Strahl: ‘Let my people tweet’

Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl says he backs the Conservative government's move to repeal the election gag law.

Remember those election nights when you had to wait until B.C. polls closed before the media could report voters’ election choices from eastern Canada?

The law was supposed to stop the evil influence of eastern voters over the political choices, made three or four hours later, by western voters.

Staggered voting hours in 1996 partially fixed the problem, but now the Tory government is promising to finally drive a nail into the coffin and repeal the “dated, obsolete and unenforceable election law.”

“The realities of 21st century communication make the enforcement of such an archaic law impossible,” Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl said in a news release.

“No government has any business telling Canadians what they can and cannot tweet,” he said.

Strahl said the Tory minister of democratic reform, Tim Uppal, had confirmed “via Twitter” that legislation to repeal sections of the Canada Election Act will by introduced.

He said the move is the result of some Canadians being penalized for the early transmission of election results.

Like Paul Bryan, a Coquitlam software developer who deliberately broke the gag law in the 2000 federal election, posting results from Atlantic Canada on his website before the B.C. polls closed.

Bryan was convicted, but a B.C. Supreme Court Justice overturned the conviction in 2003.

However, in 2005 the B.C. Appeal Court reversed that decision and upheld the ban on the grounds that it promoted election fairness.

Strahl said in a tweet to The Progress that tweeters “certainly” challenged the law in the last election, and that there has been a “good response so far to the common-sense change” proposed by the Conservative government.