Endorsement: Steven Bradley Scott, Pirate Party of Canada

It’s easy to be dismissive of a political organization with a name like the “Pirate Party.” Assuming one’s mind doesn’t go immediately to images of swashbucklers and gold doubloons, it’s easy to picture an association of basement-dwellers on self-hosted Usenet servers hocking bootleg movies and software encryption crackers. While I can’t speak for the personal lives of Pirate Party candidates and members (buccaneer or otherwise), the Pirate Party of Canada provides a platform surprisingly more inclusive than its single-issue moniker would lead one to believe.

I was unaware that the Pirate Party had organized itself in Canada, or that a candidate for the party had been nominated in Kitchener-Waterloo, until I attended the all-candidates meeting at RIM Park this past Thursday. It was a crowd of predominantly older voters, with issue-oriented questions focused to an intense degree. In this field of highly specific questions, it was Pirate Party candidate Steven Bradley Scott who stood out and, according to a poll conducted by the Waterloo Region Record, won the debate.

Through tying each question to issues raised in his party’s platform – patent reform, electronic privacy, and the like – Scott provided excellent answers on issues ranging from military spending to student engagement. It is a common dictum that third party candidates perform the best in debates; as their chances of actually winning a seat are slim, they have greater freedom to advance their party agenda and call out their opponents on discrepancies. Though I initially dismissed Scott as a fringe, single-issue candidate, his comprehensive policy points won my support, as well as the support of those with whom I attended the debate, as the evening progressed.

Read Peter Braid’s endorsement

Read Bill Brown’s endorsement

Read Julian Ichim’s endorsement

Read Cathy MacLellan’s endorsement

Read Andrew Telegdi’s endorsement

Read Richard Walsh-Bowers’ endorsement

I had a passing familiarity of the Pirate Party of Sweden, whose overnight success beget party a pan-continental Pirate movement and seats in the European Parliament. Though still a fringe movement by any stretch of the imagination, the sleeper success of the Pirate Party in Europe reflects the increased importance of net neutrality and a growing consciousness surrounding the role open technology plays in civic life. With the controversy over usage-based Internet billing and the mounting redundancy of the CRTC, the policy advanced by the Pirate Party has increasing relevance in the Canadian context.

Though it seems unlikely that the Pirate Party will win seats in this upcoming election, a vote for the Steven Bradley Scott would not be a mere protest or throw-away ballot. Should you feel disenfranchised by the representation of the major parties, and the idea of strategic voting leaves a bad taste in your mouth, a vote for the Pirate Party would not be misplaced.

Morgan Alan is a third-year political science student at Wilfrid Laurier University and Editor-in-Chief of the Blueprint Magazine

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