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Time changes persist despite experts’ consensus to end daylight time

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Most Canadians will be turning the clocks back by an hour this weekend as various political moves to end seasonal time changes have yet to take broad effect – but experts say we’d be better off without the twice-a-year shift.

Daylight time, which sees people enjoy an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day starting March 13, ends on Sunday.

Experts say the tradition of springing forward and falling back in time every year is taxing on individuals’ health.

Raymond Lam, a University of British Columbia professor and B.C. leadership chair in depression research, said circadian scientists, sleep researchers, and clinicians generally agree that a permanent move to standard time would be preferred.

“All the circadian and sleep researchers are clear that permanent standard time should be adopted, we should not have the time zone change … for the sake of our health,” he said.

“Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we can’t figure it out.”

The debate about ending seasonal time changes gained traction in Ontario in October 2020 when then-legislator Jeremy Roberts tabled a private member’s bill that would end the twice-a-year time change in Ontario if Quebec and New York did the same.

The bill passed with unanimous support and would have the province on permanent daylight time. Quebec Premier François Legault suggested he wasn’t opposed but said the matter wasn’t a priority, and no one else has taken up Roberts’ cause in the Ontario legislature since he was voted out of office in June.

British Columbia passed similar legislation the year prior to sticking with daylight time but is also waiting on some southern states to do the same.

Yukon decided in 2020 to no longer make seasonal changes and now follows its own standard time zone. Saskatchewan hasn’t changed its clocks in more than 100 years, with the exception of Lloydminster, which straddles the boundary with Alberta.

A unified end to time changes seemed closer to becoming reality in March after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s Sunshine Protection Act, which would make daylight time permanent across the country and, by effect, much of Canada.

The bill still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives before President Joe Biden can sign off on it, and it remains stalled in the House.

But despite popular opinion and government legislation, experts say permanent daylight time could have detrimental effects on people’s health and it’s standard time that governments should shift to.

That’s because standard time is more in line with our natural circadian rhythm and internal biological clock, they said.

A June 2022 report submitted to the Canadian Sleep Society by researchers at the University of Ottawa and Université de Montréal recommended federal and provincial governments move to yearlong standard time and consult with scientists before implementing changes.

Last week, Mexico approved a bill to eliminate daylight time altogether, putting an end to the practice of changing clocks twice per year. Some cities and towns along the U.S. border are able to retain daylight time since they are closely linked to U.S. cities.

University of Calgary professor Michael Antle, who studies circadian rhythms, said early morning light keeps our bodies synchronized to the day-night cycle when days are really short in the winter, and permanent daylight time would cause “chronic harm from being chronically desynchronized.”

Antle said research indicates permanent daylight time would force us to get up an hour earlier for work and school in the winter, which could increase traffic and workplace accidents and see students’ performance in school drop, all due to a lack of alertness.

“We’ve never had that experience in Canada of waking up on permanent daylight time in the winter, so people think it’s not going to be so bad until they try it,” he said.

Antle pointed to Russia, a country as far north as Canada, which moved to permanent daylight time in 2011 only to abandon it three years later.

“They just couldn’t tolerate it … everybody who’s tried it has abandoned it,” said Antle, adding he wouldn’t be surprised if Yukon soon reconsiders its decision.

Werner Antweiler, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, said the original incentive for daylight time was an economic move to harvest daylight for longer periods of daily activity, in an effort to conserve energy. Today, the idea has been made obsolete by better technology and more efficient lighting.

Antweiler said there is a strong incentive for Canada’s time zones to be standardized with the U.S. since much of the countries’ economic activity and businesses are integrated in the north-south direction, rather than east-west.

“If they move in one way, we’re compelled to do it the same way,” he said, “But it’s all stalled still because it takes a long time for everything to get harmonized and everybody agreeing on which direction we’re moving.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 4, 2022.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

 

Tyler Griffin, The Canadian Press

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Biden is isolated at home as Obama, Pelosi and other Democrats push for him to reconsider 2024 race

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats at the highest levels are making a critical push for President Joe Biden to rethink his election bid, with former President Barack Obama expressing concerns to allies and Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi privately telling Biden the party could lose the ability to seize control of the House if he doesn’t step away from the 2024 race.

Biden’s orbit, already small before his debate fumbling, has grown even smaller in recent days. Isolated as he battles a COVID infection at home in Delaware, the president is relying on a few longtime aides as he weighs whether to bow to the mounting pressure to drop out.

The Biden For President campaign is calling an all-staff meeting for Friday. It’s heading into a critical weekend for the party as Republican Donald Trump wraps up a heady Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and Democrats, racing time, consider the extraordinary possibility of Biden stepping aside for a new presidential nominee before their own convention next month in Chicago.

As anxiety and information swirled, Biden’s closest friend in Congress and his campaign co-chair, Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, told The Associated Press, “President Biden deserves the respect to have important family conversations with members of the caucus and colleagues in the House and Senate and Democratic leadership and not be battling leaks and press statements.”

Late Thursday, Montana Sen. Jon Tester became the second Democrat in the chamber Biden served in for four decades to call on him to step aside, saying in a statement, “I believe President Biden should not seek reelection to another term.”

Some Cabinet members are resigned to the likelihood of Biden losing in November. They have concerns about the insularity of his team and are focusing on having policies finalized and in place ahead of the end of his term, according to a person familiar with their thinking. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Campaign officials said Biden was even more committed to staying in the race even as the calls for him to go mounted. And senior West Wing aides have had no internal discussions or conversations with the president about Biden dropping out, according to an official.

But there was also time to reconsider. He has been told the campaign is having trouble raising money, and some Democrats see an opportunity as he is away from the campaign for a few days to encourage his exit.

Biden, 81, tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling in Las Vegas and is experiencing “mild symptoms” including “general malaise” from the infection, the White House said.

The president himself, in a radio interview taped just before he tested positive, dismissed the idea it was too late for him to recover politically, telling Univision’s Luis Sandoval that many people don’t focus on the November election until September.

“All the talk about who’s leading and where and how, is kind of, you know — everything so far between Trump and me has been basically even,” he said in an excerpt of the interview released Thursday.

But in Congress, Democratic lawmakers have begun having private conversations about lining up behind Vice President Kamala Harris as an alternative. One lawmaker said Biden’s own advisers are unable to reach a unanimous recommendation about what he should do. More in Congress are considering joining the nearly two dozen who have called for Biden to drop out.

“It’s clear the issue won’t go away,” said Vermont Sen. Peter Welch, the other Senate Democrat who has publicly said Biden should exit the race. Welch said the current state of party angst – with lawmakers panicking and donors revolting – was “not sustainable.”

Obama has conveyed to allies that Biden needs to consider the viability of his campaign but has also made clear that the decision is one Biden needs to make. The former president has taken calls in recent days from members of congressional leadership, Democratic governors and key donors to discuss their concerns about his former vice president.

Pelosi also presented polling to Biden that she argued shows he likely can’t defeat Republican Trump — though the former speaker countered Thursday in a sharp statement that the “feeding frenzy” from anonymous sources “misrepresents any conversations” she may have had with the president.

This story is based in part on reporting from more than half a dozen people who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive private deliberations. The Washington Post first reported on Obama’s involvement.

Biden said Monday he hadn’t spoken to Obama in a couple of weeks.

Pressed about reports that Biden might be softening to the idea of leaving the race, his deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks said Thursday, “He is not wavering on anything.”

However, influential Democrats atop the party apparatus, including congressional leadership headed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, are sending signals of strong concern.

Using mountains of data showing Biden’s standing could seriously damage the ranks of Democrats in Congress, frank conversations in public and private and now the president’s own few days of isolation, many Democrats see an opportunity to encourage a reassessment.

Over the past week, Schumer and Jeffries, both of New York, have spoken privately to the president, candidly laying out the concerns of Democrats on Capitol Hill. Control of the House and Senate is at stake, and leaders are keenly aware that a Republican sweep in November could launch Trump’s agenda for years to come.

Separately, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington, spoke with the president last week armed with fresh data. The campaign chief specifically aired the concerns of front-line Democrats seeking election to the House.

Major political donors, particularly in Pelosi’s California, have been putting heavy pressure on the president’s campaign and members of Congress, according to one Democratic strategist. Schumer has told donors and others to bring their concerns directly to the White House.

Prominent California Rep. Adam Schiff, a close ally of Pelosi, called for Biden to drop his reelection bid, saying Wednesday he believes it’s time to “pass the torch.” And Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland used a baseball metaphor to suggest in a recent letter to Biden, “There is no shame in taking a well-deserved bow to the overflowing appreciation of the crowd.”

To be sure, many want Biden to stay in the race. And the Democratic National Committee is pushing ahead with plans for a virtual vote to formally make Biden its nominee in the first week of August, ahead of the Democratic National Convention, which begins Aug. 19.

Rep. James Clyburn, a senior Democrat who has been a key Biden ally, wrapped up several days of campaigning for Biden in Nevada and said: “Joe Biden has the knowledge. He’s demonstrated that time and time again.” He warned against those who he said “have an agenda.”

But among Democrats nationwide, nearly two-thirds say Biden should step aside and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. That sharply undercuts Biden’s post-debate claim that “average Democrats” are still with him even if some “big names” are turning on him.

The Biden campaign pointed to what it called “extensive support” for his reelection from members of Congress in key swing states, as well as from the Congressional Black and Hispanic caucuses.

Other Democrats in Congress have shown less support, including when Biden’s top aides visited Democratic senators last week in a private lunch. When Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania asked for a show of hands on who was with the president, only his own and a few others including top Biden ally Coons of Delaware went up, according to one of the people granted anonymity to discuss the matter.

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Associated Press writers Joey Cappelletti in Lansing, Mich., and Josh Boak. Ellen Knickmeyer, Steve Peoples, Will Weissert, Mary Clare Jalonick, Seung Min Kim and Stephen Groves contributed to this report.



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Trump, in highly personal speech, will accept GOP nomination again days after assassination attempt

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Just five days after surviving an assassination attempt, a bandaged Donald Trump is set to address the Republican National Convention on Thursday to accept his party’s presidential nomination in a speech designed to unify his party — and the nation — behind his third consecutive White House bid.

The 78-year-old former president, known for his willingness to criticize his political foes in both parties, has promised to offer a softer and more personal message of unity following his brush with death.

Trump’s speech marked the climax and conclusion of a massive four-day Republican pep rally that drew thousands of conservative activists and elected officials to swing-state Wisconsin as voters weigh an election that currently features two deeply unpopular candidates. But with less than four months to go in the contest, major changes in the race are possible, if not likely.

Trump’s appearance comes as 81-year-old Democratic President Joe Biden clings to his party’s nomination in the face of unrelenting pressure from key congressional allies, donors and even former President Barack Obama, who fear he may be unable to win reelection after his disastrous debate.

Long pressed by allies to campaign more vigorously, Biden is instead in isolation at his beach home in Delaware after having been diagnosed with COVID-19.

While the often bombastic Trump was seeking to project a more gentle tone on Thursday night, the speaking program of the convention’s final day was also designed to project strength in an implicit rebuke of Biden. The program was decidedly more masculine than it has been for much of the week.

The most prominent speakers included wrestling icon Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Kid Rock was also set to perform.

Like many speakers during the convention, Carlson suggested that recent events were divinely inspired and that he wondered “if something bigger is going on.”

“I think it changed him,” Carlson said of the shooting, praising Trump for not lashing out in anger afterward.

“He did his best to bring the country together,” Carlson added. “This is the most responsible, unifying behavior from a leader I’ve ever seen.”

Former first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and former senior adviser, were expected to be inside the convention hall for the first time all week, but neither was scheduled to speak.

Attorney Alina Habba, who represented Trump in some of the legal cases against him, also addressed the convention.

Trump was convicted in May of 34 felony counts related to a criminal hush money scheme in New York. But his allies largely avoided his legal baggage this week, which was focused instead on Trump’s near-assassination.

Trump entered the hall about two hours before he was scheduled to speak, wearing a large white bandage on his right ear, as he has all week, to cover a wound he sustained in the Saturday shooting. Some of his supporters were sporting American flag-themed bandages on the convention floor Thursday.

Speakers and delegates, gathered in Wisconsin from every state in the nation, have repeatedly chanted “Fight, fight, fight!” in homage to Trump’s words in the moments after the shooting when he rose and pumped his fist after Secret Service agents killed the gunman.

While Republicans were set to emerge from their convention more united than in recent memory, Democrats are bitterly divided about whether Biden should continue to lead the ticket. Biden, following his disastrous debate performance against Trump last month, has resisted increasing pressure to drop out, with Democrats’ own party convention scheduled for next month in Chicago.

Hours before the balloons were scheduled to rain down on Trump and his family inside the convention hall, Biden deputy campaign manager Quentin Fulks appeared nearby in Milwaukee and insisted over and over that Biden would not step aside.

“I do not want to be rude, but I don’t know how many more times I can answer that,” Fulks told reporters. “There are no plans being made to replace Biden on the ballot.”

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats nationally say Biden should step aside and let his party nominate a different candidate, according to an AP-NORC poll released Wednesday.

The convention has showcased a Republican Party reshaped by Trump since he shocked the GOP establishment and won over the party’s grassroots on his way to the party’s 2016 nomination. Rivals Trump has vanquished — including Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — put aside their past criticisms and gave him their unqualified support.

Even his vice presidential pick, Ohio Sen. JD Vance, Trump’s choice to carry his movement into the next generation, was once a fierce critic who suggested in a private message since made public that Trump could be “America’s Hitler.”

Security was a major focus in Milwaukee in the wake of Trump’s near-assassination. But after nearly four full days, there were no serious incidents inside the convention hall or the large security perimeter that surrounded it.

The Secret Service, backed by hundreds of law enforcement officers from across the nation, had a large and visible presence. And during Trump’s appearances each night, he was surrounded by a wall of protective agents wherever he went.

Meanwhile, Trump and his campaign have not released information about his injury or the treatment he received.

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Associated Press reporters Michelle L. Price in Milwaukee and Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.



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‘Instant action plan’: More than 100 evacuated from nursing home amid flood

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As floodwaters poured into a Mississauga long-term care home –submerging much of the ground floor – rescue crews worked to rapidly get residents into inflatable rafts to evacuate the property while others worked on stopping the water from rising further.

The operation that unfolded over the course of 12 hours on Tuesday following torrential rains eventually saw more than 100 residents safely moved out of the nursing home, some by raft and others on foot once the water receded.

Mississauga Fire Captain Dan Herd said the evacuation of the Tyndall Seniors Village, which saw multiple emergency services from across the Greater Toronto Area come together, was on a scale he hadn’t seen before.

“There was water inside the building, the first floor – in between probably three to four feet high on the walls – and some windows were broken, damaged,” Herd said, adding that the parking lot was inundated by water at one point.

“We set up an instant action plan, and we started to move thousands of litres of water at a time … the water rescue team was using their rescue boats to assist the removal of ambulatory patients and occupants.”

The flooding began after incredibly heavy rains on Tuesday caused the nearby Etobicoke Creek to overflow, Herd said.

Once enough floodwater had been pumped out of the home, some residents were able to walk out of the building, he said. Those who were unable to walk were carried down stairs and out of the building by first responders using lifting equipment, Herd said.

“This is my first personal experience of something to this size,” he said of the operation.

None of the residents were injured, said Tom Kukolic, acting deputy chief for Peel Region’s paramedics service.

Once first responders determined that none of the 116 residents needed emergency care, efforts then shifted to a “safe extrication and relocation” operation, Kukolic said, with residents eventually taken to two long-term care homes and two hotels.

“Once the paramedics and firefighters were able to bring the residents out of the home and move them to the triage area, we then had assistance from Peel Wheel-Trans, Toronto TTC Wheel-Trans, and Mississauga Transit,” Kukolic said.

The relocation effort was “a seamless transition” thanks to the collaboration of several emergency response teams, including York Region and Toronto paramedics, he said.

“Extricating people, it’s very difficult. It is very laborious work … however, what we do from a paramedic practice perspective, is ensure that we have enough people to safely move residents,” Kukolic said.

Tuesday’s massive downpour caused chaos across Toronto and its surrounding communities, with flooding shutting down several major routes and terminals and knocking out power to thousands.

Mississauga Fire Chief Deryn Rizzi called the response at the nursing home “a great example” of how multiple agencies across the Greater Toronto Area can work together.

“We are there to work collaboratively together, to address the incident to achieve a common goal, which in this case, it was to evacuate the residents safely,” he said.

For Kukolic, the full-day operation showed how preparation can help first responders deal with large-scale responses triggered by sudden events such as Tuesday’s flooding.

“I was proud to be a member of paramedic services and a first responder,” he said.

“It was really great to see how everybody came together to ensure that our most vulnerable were taken care of.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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