The Canadian federal minister of state for democratic reform held a news conference in Ottawa on Fri. Jan. 13, 2012 and told reporters that his government was drafting legislation to deal with the obvious when it comes to elections and social media.
The obvious is that given all of the social media platforms in the hands of so many to try and prevent Canadians from communicating with one another during an election is folly. Since 1938 Canada has had a ban on communicating federal election results before polls had closed in their entire country. But, minister Tim Uppal said, that will no longer be.
"Through our commitment to repeal the ban, we are taking action to bringing the electoral process in line with 21st-century realities," he said. "This ban, which was enacted in 1938, is out of date and it's unenforceable."
Long Wait for Canadian Election Results
Given there is up to a 4-and-a-half hour difference between one end of Canada and the other it was a long wait. In Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, they had finished voting long before the western provinces. Results would be counted but they had to keep a lid on them until the polls in B.C., the last to close, had closed.
The law said that anyone, media or citizens, passing along elections results into a riding where polls were still open was subject to charges under the act; if found guilty they could be fined up to $25,000. Since the 2000 federal election, the last election that was won by Liberal Jean Chretien, the law has in effect been ignored anyway. Uppal said the repeal of the law would be completed by the next election.
Uppal said that Canadians "should not be penalized for transmitting through Facebook or Twitter the results of the election."