Canadian Election Restrictions

Its election day in Canada. Thought I’d crack open the Election Act and review some of the relevant provisions contained in Division 9, which deals with communications. Specifically, Canada does not permit the transmission of election results, in a particular electoral district, prior to the close of all polling stations in that district. However, I wonder just how useful some of these provisions really are given the number of US and foreign news stations that Canadians can receive, and given the increasing proportion of news that individuals now receive through the Internet.

Section 323. Election Advertising – Blackout Period. (1) No person shall knowingly transmit election advertising to the public in an electoral district on polling day before the close of all of the polling stations in the electoral district.

Section 328. (1) No person shall knowingly cause to be transmitted to the public, in an electoral district on polling day before the close of all of the polling stations in that electoral district, the results of an election survey that have not previously been transmitted to the public. (2) No person shall transmit to the public, in an electoral district on polling day before the close of all of the polling stations in that electoral district, the results of an election survey that have not previously been transmitted to the public.

Section 329. Premature transmission. No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.

Section 330. Broadcasting outside Canada. (1) No person shall, with intent to influence persons to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate at an election, use, aid, abet, counsel or procure the use of a broadcasting station outside Canada, during an election period, for the broadcasting of any matter having reference to an election. (2) During an election period, no person shall broadcast, outside Canada, election advertising with respect to an election.

Section 331. Non-interference by Foreigners. No person who does not reside in Canada shall, during an election period, in any way induce electors to vote or refrain from voting or vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate unless the person is
(a) a Canadian citizen; or (b) a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.