame’ the farmers for DST. That year there was a drought in the prairies. The next year, people on the radio did it again, followed by extended flooding in the prairies.

I used to blame the rich. Hydro companies, and golf players, since it seemed only they benefit anymore from DST.

Since Toronto wanted to be a “world class” city, and imitate New York City, it decided to adopt the new American time changes too. We used to have DST from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October (less than seven months). Now it’s the second Sunday in March, to the first Sunday in November (but seems later than that). This means we only have 17 weeks of Standard Time! (Parts of nine months are DST.)

We know humans are creatures of habit, ritual, tradition of sorts so we couldn’t just switch to 52 weeks of Daylight Savings Time.

There seems to be a force that keeps people thinking they have to do things the hard way, that misery has to be experienced, that useless tradition has to be maintained, while good, pleasant, important traditions get lost/eradicated. Remember the short story ‘The Lottery’ by Shirley Jackson? (High school English. I finally got it in here, Mr. McQuay.)

The response to the last DST letter I wrote was not surprising. For some reason, though, and thankfully, I read the green, hand-written letter from my MP many times.

Since farmers seem to play a role in some creation stories of DST, farmers definitely play a huge role in human survival. With all the past ideas and probably some inspiration in mind, this is what finally happened.

Because my grandparents called it Fast Time, and were farmers at one point, I wanted a name that would reflect and honour each. So, for my personal peace of mind that year, instead of resenting Daylight “Savings” Time (a modern human device for child torture), I decided to call it Farmer Appreciation Seasonal Time (FAS Time).

Each occasion the “DST” clock tried to mess with my meals, family life, bedtime, inner clock, I remembered Farmer Appreciation Seasonal Time.

Instead of cursing the farmers, I ‘blessed’ them.

Coincidentally, that year there were ‘bumper crops!’ And I wasn’t disturbed by DST, because I replaced those thoughts with mantra-like “Farmer Appreciation Seasonal Time,” and I love to eat!

Even though “DST” now starts three weeks earlier, I have found this to be OK for the kids and travellers as it now coincides with March Break! However, considering that the US is closer to the equator than most of Canada (and, one would think, at the equator they get 12 hrs/day of sunlight year round), it might be understandable that the US wants to change their clocks back two to three-and-a-half weeks before their Thanksgiving at the end of November. Not to mention the climate difference and the longer sunlit winter days the farther south you live. (Remember sphere, not cylinder)

I’m also proposing that Canada officially replace the term Daylight Savings Time with “Farmer Appreciation Seasonal Time”, and that Canada also officially ‘celebrate’/acknowledge the annual culmination of Farmer Appreciation Seasonal time on OUR Thanksgiving weekend. (Second Monday in October.) The ‘festivities’/activities of that weekend would nullify the effects of changing our clocks back (for schools and travelers), and we would be acknowledging our own growing season as different from that of the US.

Thank you, farmers of Canada, and Mother Earth.

Julie Desaulniers