On April 20th & 21st, the rural town of Osgoode held their annual Osgoode Home & Trade Show. The event holds about 50 booths, and is visited by several hundred people annually. This year, the Pirate Party of Canada (PPCA) obtained a booth to provide an easy-to-access location to discuss the party’s views with average people in the rural riding of Nepean-Carleton. Two of the party’s candidates, David Ascroft of Nepean-Carleton and Robert McGrath of Ottawa-Orleans, were on hand to discuss issues with the local residents and show how the party’s stances affect people in an area where the main concerns have nothing to do with Internet & Cellular access, of which there is almost none and most constituents really don’t care to obtain.
Although the table with littered with information related to the digital, aside from a few of the younger folk that dropped in at the booth, the conversations had nothing to do with the digital issues that the Pirate Party usually touts as its platform planks. Instead, the majority of conversations held related more to issues of culture, farming, and health care, with heavy stress laid on a Member of Parliament’s responsibility to listen to the constituents. With stress laid on the way patents have slowed medical development, drained funds from health care, prevented farmers from using new techniques and saving seeds, and on how copyright has contributed to the loss of the cultural contributions of generations both young and old, both candidates effectively bent the ears of a lot of people in a community owned by the Conservative Party since 2004.
Reactions varied greatly, but most were at least polite enough to listen to the candidates. Although several people signed up for memberships during the show, gaining traction will be difficult for the party in rural areas because of the overwhelming focus most party members place on its digital and technological aspects, often completely ignoring many of the very strong non-electronic platform planks to a fault. Rural areas are starting to feel the pinch in many areas that are directly tied to the PPCA’s platform, and more of its members need to focus on those areas in these regions.
Although true that rural areas are not the prime focus of this tech-centric political party, these areas are strong in their beliefs in personal privacy, maintaining cultural identities, and obtaining timely and effective health care. These are all areas where the Pirate Party of Canada has platform policies that provide a vast difference to those of the established parties, and provide an avenue of interest for people in these regions. For those residing in Nepean-Carleton, David Ascroft is the local candidate and he runs a bi-weekly brunch at the Hard Stones Grill in Manotick on the 1st & 3rd Friday of the month at 9:00 am. Everyone is invited to voice their opinions and concerns as “Pirate Dave” brings the rural area a fantastic alternative to the entrenched Conservatives.
Popularity: 7% [?]
I agree 100% – I have been trying to get the Pirate Party to focus on other issues than just our technology focus. We are against drug patents so people can afford their medications, we are against seed patents so farmers don’t have to worry about getting sued for doing something they have been doing for years.
We have the best position on civil liberties, direct citizen involvement, and we are an ideal choice for both libertarians (both left and right) and social democracy supporters. People don’t vote for us and don’t become members because they don’t understand exactly what we do. We need to get better at conveying that message
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