No action for broadcasting early election results
Editor: This is a copy of a letter I received from Elections Canada, regarding CBC’s broadcast of election results on May 2, before the polls closed in B.C.:
“This is in reply to your complaint addressed to the Elections Canada commissioner’s office concerning the May 2 general election. Your e-mail has been directed to the Commissioner of Canada Elections.
“The commissioner is responsible for compliance and enforcement of the Canada Elections Act (the Act). Your e-mail advised that CBC was broadcasting election night results into your area prior to the close of polls.
“Section 329 of the Act prohibits the transmission of the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all the polling stations in that other electoral district.
“This matter has been discussed with the CBC. They have assured this office that there was an operational plan in place to prevent such transmissions and that the incident complained of was a mistake.
“The CBC acted as soon as possible to address the problem and has undertaken to prevent a recurrence in the future. The exercise of the commissioner’s authority to take enforcement action regarding possible violations of the Canada Elections Act is only enforced if there are sufficient grounds to support a reasonable belief of an offence under the Canada Elections Act.
“While the Canada Elections Act does contain provisions concerning premature transmission of results, the courts will strictly construe the text of these provisions. The offence in this fact situation requires that it be done wilfully or intentionally.
“This was not the case for the CBC broadcast of results on election night. After careful consideration of the available information, the commissioner has concluded that there is not a reasonable basis for further steps at this time.”