Pirate Party of Canada

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Pirate Party of Canada
Parti Pirate du Canada
Leader James Wilson
President Patrick Fitzgerald
Founded June 12, 2009 (2009-06-12)
Headquarters 3-212 Henderson Highway, Suite 15. Winnipeg MB R2L 1L8[1]
Ideology Pirate politics,
IP reform,
Network neutrality,
Open government,
Civil Liberties
International affiliation Pirate Parties International
Colours Black and Purple. Alt: Red and White
Seats in the House of Commons
0 / 308
Seats in the Senate
0 / 105
Politics of Canada
Political parties

The Pirate Party of Canada (French: Parti Pirate du Canada, abbreviated as the PPCA), is a minor party in federal Canadian politics. The party was registered with Elections Canada in 2010, the PPCA is modelled on the Swedish Pirate Party and advocates intellectual property reform, privacy protection, network neutrality and greater government openness.[2] No member of the party has been elected to Parliament.[3]


"Companies had labelled people who infringe on copyright as pirates, and we figured since we were going to reform copyright law, we were going to get called pirates anyway, so we were going to adopt the term and make it our own” -James Wilson, current leader,[4]

The Pirate Party drew its inspiration from the Piratpartiet, the Swedish Pirate Party. In 2001, the copyright industry established the Antipiratbyrån — The Anti-Piracy Bureau. In 2003, to combat this legislation, a group of artists, musicians, and cultural workers founded a think-tank called the Piratbyrån — the Piracy Bureau. In selecting that name, the Bureau was signalling that they were the progressive, while the antis were the regressive. In 2005, when copyright laws were harshened again in Sweden, the Bureau established itself as a political party becoming the Pirate Party.[5] Due to past successes of the Bureau, the name immediately conveyed all the political ideas the party stood for. Under that banner, the Pirate Party came 5th in the 2009 European Parliament elections with 7.13% of the vote and 1 MEP, later increasing to 2 after ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, Christian Engström became the first MEP for the party, and Amelia Andersdotter took the second seat on December 1, 2009.

The Canadian Pirate Party was ideologically founded out of that movement, retaining many of the political thought of their parent party.

"...we keep our funny name but use it to get the attention to spread to our very important causes." -Travis McCrea, former leader[6]

Founding and development[edit]

In June 2009, the PPCA was founded by a handful of Canadian supporters active on the web forums of the Pirate Parties International collective.[7][8][9] The party established its own forums and removed membership fees, as part of a campaign to gain the 250 members necessary for registration,[10] gaining 1,000 members by October 2009.[11]

In October 2009, the party selected university student Jake Daynes as its interim leader and established an interim council.[12] On April 12, 2010, the party was granted official status by Canada's chief electoral officer, Marc Mayrand.[13][14] On August 19, 2010, the party held its first leadership elections.[15] On September 1, 2010, the first official Federal Council was elected, with Mikkel Paulson as party leader.[16][17]

According to Elections Canada, the Pirate Party became eligible to field candidates on April 12, 2010 and was registered on November 6, 2010.[18] As of November 2010 the party claims to have over 2,000 members.[19]

Following the 2011 election the party examined issues that had arose with its constitution and began taking steps to reform it. Issues included a hard to reach quorum for General Meetings and the difficulties of the Federal Council members running for office while also handling party paperwork and administration. On December 19 the party adopted the new constitution and held elections for the new Executive Board and Political Council.[20]

In June 2012, the party began the process of crowdsourcing its 2015 election platform and opened sections of its forums to guests.[21]

In July 2012, the Pirate Party of Canada allegedly failed to produce its financial report for Elections Canada,[22] citing a changeover of official agents for the party. However, internal PPCA documents demonstrate that the party's membership have been advocating for a public release of the party's financial information since the 2011 Federal Election.[citation needed] Despite these claims, Elections Canada has all of the party's 'Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Revenues and Expenses' from 2011 until the present.[23]


On September 27, 2009, the party launched a BitTorrent tracker, named the "Canadian Pirate Tracker" or "CaPT", with the aim of promoting its position on works being released online[24]

Pirate Party Radio was a weekly audio show from 2009-2011 produced by the Canadian RantMedia and host James O'Brien.[25] It was officially recognised by the Pirate Party of Canada,[26] United States Pirate Party[27] and Pirate Party UK.[28] As of May 5, 2011 the weekly broadcasts stopped.

In 2011, in response to lawful access legislation that was being put forward in Parliament, the PPCA announced it would launch a VPN service to help guard Canadians' online privacy.[29]

In early 2012, also in response to Bill C-30, several members of the Pirate Party of Canada created a new Linux distro titled Pirate Linux. It is installable as a package on an existing Linux system or as its own distribution based on Ubuntu. It includes many privacy enhancements, including utilizing Tor with browsers preconfigured for its use.[30]

Political positions[edit]

Like the Swedish Pirate Party, the PPCA platform is focused on intellectual property reform, privacy, net neutrality and open government.[2] The party has also called for net neutrality in Canada, and suggested that medical patents are preventing innovations that could save lives.[32] Candidates have also suggested that making government records available online may encourage transparency, and allow citizens to more directly scrutinize and participate in the process.[33]

Like their Pirate counterparts worldwide, the PPCA is bloc-neutral on other issues, noting that issues outside the party's realm are left to the individual candidate to represent their own constituents' desires.[33][34][35]

The PPCA has been heralded by OpenMedia.ca for its "digital policy issues".[36]

Party governance[edit]

Mikkel Paulson, party leader from 2010-2012
Shawn Vulliez, party leader from 2012-2013

The party is run by three organs of party governance: the Executive Board, the Political Council, and the General Meeting. The Executive Board consists of the president, vice-president, secretary, leader, deputy leader, and chairs of standing committees of the party.[37] The Political Council consists of the leader, deputy leader and other council members elected by approval voting.[38] The General Meeting is open to all members and meets monthly.[39] While the Executive Board and Political Council can act independently in most matters, the General Meeting has veto power over their decisions and may pass their own motions.[40][41]

Current Executive Board[edit]

Councillor Name Elected To Board Position
Patrick Fitzgerald Mar 19 2014 President
Vacant Mar 19 2014 Vice President
James Phillips Mar 19 2014 Secretary
James Wilson Mar 19 2014 Leader
Craig Nobbs Mar 19 2014 Deputy Leader

Current Political Council[edit]

Councillor Name Elected to Council Position
James Wilson Jan 25 2014 Party Leader
Craig Nobbs Jan 25 2014 Deputy Leader
Adrian Pappas Jan 25 2014 Member
Frederic Trottier-Hebert Jan 25 2014 Member
Bob Trower Jan 25 2014 Member
Scott Elcomb Jan 25 2014 Member
Chad Kohalyk Jan 25 2014 Member

Former Pirate Party Leaders[edit]

  • Jacob Daynes (2009–2010)
  • Mikkel Paulson (2010–2012)
  • Shawn Vulliez (2012–2013)
  • Travis McCrea (2013-2013)
  • James Wilson (2013–Present)


PPoC logo sge sm.png

2010 by-elections[edit]

The first federal election contested by the party was the November 2010 by-election in Winnipeg North, finishing ahead of the Communist and Christian Heritage parties, but behind the Green Party.[19][42]

Jeff Coleman, a 25-year-old small business owner, was the first Pirate Party of Canada candidate to run for federal election.[43][44]

Riding Province Candidate Votes % Placement
Winnipeg North Manitoba Jeff Coleman 94 0.60% 5/7

2011 general election[edit]

For the 2011 federal election, the PPCA put forward candidates in 10 of the 308 ridings but failed to win a single seat, averaging 0.63% support for their candidates. The media noted that Craig Nobbs ran a zero-dollar campaign.[45] The Pirate Party of Canada acquired a total of 3,198 votes.[46]

Riding Province Candidate Votes % Placement
Edmonton Centre Alberta Mikkel Paulson 289 0.59% 5/6
Edmonton—Mill Woods—Beaumont Alberta Brent Schaffrick 374 0.82% 5/6
Langley British Columbia Craig Nobbs 353 0.64% 5/5
Nanaimo—Alberni British Columbia Jesse Schroeder 363 0.55% 5/7
Prince George—Peace River British Columbia Jeremy Coté 415 1.08% 5/5
Vancouver Centre British Columbia Travis McCrea 192 0.33% 7/8
Provencher Manitoba Ric Lim 215 0.55% 6/6
Kitchener—Waterloo Ontario Steven Bradley Scott 245 0.37% 5/7
Ottawa South Ontario Mike Bleskie 382 0.65% 6/6
Laval—Les Îles Quebec Stéphane Bakhos 369 0.68% 6/7

2013 by-election[edit]

After Bob Rae resignation of the Toronto Centre riding, a by-election was held on November 25, 2013. On August 2, 2013, Travis McCrea had announced that he was running in the riding.[47] On October 11, 2013, McCrea left the role of leader of the Pirate Party of Canada, and withdrew his name from the by-election citing depression.[48][49][50][51]

2015 general election[edit]

The 42nd Canadian federal election is tentatively scheduled for October 19, 2015. The PPCA has plans for six candidates run in the up-coming election.[4] Among them, James Wilson the current leader, will run in New Brunswick’s Fundy-Royal riding during the next election.[4]


On January 1, 2012, twelve[53] IP addresses assigned to the Canadian House of Commons were caught pirating copyrighted films, music, e-books and software.[54] In the same leak, similar activities were linked to the U.S. House of Representatives and the French President's residence, the Elysees Palace.[55] The discovery was attributed to the PPCA.[53][56]


Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May noted that the PPCA seemed redundant, as the two parties shared the majority of their platforms on copyright reform, medical patents and intellectual property;[57] but the PPCA responded that "even if the Green Party had the same stance as us, [...] they were not talking about these issues in the last election; no party was".[58]

David Shipley, an analyst at the University of New Brunswick's Information Technology Services department, has criticized the party for being largely around online issues, which may not be enough to garner votes. He is quoted as saying: "How much people decide where they're going to place their vote based on their entertainment preferences, I'm not sure."[4]

Jon Pammett, professor of political science at Carleton University, sees issues with small single-issue parties, like the PPCA. In his opinion the Pirate Party has a larger set of issues than most as they have "picked a set of quite complicated and technical issues, however, and may have some difficulty using the limited attention they get in public campaign events to adequately explain them."[59]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://elections.ca/content.aspx?section=pol&dir=par&document=index&lang=e#ppc
  2. ^ a b "About the Pirate Party of Canada". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/04/14/beyond-the-fringe-a-look-at-the-parties-without-seats/
  4. ^ a b c d "Pirate Party's James Wilson aims to lead party nationally". cbc.ca. January 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Why The Name "Pirate Party"? - Falkvinge on Infopolicy". Falkvinge on Infopolicy. 
  6. ^ https://www.pirateparty.ca/about/
  7. ^ CBC News (June 30, 2009). "Copyright Fighting Pirate Party Coming to Canada". Retrieved November 1, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada - History". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ "PPI Canada Board". Pirate Parties International. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Pirate Party drops fees in drive for recognition". CTV News. August 30, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada; Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!". VUE Weekly. October 7, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Interim Leader and Directors". Pirate Party of Canada. October 8, 2009. Retrieved November 10, 2010. 
  13. ^ http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2010/04/26/the_pirate_party_seeks_your_booty.html
  14. ^ http://www.thesudburystar.com/2010/04/27/avast-pirates-officially-on-ballot-13
  15. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada seeks new captain". IT Business. 
  16. ^ "Leadership". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Leadership acceptance letter". Pirate Party of Canada. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Registered Political Parties and Parties Eligible for Registration". Elections Canada Online. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  19. ^ a b Black, Debra (November 4, 2010). "Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Constitution 2011-12-18". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  21. ^ https://www.pirateparty.ca/forum/index.php?topic=2269.0
  22. ^ "Registered Political Parties Submit 2011 Financial Returns". AlphaTrade Finance. Retrieved July 16, 2012. [dead link]
  23. ^ http://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=fin&document=index&dir=pol/asset&lang=e
  24. ^ Geist, Michael (September 27, 2009). "Pirate Party of Canada Launches Creative Commons Tracker". Retrieved April 13, 2010. 
  25. ^ "Pirate Party Radio Official Website". 
  26. ^ "Link on Pirate Party of Canada Site to Pirate Party Radio". 
  27. ^ "Approval of Pirate Party Radio for US Pirate Party". 
  28. ^ "Pirate Party UK tweet endorsing Pirate Party Radio". 
  29. ^ "Pirate Party plans to offer Canadians VPN service". canadiancontent.net. 
  30. ^ http://piratelinux.org/?page_id=13
  31. ^ Capilano Courier, Free the Internet
  32. ^ "Avast! Pirates officially on ballot". Niagara Falls Review. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  33. ^ a b "SteinbachOnline.com - Local news, Weather, Sports, Free Classifieds and Business Listings for Steinbach, Manitoba". steinbachonline.com. 
  34. ^ "Pirate/Non-Pirate Issues (PPCA Wiki)". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved November 29, 2010. 
  35. ^ http://www.leaderpost.com/technology/Copyright+changes+eyed+Pirates/4581465/story.html
  36. ^ The Wire Report. "OpenMedia releases political party report cards". thewirereport.ca. 
  37. ^ http://wiki.pirateparty.ca/index.php/Constitution_2011-12-18#Article_VI._Executive_Board
  38. ^ http://wiki.pirateparty.ca/index.php/Constitution_2011-12-18#Article_VII._Political_Council
  39. ^ http://wiki.pirateparty.ca/index.php/Constitution_2011-12-18#Article_V._General_Meetings
  40. ^ Pirate Party of Canada. "Leadership". Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  41. ^ Pirate Party of Canada. "General Assembly". Retrieved February 26, 2011. 
  42. ^ "Winnipeg by-election attracts Pirate Party candidate". Toronto: The Globe & Mail. November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  43. ^ "Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party". thestar.com. 
  44. ^ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/winnipeg-by-election-attracts-pirate-party-candidate/article1216096/
  45. ^ Dan Ferguson. "Langley Pirate candidate ran a zero-dollar campaign". Langley Times. 
  46. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada hooks over 3,000 votes in first general election". The Georgia Straight - Vancouver News and Entertainment Weekly. 
  47. ^ Kady O'Malley (May 20, 2014). "Pirate Party poised to hit the by-election hustings in TO Centre". cbc.ca. 
  48. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada leader steps down to seek mental health help". Metro. 
  49. ^ https://www.pirateparty.ca/2013/10/13/resignation-of-travis-mccrea-as-party-leader/
  50. ^ "I would like to announce that effective... - Pirate Party of Canada / Parti Pirate du Canada - Facebook". facebook.com. 
  51. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada Leader Resigns, Drops out of TO By Election : CanadaPolitics". reddit. 
  52. ^ http://ajournalofmusicalthings.com/busted-canadian-parliament-filled-with-media-pirates/
  53. ^ a b http://www.straight.com/news/pirate-party-canada-links-illegal-downloads-house-commons
  54. ^ http://torrentfreak.com/busted-canadian-parliament-hosts-bittorrent-pirates-120101/
  55. ^ http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2012/01/03/19196571.html
  56. ^ http://business.financialpost.com/2012/01/03/pirate-party-discovers-illegal-downloading-in-the-house-of-commons/?__lsa=e6e8-1c4d
  57. ^ Wilson, Drew (July 8, 2009). "We Don’t Need a Canadian Pirate Party – Green Party Leader". Zeropaid. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  58. ^ Wilson, Drew (July 8, 2009). "Exclusive Canadian Pirate Party Responds to Green Party". Zeropaid. Retrieved March 20, 2012. 
  59. ^ Adrian Humphreys (April 14, 2011). "Fringe profile: Pirate Party champions Internet issues". National Post. 

External links[edit]