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Supreme Court narrowly rules in favour of election blackouts

This just in: The Supreme Court has narrowly ruled 5-4 that election laws which prohibit publication of polling results until all federal polls close are valid and does not violate the Charter of Rights:

The court wrote that the ban is a “reasonable limit” on the Charter because it maintains “informational equality” among voters and contributes to “the fairness and reputation of the electoral system as a whole..The ban is only operative for a matter of two to three hours, only on election day, and it is only the late voters who will be affected,” wrote the court. “While the ban may be inconvenient for the media, this argument cannot be allowed to override as important a goal as the protection of Canada’s electoral democracy.”

I don’t think Prime Minister Harper will be thrilled with this decision, if past experience is an indication:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, then a private citizen, criticized the reporting ban in 2001…At the time, Harper called Elections Canada officials “jackasses” and referred to Chief Electoral Officer Jean-Pierre Kingsley — who stepped down last December — as a “dangerous man.”

I guess 5 of the 9 judges on the Supreme Court are dangerous now as well – all the more reason probably in Harper’s mind that he’s justified in his ideological litmus test for judges to be appointed to courts.

Personally, I dont really like the new system of staggered times.. I actually preferred the region-by-region blackout we had in place back in the 2000 election (as each province’s polling times ended, the blackout curtain would be lifted for each timezone or each province/region as that time to vote expired – revealing what had happened or was happening so far)


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