Elections Canada reminds Canadians it exists, and will charge them $25,000 for tweeting voting results
The time has come for one the country’s political traditions: Elections Canada trying to stop people from spreading information about voting results on election day. The good people at EC are reminding the nation’s broadcasters, as well as every Internet user, that sharing such information is strictly prohibited, and could earn violators a $25,000 fine. According to the Montreal Gazette, few are thrilled about the prospect.
Realistically, Elections Canada cannot possibly enforce a nationwide ban on premature tweeting or blogging or Facebooking of election results. It’s the equivalent of King Canute commanding the sea to go back.
Nonetheless, John Enright, who speaks for Elections Canada, says his agency has no choice but to administer the law as written. Citizens are allowed to phone or text friends, or send private emails. But posting to a Facebook wall, to a web page or to Twitter will be considered a violation.
“The legislation is still on the books, so our role as Elections Canada is to administer the legislation that is before us,” says Enright. “If there’s a breach of the law, Elections Canada is not going to discriminate between the Mothercorp and Joe Smith down the street.”
Really? Elections Canada is going to turn a 16-year-old getting her first taste of politics over to the RCMP because she tweeted what the poll results were in Madawaska–Restigouche before voting stopped in Esquimalt–Juan de Fuca? We’d like to see that—if only because Elections Canada would look as sympathetic as the music industry suing single mothers for illegally downloading Raffi to play for their kids.
• Ban on Twitter, Facebook election-night posts draconian [Montreal Gazette]