START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
1,268,293 people care about Politics

Tweeting Results On Election Night Could Result In Hefty Fines In Canada

Tweeting Results On Election Night Could Result In Hefty Fines In Canada

Physically the second largest country in the world, with ten provinces and three territories stretching across six time zones and touching three oceans, pulling off a national election in a country like Canada is no small feat in any respect. But one election law is making it that much tougher. 

The Canada Elections Act states that no results from any part of the country where the polls are closed should be broadcast or otherwise communicated to an area where polls are still open. This law ostensibly prevents people in the West from seeing the media declare the election results a done deal by 4 pm, thus prompting them to decide to either not vote or to change their vote based on more easterly results.

In order to comply with the law, on May 2, television stations will roll their election broadcasts west from Newfoundland to British Columbia as the polls close, and news websites will hold the election results until all voting is complete.  However, plenty of election watchers, including myself, will be discussing the results in real-time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media – which, as Elections Canada made clear yesterday, is against the law and could result in a whopping $25,000 CAD ($26,275 USD) fine.

The irony is that plenty of people are only engaged in this election *because* of social media. Tweets, liveblogs, up-to-the-second breaking news and the constant availability of someone to talk to about this party’s latest gaffe or that party’s latest announcement keep this ADD-filled generation engaged. So to tell this crowd that they can’t discuss election results as they happen through the media they’re accustomed to using is certainly counterintuitive in a country that’s been suffering from abysmally low voter turnout.

As would be expected, Twitter isn’t taking this lying down. There’s even talk of a Tweet-In on election night to flout the law and show Elections Canada exactly how useless this antiquated law has become in 2011.  As @denisgagnonjr said on Twitter, “Either we flood the system and [Elections Canada] gets overwhelmed, or we all get fined and end up paying for #elxn41. Win-win!”

Related Stories:

Tools to Help You Navigate the Canadian Election

From Government to Campaign Trail: Harper’s Control Tactics Continue

Can A Creationist Be A Good Minister Of Science?

 

Read more: , , , , ,

Photo credit: ComputerMonger on Flickr

quick poll

vote now!

Loading poll...

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

27 comments

+ add your own
8:22PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

How are they going to know who tweets the results?
Will they monitor the entire country>

7:53AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

@renata
I am horribly ashamed
we can't even say we're better than the states anymore.
We're worst than them now,
but don't be too quick to judge because all of the left wing parties have a vote splitting problem seeing a people are afraid of coalitions out here.
If we could have coalitions like you do
we wouldn't have this problem at all.
in fact, harper would have lost both the last 2 elections.
he's a minority government.
Him even being in power right now is completely anti-democratic seeing as we should have already have had a coalition by now.
It's complicated to say the least,
but when they only get 40% of the votes and the rest of our votes are split between the liberals and the NDP mostly..
you can't really blame the voters..
it's harper that made coalition a dirty word in canada.

7:46AM PDT on Apr 25, 2011

this is unbelievably anti-democratic
did harper pass this law, because I wouldn't be surprised.
we have a vote splitting problem between the liberals, the NDP, and the block in canada..
not only is it nearly impossible to win an election against the right wing while the left wing is divided between 3 parties..
but now it's apparently illegal to communicate with other canadians in order to actually strategically vote for the party with the most votes.
Harper is fear mongering over coalitions at the same time which is the part of our political system that is supposed to prevent vote splitting from being a problem.

I am sick and tired of this anti-democratic behavior.
Not only does this hinder any left wing persons ability to have a fair shot in this election, but it's also a huge violation of freedom of speech.

I am going to be writing everyone from the cbc to the governor general about this.
Mark my words,
if the people have anything to do with this..
we'll have this law destroyed within a year

6:01PM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

I wasn't going to tweet or check out twitter about the election, but since I have now been educated and do live on the West Coast I will keep my eyes open. Our country is a bit outdated in many things, this is obviously another example of this, and a shameful and stupid attempt at control.

10:23AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

It's shameful to suspect that Canadians are so dull minded that our votes could be swung by tweeters.

2:46AM PDT on Apr 23, 2011

Hi Morgan,

If I recall correctly, there are normally observers from all sides as well as one from Elections Canada. However, those observers can be quarantined along with the actual counters. As for publishing results, while it is fundamental to democracy to have those results published after the final polls close so everyone can know who won, there is no reason they must be permitted to be published while the election is still ongoing.

I'm still not entirely convinced, given the nature of Canadian parties which are run top-down so the voter often votes for the party and not the candidate, that the Conservatives' past strategy was actually illegitimate. If the party is a major determinant in the vote, then candidates should be allowed to promote the party. If the party benefits from a candidate being well-funded, why should it be forbidden from funding that candidate's campaign (providing the finds used to promote the party)? That was the in-and-out scandal.

11:33PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I am sure canadians are clever enough to figure out means for safe-tweeting... and/or should foreigners be inclined to shape election results, is Canada prepared to create international incidents as it attempts to extend its rule of malfeasance beyond its borders?
Now this might not apply to Americans, since there is evidence that the Harperists are poised to dissolve Canada into the US should they win a majority
http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1446.htm


http://shitharperdid.ca.nyud.net/

6:44PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I hope our Canadian neighbors are able to rid themselves of Prime Minister Harper, his imperialistic style, and his conservative cronies.

2:14PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

Thinking further, since some more contested ridings are in the far west, if Conservative-supporters there heard their boys were getting kicked behinds to the east, they might be further motivated to last minute vote.

The last time, the Conservatives used fraud to manipulate electoral funds. If something similar (done more carefully) is happening this time, we may never know.

2:10PM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

I don't tweet but this is obviously a Rethuglican/Nut-Job Conservative ploy to keep the electorate in the dark.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

When will people learn that the military is not about defending your country its about providing profit…

I've remained off this discussion all night and hoped to stay off of it since I posted my original opinion…

meet our writers

Steve Williams Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) rights, human... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free

more from causes

Animal Welfare

Causes Canada

Causes UK

Children

Civil Rights

Education

Endangered Wildlife

Environment & Wildlife

Global Development

Global Warming

Health Policy

Human Rights

LGBT rights

Politics

Real Food

Trailblazers For Good

Women's Rights




Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.