Travis McCrea: The Pirate party seeks a better future for Canada
In the 2011 federal election, I ran for Parliament in Vancouver Centre. Running a zero-dollar campaign in such a highly sought-after riding was not easy. I knocked on doors, I stood outside of debates that wouldn’t let me in and introduced myself to the people as they entered, and I even baked cookies so college kids would come by and listen to me speak for a second.
I was running for the Pirate Party of Canada. I love my party and I truly believe that we offer something different. Drug patents are killing seniors and putting an insanely heavy burden on our health plan. Lack of transparency and protection of whistleblowers means the Canadian government is becoming more and more corrupt by the day. Copyright law is being influenced by U.S. corporations which don’t have Canadian interests at heart. We have something for the most progressive of Canadians and even some policies that Conservatives would like.
The competition was tough. When I caught Hedy Fry being less than truthful in a debate about how much she makes in Parliament (in reply to my suggestion that parliamentarians take a pay cut), no one paid attention. It was nice that Adriane Carr had my back during a debate where I was locked out; she took a moment in her opening statement to say that she feels that I should have been allowed to debate. There was an empty seat for me, since the Conservatives didn’t allow their candidates to participate in debates. However, the system is against minor parties having a chance to voice themselves.
Even against all the people telling me that my hair was too long (I got a haircut, by the way), that I would split the vote, or that there are “already enough parties in Canada”—as though we might run out of ink printing one more name on the ballot—there were many more people who stood up for me and said, “I don’t agree with you but I am so glad you are here.” One debate moderator said I worked the crowd “like Oprah” in a column for the Tyee.
It was that support that encouraged me to keep going. I didn’t win that election—but I didn’t come in last place either! Today I still fight for the values that I believe in. I think that we need more people who are not politicians to help represent Canadians. Sure, I believe that the Pirate party is a great party for Canada’s future but I don’t want to see less of other parties (even the Conservatives, though maybe less of Stephen Harper).
On Wednesday (March 20), I was confirmed as the leader of the Pirate Party of Canada—and while it may seem like no big deal to anyone else, it is a big deal to me. I am so proud to get to represent my party in the country that I love. I am here because your support gave me the strength and courage to keep fighting and to never quit. So that’s what I am telling you: keep fighting, no matter what it is. If you believe in something, you should do it. It doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 80; you must feel empowered to do what you love. Thanks for giving me the encouragement I needed. I hope to pass it on every day.