Thursday, March 15, 2007

Blackout law upheld

In a 5 to 4 decision, the country's highest court ruled that provisions of the Canada Elections Act must stand, forbidding the reporting of partial results in areas where the polls haven't closed.

"For the big broadcasters and big media in this country, we have been operating under this law for several years now. And we will have to continue to black out this type of information until the polls close in western Canada," CTV's Rosemary Thompson reported from the lobby of the Supreme Court on Thursday morning.
I wonder how many more years it will be until this law is totally, absolutely irrelevant -- until, that is, Ontario and Quebec no longer form a majority of the country's population.

Alberta & BC combined only just exceed Quebec's population, and Ontario alone is almost 3 times BC's population, so we've got some time yet.

As it is, technology should make it practically irrelevant. I would think the most sensible blackout would be simply to embargo all election news, nationwide, until the polls close in BC. That would, however, mean that Newfoundlanders and Nova Scotians go to bed without knowing who their PM is, which doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. The Americans have had two Presidential elections where they went to bed not knowing who the President would be, and not knowing for a night didn't hurt anyone. (Indeed, the results were much worse than the confusion preceding them...)

It would also carry the risk of me having to listen to blowhards like Mike Duffy and Rex Murphy prattle on, fact-free, for a few more hours on election night. Not that anyone would notice the difference...

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