Scotland-based Journalist Flouts Canadian Election Law in Pursuit of 'Democracy'

A website operated by a Scotland-based freelance journalist has deliberately flouted a 73 year-old law 'in the interests of democracy'.

CompareTheParties.co.uk is run by Canadian journalist, Tristan Stewart-Robertson, and it was among a number of media and new media outlets that decided to flout a law in his native country banning the reporting of results before polls are closed.

The results of the Canadian elections were being announced last night, UK-time, and the 1938 law was established to accommodate the five time zones across Canada that means that polls in the east of the country are closed long before they are in the west.

Says Stewart-Robertson: “Poll closing times have been staggered in recent years to reduce the difference, but Elections Canada still warned Canadians not to tweet or post results on Facebook before all polls had closed.”

He added: “Canada's media laws are outdated in many respects. But on a democratic level it is an insult to educated citizens that they can not be entrusted with the knowledge of election results as they come in.

“Many in the 'twitterverse' identified this as a freedom of speech issue, not a way to change voters' minds on the west coast while polls were still open with results from the east coast.

“Canadians around the globe were rightly passionate about the future of our nation, and if new media can help encourage that passion, then it is right that the Canada Elections Act must change to reflect new digital realities.”

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