Friday, July 10, 2009

The Clash of Titans

In the annals of Canadian Political history, there has been many monumentous clashes: you can think of Mackenzie King vs Lord Byng, or Pierre Trudeau vs Rene Levesque. I could continue and talk about M. Brian Mulroney vs John Napier Turner. In recent history we can think Jean Chretien vs Paul Martin Jr, or Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion.

All these shall pale when we consider the latest clash of two potential titans. I'm talking about the clash between the Green Party of Canada and the Pirate Party of Canada.

It started when Gordon McDowell posted this video on Youtube. In it, he asks Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party her opinion on the launching of a Pirate Party in Canada

To sum up her opinion, Canada doesn't need a Pirate Party, since issues such as net neutrality, internet privacy and copyright reform are covered best by the Green Party. In fact she states that:
A 12 year copyright on creative material is reasonable. Lifetime of the creator +70 years doesn’t make any sense at all.” -Elizabeth May, Green Party Leader of Canada

First of all, just on the basis of that statement, we give a big cheer to Elizabeth. When the major parties are tripping over themselves to extend the length of copyright to triple digits, it's good to see someone is being realistic.

What is interesting is that in a recent blog posting by the Green Party, there is cheering by the Greens over the election of a member of the Pirate Party and the fact the member will join the EFA/Green Bloc in the European Parliament. As you can see at the end, Elizabeth concludes:
Canadians need only look to Europe to see that Greens are in the forefront of combating restrictive patent and copyright laws

All this is fascinating, and certainly one can understand that a political organization which is working hard to elect its first member to Parliament and has developed it's brand very well in the country. In fact, there are thousands of dedicated members working across the country. It seems that it is only a matter of time that one will get elected and if one gets elected, then two will get elected and so on and so forth.

Then we come to the Pirate Party, it's basically a website, which is a forum page that is becoming very active. It has no means of signing up members, yet it's getting noticed. The site, ZeroPaid made this observation:
Their membership isn’t exactly hitting tens of thousands yet. Their manifesto hasn’t even been completed. They haven’t really been around for more than 6 months in its current incarnation. They have yet to participate in an election at all. You’d think that they wouldn’t really be making any sort of movement on their issues at all, but already, they are making waves in the media and are catching the attention of other political parties. If they are this successful already, imagine what would happen by the time they make it to the point of participating in a national election.

You can read the entire response here.

I suppose the concern with the Greens is that the membership pool for both parties is approximately the same, young, politically and digitally active. The thing which should also concern the Green party is that, the Pirates have some great t shirts

That's not to say the Green Party doesn't have t shirts:

As I said earlier, you can't have a groundbreaking, culturally changing political movement unless you have t shirts.

It certainly is the case, both parties can work together for election success and to keep issues such as I already mentioned before the media and the public. I suppose one difference and this could be due to maturity, the Green Party has a broader platform that is more then simply staying with environmental issues. The Pirate Party is concentrating on issues the affect primary the Internet, such as internet privacy the the issues pertaining to copyright. Now this is not to say they are only on those issues, if you read what Pirates say about copyright on such things as drug patents, they are far reaching and very well thought out. But we all know what the media will concentrate on: 'this is the party that wants to allow kids to download music and movies...'.

Although, the Green Party seems to have some issues regarding censorship.

It will be interesting to see how both parties decide to exist in the political landscape that is Canada. What needs to happen is an awareness in Canada that we can't keep doing politics that is simply a continuation of the 19th century. Our two major political parties are based upon 19th century Canada. It's the politics of antagonism and hostility. This is a new century and we need new view of doing things. It can't happen soon enough.

As an aside, I found out about a website in Australia called Get Up! They have a campaign called "Save the Net". The problem is this:
The Federal Government is planning to force all Australian servers to filter internet traffic and block any material the Government deems ‘inappropriate’. Under the plan, the Government can add any ‘unwanted’ site to a secret blacklist.

While at present, Australia is the first western democracy to consider this, remember, they are simply the first- with the present attitude of most western democracies to ratched up censorship, look to this virus to start spreading.

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