Idea alert

Conservative MP Daryl Kramp wants to make sure we all know which date we’re referring to.

Written in myriad sequences between slashes or dashes, dates cause what one mathematician calls “maximum confusion.” They cause us to miss meetings and unwittingly eat sour yogurt. They are so prone to mix-ups, in fact, that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) made a declaration on the subject in 1988. And here in Canada, a Conservative MP has introduced a private member’s bill that would help settle the date debate, but only, for now, in terms of evidence disputes in court.

“In a perfect world, there’d be one way for all of Canada in the Constitution,” Daryl Kramp, an Ontario MP, half-joked. “This is just a small effort to try to rectify what I consider to be a wrong. It’s a start.” ‘ISO 8601: Data Elements and Interchange Formats’ espouses year/month/day, abiding by the so-called big endian format, which orders the date from the largest element to the smallest (YYYY/MM/DD). Mr. Kramp chose this format for his bill. The ISO directive, embraced by the UN in its international trade protocols and by the European Union (although not by the individual countries), runs 33 pages.

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