Pirate Party of Canada

Political party in Canada
Pirate Party of Canada
Parti Pirate du Canada
Deregistered federal party
LeaderTravis McCrea
PresidentBailey Lamon
FoundedJune 12, 2009 (2009-06-12)
DissolvedNovember 30, 2017 (2017-11-30)
Headquarters3-212 Henderson Highway, Suite 15. Winnipeg MB R2L 1L8[1]
IdeologyPirate politics
IP reform
Network neutrality
Open government
Civil liberties
ColoursBlack and purple (alt: red and white)
Seats in the House of Commons
0 / 338
Seats in the Senate
0 / 105
Official website Edit this at Wikidata
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The Pirate Party of Canada (French: Parti Pirate du Canada; PPCA) was a minor party in federal Canadian politics. Founded in 2009, the party officially registered with Elections Canada in 2010.[2] The PPCA is modelled on the Swedish Pirate Party and advocates intellectual property reform, privacy protection, network neutrality and greater government openness.[3] No member of the party has been elected to Parliament.[4] The party officially deregistered on November 30, 2017.[5]


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, former leader[6]

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.[7] Because of 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 much of the political thought of its parent party.

...we keep our funny name but use it to get the attention to spread to our very important causes.

— Travis McCrea, leader[8]

Founding and development

Former logo of the PPCA
Promotional logo used for the 2015 general election

In June 2009, the PPCA was founded by a handful of Canadian supporters active on the web forums of the Pirate Parties International collective.[9][10][11] The party established its own forums and removed membership fees, as part of a campaign to gain the 250 members necessary for registration,[12] gaining 1,000 members by October 2009.[13]

In October 2009, the party selected university student Jacob Daynes as its interim leader and established an interim council.[14] On April 12, 2010, the party was granted official status by Canada's chief electoral officer, Marc Mayrand.[15][16] On August 19, 2010, the party held its first leadership elections.[17] On September 1, 2010, the party's first Federal Council was elected, with Mikkel Paulson as party leader.[18][19]

According to Elections Canada, the Pirate Party became eligible to field candidates on April 12, 2010 and was registered on November 6, 2010.[20] As of November 2010, the party claims to have over 2,000 members.[21]

Following the 2011 election, the party examined issues that had arisen 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.[22]

In June 2012, the party began the process of crowdsourcing its 2015 election platform and opened sections of its forums to guests.[23]

In July 2012, the party allegedly failed to produce its financial report for Elections Canada,[24] citing a changeover of official agents for the party. However, internal party documents demonstrate that the party's membership has 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.[25]


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.[26]

Pirate Party Radio was a weekly audio show from 2009–2011 produced by the Canadian RantMedia and host James O'Brien.[27] It was recognised by the Pirate Party of Canada,[28] United States Pirate Party[29] and Pirate Party UK.[30] On May 5, 2011 the weekly broadcasts stopped.

In 2011, in response to lawful access legislation that was being put forward in Parliament, the party announced it would launch a VPN service to help guard Canadians' online privacy.[31]

In early 2012, also in response to Bill C-30, several members of the party 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.[32]

Political positions

Whether you watched a movie at a friend's house that you didn't pay for, or if you borrowed a book, that's essentially what they are calling piracy.

— Mikkel Paulson, former leader[33]

The central principles of the PPCA include the establishment of transparent government, a basic income guarantee, personal autonomy,[34] and traditional Pirate Party ideals such as intellectual property reform, patent reform, net neutrality, and internet privacy.[2] The party explicitly called for net neutrality in Canada, and suggested that medical patents are preventing innovations that could save lives.[35] 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.[36]

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.[36][37][38]

The PPCA has been heralded by OpenMedia.ca for its "digital policy issues".[39]

The PPCA supports guaranteed minimum income.[40]

On March 1, 2015, the party provided a press release in opposition to Bill C-51, calling for debate, criticism and discussion.[41] Among their criticisms, they believe that the bill is redundant as there are existing laws dealing with terrorists, and this proposal opens the potential for governmental abuse as it "will also allow the government to arrest and incarcerate any citizen based on subjective evidence, then have that evidence destroyed."[42]

Party governance

Mikkel Paulson, party leader from 2010–2012
Shawn Vulliez, party leader from 2012–2013; deputy leader 2015–2017

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.[43] The Political Council consists of the leader, deputy leader and other council members elected by approval voting.[44] The General Meeting is open to all members and meets monthly.[45] 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.[46][47] If a member of the party became elected, that member would become the leader of the party; if multiple members of the party become MPs, the MP who got elected with the highest percentage would become the party leader.[48] This party leader would still be answerable to the party as a whole, and could be replaced by the council.[48]

Executive Board

Councillor Name Elected To Board Position
Bailey Lamon April 20, 2016 President
Ryan Menchion April 20, 2016 Vice President
James Phillips April 20, 2016 Secretary
Travis McCrea October, 2016 Leader
Shawn Vulliez April 26, 2016 Deputy Leader

Political Council

Councillor Name Elected to Council Position
Travis McCrea October, 2016 Party Leader
Shawn Vulliez March 7, 2016 Deputy Leader
Eric Adriaans March 7, 2016 Member
Ryan Bromsgrove March 7, 2016 Member
Travis McCrea March 7, 2016 Member (now party leader)
Cory Svensson March 7, 2016 Member

Former Pirate Party Leaders

  • Jacob Daynes (2009–2010)
  • Mikkel Paulson (2010–2012)
  • Shawn Vulliez (2012–2013)
  • Travis McCrea (2013)
  • James Wilson (2013–2015)
  • Ric Lim (2015–2016)
  • Edward Martins-Berki (2016)


Former promotional banner
Results by election
Election Candidates Votes % vote % vote in
contested ridings
2011 general election 10 3,197 0.02% 0.60%
2015 general election 5 906 0.005% 0.32%

2010 by-elections

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.[21][49]

Jeff Coleman, a 25-year-old small business owner, was the first Pirate Party of Canada candidate to run for federal election.[50][51]

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

2011 general election

For the 2011 federal election, the party put forward candidates in 10 of the 308 ridings but failed to win a seat. The party's candidates received a total of 0.60% the votes in contested ridings (averaging 0.63% per riding). The Langley Times noted that Craig Nobbs ran a zero-dollar campaign.[52] The party's candidates won a total of 3,197 votes.[53]

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

After Bob Rae resigned as the member for Toronto Centre riding, a by-election was held on November 25, 2013. On August 2, 2013, Travis McCrea announced that he was running in the riding.[54] On October 11, 2013, McCrea stepped down from the leadership of the Pirate Party of Canada, and withdrew his name from the by-election, citing depression.[55][56][57][58]

2015 general election

The 42nd federal election was held on October 19, 2015. The PPCA ran five candidates; two each in Alberta and British Columbia, and one in Ontario.[59] James Wilson, a former leader of the party, planned to run in New Brunswick's Fundy Royal riding,[6] but ultimately did not.[60] At the time of the election, Scott Milne ran at the age of eighteen.[61] The party received a total of 906 votes nationally.[62]

Riding Province Candidate Votes % Placement
Edmonton Strathcona Alberta Ryan Bromsgrove 201 0.36 6/10
Red Deer—Mountain View Alberta Scott Milne 312 0.50 6/6
Vancouver East British Columbia Shawn Vulliez 188 0.32 8/8
Vancouver Quadra British Columbia Trevor Walper 86 0.2 5/7
Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario Duncan Bell 121 0.24 5/7


It’s pretty funny, given that this very same group of people is working on harsher copyright law with Bill C-11. It just highlights how absurd and unenforceable this copyright monopoly is.

— Travis McCrea, former leader[63]

On January 1, 2012, twelve[64] IP addresses assigned to the Canadian House of Commons were found to have downloaded copyrighted films, music, e-books and software without permission.[65] In the same leak, similar activities were linked to the U.S. House of Representatives and the French President's residence, the Elysees Palace.[66] The discovery was attributed to the PPCA.[64][67]


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;[68] 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".[69]

David Shipley, an analyst at the University of New Brunswick's Information Technology Services department, has criticized the party for running mostly on Internet-related 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."[6]

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."[70]

See also


  1. ^ "Elections Canada Online - Registered Political Parties and Parties Eligible for Registration". elections.ca.
  2. ^ a b "Duncan Bell, Pirate Party of Canada". Muskokaregion.com. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  3. ^ "About the Pirate Party of Canada". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  4. ^ Adrian Humphreys (April 14, 2011). "Beyond the Fringe: A look at the parties without seats". National Post.
  5. ^ "Elections Canada - Deregistration of the Pirate Party of Canada".
  6. ^ a b c "Pirate Party's James Wilson aims to lead party nationally". cbc.ca. January 25, 2014.
  7. ^ "Why The Name "Pirate Party"? - Falkvinge on Infopolicy". Falkvinge on Infopolicy.
  8. ^ "About". pirateparty.ca.
  9. ^ CBC News (June 30, 2009). "Copyright Fighting Pirate Party Coming to Canada". Retrieved November 1, 2010.
  10. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada - History". Pirate Party of Canada. Archived from the original on December 5, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  11. ^ "PPI Canada Board". Pirate Parties International. Archived from the original on March 30, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  12. ^ "Pirate Party drops fees in drive for recognition". CTV News. August 30, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  13. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada; Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!". VUE Weekly. October 7, 2009. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  14. ^ "Interim Leader and Directors". Pirate Party of Canada. October 8, 2009. Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  15. ^ "The Pirate Party seeks your booty". thestar.com. April 26, 2010.
  16. ^ "Avast! Pirates officially on ballot". Sudbury Star.
  17. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada seeks new captain". IT Business.
  18. ^ "Leadership". Pirate Party of Canada. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
  19. ^ "Leadership acceptance letter". Pirate Party of Canada. September 1, 2010. Archived from the original on September 13, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  20. ^ "Registered Political Parties and Parties Eligible for Registration". Elections Canada Online. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  21. ^ a b Black, Debra (November 4, 2010). "Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  22. ^ "Constitution 2011-12-18". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  23. ^ [1][dead link]
  24. ^ "Registered Political Parties Submit 2011 Financial Returns". AlphaTrade Finance. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved July 16, 2012.
  25. ^ "Elections Canada Online - Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Statements of Revenues and Expenses". elections.ca.
  26. ^ Geist, Michael (September 27, 2009). "Pirate Party of Canada Launches Creative Commons Tracker". Retrieved April 13, 2010.
  27. ^ "Pirate Party Radio Official Website". Piratepartyradio.com. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  28. ^ "Link on Pirate Party of Canada Site to Pirate Party Radio". Piratepartyofcanada.com. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  29. ^ "Approval of Pirate Party Radio for US Pirate Party". Pirate-party.us. Retrieved September 30, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Pirate Party UK tweet endorsing Pirate Party Radio". Twitter.com. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
  31. ^ "Pirate Party plans to offer Canadians VPN service". canadiancontent.net.
  32. ^ "About". piratelinux.org. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  33. ^ Capilano Courier, Free the Internet
  34. ^ "Group Commentary - Who are you voting for? - The Gateway". The Gateway.
  35. ^ "Avast! Pirates officially on ballot". Niagara Falls Review. Archived from the original on September 6, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2012.
  36. ^ a b "SteinbachOnline.com - Local news, Weather, Sports, Free Classifieds and Business Listings for Steinbach, Manitoba". steinbachonline.com.
  37. ^ "Pirate/Non-Pirate Issues (PPCA Wiki)". Pirate Party of Canada. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  38. ^ "Copyright changes eyed by Pirates". www.leaderpost.com. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  39. ^ The Wire Report. "OpenMedia releases political party report cards". thewirereport.ca. Archived from the original on August 24, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  40. ^ "Ric Lim: Pirate Party of Canada is committed to an open society". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly.
  41. ^ "PRESS RELEASE: Stephen Harper's Bill C-51 undermines Canadian democracy and amounts to anti-dissent laws". pirateparty.ca. Archived from the original on June 3, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  42. ^ Bill C-51 Secret Court Appeals §16(6)
  43. ^ "Constitution 2011-12-18". pirateparty.ca.
  44. ^ "Constitution 2011-12-18". pirateparty.ca.
  45. ^ "Constitution 2011-12-18". pirateparty.ca.
  46. ^ Pirate Party of Canada. "Leadership". Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  47. ^ Pirate Party of Canada. "General Assembly". Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
  48. ^ a b "Ric Lim: Pirate Party of Canada is committed to an open society". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. October 2015. Retrieved October 20, 2015.
  49. ^ "Winnipeg by-election attracts Pirate Party candidate". Toronto: The Globe & Mail. November 4, 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  50. ^ "Winnipeg North first Canadian battleground for Pirate Party". thestar.com. November 4, 2010.
  51. ^ "Winnipeg by-election attracts Pirate Party candidate". The Globe and Mail. November 4, 2010.
  52. ^ Dan Ferguson. "Langley Pirate candidate ran a zero-dollar campaign". Langley Times.
  53. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada hooks over 3,000 votes in first general election". The Georgia Straight - Vancouver News and Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 13, 2013.
  54. ^ Kady O'Malley (May 20, 2014). "Pirate Party poised to hit the by-election hustings in TO Centre". cbc.ca.
  55. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada leader steps down to seek mental health help". Metro.
  56. ^ "Resignation of Travis McCrea as Party Leader". pirateparty.ca. Archived from the original on December 11, 2014. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  57. ^ "I would like to announce that effective... - Pirate Party of Canada / Parti Pirate du Canada - Facebook". facebook.com.
  58. ^ "Pirate Party of Canada Leader Resigns, Drops out of TO By Election : CanadaPolitics". reddit. October 11, 2013.
  59. ^ "Affirmed Candidates List". Election 2015 Campaign. Pirate Party of Canada. Archived from the original on October 3, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  60. ^ "Who are the candidates in my electoral district? - Fundy Royal (New Brunswick)". Voter Information Service. Elections Canada. September 30, 2015. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  61. ^ "Red Deer Advocate - Pirate Party raids riding". Archived from the original on January 20, 2016.
  62. ^ http://enr.elections.ca/National.aspx?lang=e Elections Canada, Results 2015
  63. ^ "A Journal of Musical ThingsBusted! Canadian Parliament Filled with Media Pirates - A Journal of Musical Things". A Journal of Musical Things. January 5, 2012.
  64. ^ a b "Pirate Party of Canada links illegal downloads to House of Commons". Georgia Straight Vancouver's News & Entertainment Weekly. January 3, 2012.
  65. ^ "Busted: Canadian Parliament Hosts BitTorrent Pirates". TorrentFreak.
  66. ^ Canoe inc. "Parliament Hill pirates snagged for file-sharing". canoe.com.
  67. ^ Financial Post Staff (January 4, 2012). "Pirate Party finds downloading of copyrighted material in House of Commons". Financial Post.
  68. ^ Wilson, Drew (July 8, 2009). "We Don't Need a Canadian Pirate Party – Green Party Leader". Zeropaid. Archived from the original on May 6, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  69. ^ Wilson, Drew (July 8, 2009). "Exclusive Canadian Pirate Party Responds to Green Party". Zeropaid. Archived from the original on April 29, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2012.
  70. ^ Adrian Humphreys (April 14, 2011). "Fringe profile: Pirate Party champions Internet issues". National Post.

External links

  • Official website
  • Pirate Party of Canada – Canadian Political Parties and Political Interest Groups - web archive created by the University of Toronto Libraries
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