Pirate Party of Canada Seemingly Destined to Miss Another Election

While we will probably hear a lot from different parties, the Canadian Pirate Party doesn’t appear to be one of them.

So far, we published an analysis of both the NDP platform and the Conservative platform (Part 1, Part 2). At the moment, we are waiting on the Green Party, Liberal Party (the one that called the election in the first place ironically), and the far right People’s Party of Canada. While we are going to get nice round coverage of the various parties, one party we probably won’t hear from is the Pirate Party of Canada.

For long time observers, the Pirate Party of Canada came about during the file-sharing and privacy debates in years past. Fuelled by a wave of support sweeping the international stage by 2009, it seemed like the Pirate Party was unstoppable. In Canada, the Pirate Party was founded in the same year (2009). That moment wasn’t just a token of support for the international movement, the party seemed destined to eventually completely shake up politics in Canada.

How much of a threat was the party? It got to the point where the Green Party was feeling the political heat from the party. At the time, I covered the parties response to the Green Party as well as a subsequent interview with the party. In 2011, I wrote an analysis of the parties platform and, at the time, it got top grades from me. In fact, the party had so much of a presence, they even offered VPN services to protect Canadians from a, at the time, potential Conservative majority government.

In subsequent elections, they ran candidates, took donations and seemed to be destined to be a regular fixture in the Canadian political landscape. We’re not entirely sure what happened to all this momentum, but we do know that things suddenly went south for the party. In 2017, Elections Canada de-registered the party. Things got rather bumpy for myself around 2013 – 2015 as I was in the process of building up Freezenet and moving away from ZeroPaid, so coverage got sporadic from me. So, it was quite the shock for me when I looked into where the party was when the election was called in 2019 only to discover that the party was effectively absent. Their website was offline and their online presence seemed to be reduced down to a barely active Twitter feed. Ultimately, 2019 proved to be the first election the party missed since its inception. After sending in inquiries, a tweet was posted saying that they’ll be running as a third party spending less than $500.

Earlier this year, I wrote an opinion piece saying that the case for the Pirate Party has never been stronger. This cited the Shaw Rogers merger proposal, the stalled privacy reform bill, Bill C-10, the link tax, and a whole lot more. These days, you could also throw in the Apple plan to scan every one of your files story and the CRTC beer photo into the mix as well.

The bottom line in my editorial ultimately remains: the political climate for the Pirate Party of Canada is spectacular right now. Yet, when you look at the parties only online presence, the last tweet was from 2019 talking about the ban on straws:

Jessica Kellgren-Fozard:
Banning Straws Hurts People // The Last Straw! [CC] (11:52)

[YouTube embed]

TL;DW: for some people, plastic straws are a necessary medical device. Alternatives are not ideal for safety reasons.

On the one hand, one of the criticisms of the party in the past is that they set themselves up for being a single issue party which means that their potential reach for voters might be limited. What is there, though, only makes passing references to their core issues and seems almost half focused on environmental issues.

Ultimately, what is happening now in the political climate is effectively handing them a strong case for their presence on a silver platter. The list of issues that speaks to the core of who they are (or maybe were) is extensive. Canadian’s are increasingly listening to these issues on top of it all. Yet, the party seems disinterested in even lifting a finger to Tweet about it. We here at Freezenet probably wrote more about the party than the whole political party wrote in the last couple of years. The situation of missed opportunity after missed opportunity combined with lost potential is downright depressing.

What’s more is that the other parties are seemingly taking this as a signal that these issues really don’t matter to Canadians. There is basically no consequence for parties to be disinterested in protecting Canadian’s personal information. No one cares if online free speech gets blown to smithereens. No one would bat an eye of there were mass shutdowns and blocking of websites initiated by the Canadian government. After all, who are you going to vote for? The Liberals, NDP, and Greens are pushing for this crackdown on freedom of expression in the first place. The Conservatives are only interested because they see it as weakness in the Liberal party. In fact, one could argue that the lack of presence of the party might be a reason for the shift away from a comprehensive push for digital rights at the federal level.

At any rate, with the party de-registered in 2017, that, so far, has given the party 4 whole years to sort something out. The fact that we’re still waiting for the party to sort something out is a clear indication that they probably won’t be bothering with anything for this federal election either. It would be a night and day turnaround if it were pulled off and, frankly, not something you can hold your breath over.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.


  • Adam Golding says:

    Pirate Party of Canada is back in touch with PPI and hopes to run municipal candidates without seeking party status, such as in Toronto in October 2022 — #EvictJohnTory — For discussion of voting theory and software come to https://discord.gg/EyEpRQRY

    As a ‘do-ocracy’, volunteers who wish to apply for party status are welcome to get started, please contact us via our facebook page to coordinate, but I’m not sure if the deadline is actually passed or not:


    All the latest news about C-10 will be here — in the meanwhile we need to increase democracy:


    • Drew Wilson says:

      I really hope that Canada gets a cohesive Pirate Party on the federal level again some day. It would be nice to see the kind of movement I saw a decade ago with the starting of a BitTorrent tracker for creators (when I made music back in the day, some of my stuff was on there too which was cool), the VPN starting up, and the running of candidates. Those were some exciting times back then.

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