PRESS RELEASE: MP candidate Mikkel Paulson announces support for education

EDMONTON – Pirate Party leader and Edmonton Centre MP candidate Mikkel Paulson announced today in an interview with Shaw TV his intention to create to a bursary fund at two universities located within the Edmonton Centre riding. By providing $50,000 per year to students at Grant MacEwan and $25,000 per year to NAIT students from his own personal salary, he intends to lead by example in helping to alleviate financial barriers for students.

Paulson emphasized the vital importance of a strong post-secondary education system in building a diverse economy. Other education initiatives in his platform include increased funding and student loan debt forgiveness to encourage students to continue to work in Canada after graduation.

Paulson, a former Grant MacEwan criminology student, was elected to the leadership of the fledgeling Pirate Party in September 2010, and has successfully led the party into its first election in Winnipeg North and consequent registration in November of that year. There, the Party’s first candidate, Jeff Coleman, finished 20 votes short of the Green Party candidate.

As well as working as party leader, Paulson works as a freelance web developer and is managing the development of a free media collective called Libre Press, intended to support independent and non-profit news organizations in competing against the corporate conglomerates presently dominating the news industry.

Contact:
mikkelpaulson@pirateparty.ca
(780) 668-3958

Posted in Press releases by Mikkel Paulson. 2 Comments

Youth and politics

I’ve contacted a number of local high schools to see if they’d be interested in arranging me to join a class as a guest speaker. So far I have several such engagements, and am looking forward to booking more in the near future. Whether or not they vote for me (or for their local Pirate Party candidate if they live outside of Edmonton Centre), I hope to be able to inspire some of the students to get out for the half-hour or so that it takes to scribble on a piece of paper.

It’s no secret that the voter turnout among youth is poor and declining rapidly, hitting roughly 35% in the last election. The political scene is dominated by old men, and consequently the only language spoken fluently is that of the old man. Most politicians see the young as a source of volunteer labour at election time and not much else. There are plenty of “Young xyz” clubs around, and Elections Canada has a somewhat condescending campaign intended to encourage youth to vote, but the problem isn’t that the message isn’t correctly tailored to the audience; the problem is in the message itself.

The political views of young people range from cynical to jaded. They’ve seen too many politicians either ignore their concerns altogether, or pay only lip service to initiatives supposed to support issues that they care about. It’s unfair to say that they just don’t care; my experience has been quite the opposite. They do care, but don’t see voting as an effective way of bringing about change.

The problem with this is more than just the consequent lack of representation for a huge demographic. Voting is a lifelong habit; declining numbers of voters in the 18–24 demographic will lead to declining numbers in the 25–31 demographic as the non-voters age, and so on we go.

The solution? It’s not to come up with some way to convince young people to elect old men. It’s time for some new blood in Parliament, someone still naïve enough to believe that representative democracy really is possible. I have those qualities, though I’m certainly not the only one. Give us a chance to build the country that we will want to live in for the next 50 years or more.

Posted in Campaign trail Positions by Mikkel Paulson. 2 Comments

Moving into our campaign office

Comments Off

Today we collected the last of the signatures needed for the nomination papers. We’ll be meeting with the Returning Officer early this week to complete the nomination process, and are getting ready to move into our new campaign office. Exciting times ahead, so stay tuned!

Posted in Campaign trail by Mikkel Paulson. Comments Off

Our digital means

Comments Off

It costs $40,000 to fill a single iPod with music.

I don’t know anyone who can afford to spend a year’s salary on music, an intangible product. I doubt if you do either. Yet I do know people with full iPods. Quite a few of them. How do we reconcile these realities? Obviously, not all of the music is legally purchased. Maybe none of it is. But is it killing music? And is it wrong?

The answer to the first question should be obvious. If I couldn’t possibly afford to buy $40,000 worth of music, downloading that much music couldn’t possibly deprive the music industry of $40,000 of revenue. QED. Maybe I’ll download some albums that might otherwise have been purchased, and that represents a lost sale. However, the money I would have spent on that album gets spent elsewhere instead. I attend my favourite artists’ shows, often discovered through file sharing. I support artists such as Brad Sucks, a brilliant musician working using an alternative business model. I discuss and share, and encourage others to do the same. This is the nature of our new creative economy.

I refer to this activity as “living beyond our digital means”. Normally, “living beyond one’s means” means taking out bad debt for a new car, huge house, and big-screen TV. Not a great idea. But digital means is a different matter. There is no debt, and minimal cost (all you need is an internet connection). Yet suddenly you have access to an incredible wealth of culture and information, something that you never would’ve been able to afford to purchase. In the case of more exotic or classic fare, it may not even be available to you through legal means. And it’s beautiful. Piracy has an incredible impact on quality of life, because it opens completely new worlds to explore and benefit from. This is the magic of the 21st century, and it shouldn’t be dismissed or cast aside lightly.

Before we try to stuff the 21st century back into its box and put it away in the attic, let’s take a long, hard look at the world as it stands today. We have access to a fount of information and culture that our forefathers could only dream of. Indeed, we stand on the brink of an information revolution that will fundamentally change our society forever. It’s time for the government to get out of the way and let it happen.

Posted in Positions by Mikkel Paulson. Comments Off

PRESS RELEASE: Pirate Party leader Mikkel Paulson to run for MP in Edmonton Centre

Comments Off

EDMONTON – Pirate Party leader Mikkel Paulson formally announced today his intention to run for MP in the riding of Edmonton Centre.

In addition to the core values centred around defending freedom of speech and creativity, all Pirate Party candidates must build their own platforms in response to the concerns of their constituents. Paulson will:

  • open the federal government’s fighter jet purchase to a public competition, rather than spending $1000 for every man, woman, and child in Canada on a fighter that doesn’t meet Canada’s needs
  • reallocate federal stimulus money to diversify and green Canada’s economy rather than rebuilding the same economic structure that caused the economy to falter last time
  • increase education funding, and implement federal student loan forgiveness for students who remain in Canada rather than taking more lucrative jobs in the US
  • encourage immigration, and provide better services to retrain skilled immigrants
  • advocate proportional representation, and strengthen the powers of opposition in majority governments

The Pirate Party will:

  • copyright: reinforce and protect fair dealing, decriminalize non-commercial file sharing, allow content creators to dedicate material to the public domain, and reform crown copyright to ensure open access to Canadians
  • patent: reduce terms to 5 years, require a higher standard of originality, and reallocate funds saved in health care due to patent reform to public pharmaceutical research
  • privacy: enforce the same privacy laws on electronic communication as the traditional postal service, strengthen the powers of Privacy Commissioner, and fight bills and regulation that violate Canadians’ right to personal privacy
  • net neutrality: reform the CRTC to prevent abuses, fund undersea cables to Europe and Asia rather than relying on American bandwidth, and ensure unfettered access to telecom infrastructure for independent service providers
  • open government: create a combined approach of proactive release of information to the public while easing access by request, expedite freedom of information requests and reduce costs by sharing information digitally, lower or eliminate the cost of filing of FOI requests, strengthen the PSIC, and establish an anonymous online dropbox system
  • whistleblowers & free press: introduce legislation to protect journalists and whistleblowers
  • Charter rights: stand up against violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, especially freedom of expression and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure

Paulson, a former Grant MacEwan criminology student, was elected to the leadership of the fledgeling Pirate Party in September 2010, and has successfully led the party into its first election in Winnipeg North and consequent registration in November of that year. There, the Party’s first candidate, Jeff Coleman, finished 20 votes short of the Green Party candidate.

As well as working as party leader, Paulson works as a freelance web developer and is managing the development of a free media collective called Libre Press, intended to support independent and non-profit news organizations in competing against the corporate conglomerates presently dominating the news industry.

Contact:
mikkelpaulson@pirateparty.ca
(780) 668-3958

Posted in Press releases by Mikkel Paulson. Comments Off

Campaign kick-off

Comments Off

Anticipating the upcoming federal election, we’ll be meeting on Sunday (March 27) to coordinate volunteer activity and set the tone for the coming election. You can find event info in the forum and on Facebook.

Posted in Meetings by Mikkel Paulson. Comments Off