The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that it will hear Paul Bryan’s challenge to an archaic and undemocratic law – a law which all bloggers need to know about.
I am talking about Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act, which bans the “premature transmission” of voting results on election night. That means it’s illegal for somebody to post election results from a region of the country where the polls are closed to a region where they are still open.
You can learn more about his law here and here.
Bryan challenged this law back in 2000 because he thought it was an infringement on his right to free speech.
What he did was post real time voting results from Atlantic Canada on his website in British Columbia.
The next day Elections Canada dispatched Speech Police to his home and seized his computer.
He was later charged.
But Paul fought back. With the support of the National Citizens Coalition, Paul challenged the law in court. In 2003 the BC Supreme Court overturned the law, but earlier this year the Court of Appeals reinstated it.
That means if any blogger in Eastern or Central Canada posts election results which can be accessed on the West Coast, you will be violating the law and could be charged.
Of course, such a law is not only undemocratic; it’s unenforceable. Look how long the ban on the Gomery testimony lasted.
Let’s hope the Supreme Court sees it that way.