The following Constitution was adopted on June 20th, 2012.
Article I. Name
The full name of the Party is "Pirate Party of Canada"; its short name is "Pirate Party". In French, the full name of the Party is "Parti Pirate du Canada"; its short name is "Parti Pirate". In both languages, the name is abbreviated as "PPCA".
Article II. Object
The principles of the Party are:
- That intellectual property law needs to properly balance the needs of innovators with those of users to ensure maximum cultural and intellectual growth;
- That government must be transparent and accountable at all levels and that government information should be made available to all citizens where it would not compromise individuals' rights.
- That Canadians have a fundamental right to privacy and that the laws should both require that right to be respected and respect that right themselves; and
- That telecommunications, including the Internet and postal mail, are of vital importance for maintaining cultural and economic prosperity; and that access to telecommunications on equitable terms, without censorship or interference is a human right.
The object of the Party is to engage with the people of Canada and use the democratic process to reform the laws of Canada to uphold the principles of the Party and to ensure that our nation's laws can adapt to new technologies.
Article III. Membership
Membership of the Party shall be limited to those natural persons who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents and are at least fourteen years of age.
To expel someone from the party requires a motion and a vote of the General Meeting. The intention to make this motion must be made at the previous month's General Meeting. The person in question will be informed using all contact information submitted to the party about the upcoming motion and will have the opportunity to be heard before the motion is put to a vote. The person will have 5 minutes to speak but may be granted more time if a simple majority of the General Meeting agree. If the person is not present and they do not present themselves to the General Meeting following the one in which intention was made known then the General Meeting may vote without the person present. Any person expelled from the party may only rejoin the party by a vote at a General Meeting.
III.1 Membership Fee
The Party shall collect a membership fee annually from each member. Members of the Executive Board and of the Political Council, as well as selected candidates and Members of Parliament representing the Party, may, at their option, receive membership free of charge for the duration of their service on one or more of these positions.
The Party may award two types of free membership to individuals by approval of a General Meeting, Executive Board or Political Council (depending on the type of free membership granted) for a period of up to 2 years. The first type is an Honourary Membership which can only be granted by the Political Council or the General Meeting and should be granted to those who advance the party's goals and advocate for pirate issues. This type of membership allows the person to vote but not hold any official position on a committee, Executive Board or Political Council. The second type is an Earned Membership which can come from the Political Council, Executive Board or General Meeting vote and is a result of direct service to the party. This type of membership comes with no restrictions.
Membership begins immediately when the fee is first paid, and may be paid for up to five years in advance. If a member is delinquent in paying the fee, they shall lose their membership.
A member who has not paid their membership fee becomes a delinquent member. A delinquent member may not vote, or be a member of the Executive Board or Political Council. A delinquent member retains their membership number and retains any other rights of membership that may exist. If after six months the delinquent member has not renewed their membership it is lost.
Article IV. Officers
The officers of the party shall be the Leader, the President, the Deputy Leader, the Vice-President,and the Secretary. These officers shall perform the duties given to them by this document, by the Party, or by the parliamentary authority of the Party.
No Individual may hold more than one officer position. Officers of the party are the members of the Executive Council which comprise the Leader, Deputy Leader, President, Vice President and Secretary positions. The positions of President, Vice-President and Secretary shall not be eligible to hold a position on the Political Council.
All Executive Board positions shall be voted on by an all-Party Ballot as described in Article IX.2. The positions that may be run for are President, Secretary and Leader. These elections shall occur at the next regular general meeting immediately after the Political Council elections. In the event that a Leader or Deputy Leader is not re-elected to Political Council they will keep their positions in the Executive Board and Political Council until the their positions are brought up for election and the results are known.
The office of President shall be awarded to the person who wins the election for the office of President. The office of Vice President shall be awarded to the runner-up in the election for the office of President.
The office of Leader can only be run for by someone on the Political Council. The office of Leader shall be awarded to the person who wins the election for the office of Leader. The office of Deputy Leader shall be awarded to the runner-up in the election for the office of Leader.
If the Leader and/or Deputy Leader is a currently sitting member of the Parliament of Canada then so long as they retain their seat then elections for these two positions will only come once every 4 years or after a federal general election or under a vote of no-confidence issued at a general meeting by all-party ballot.
Candidates are individually responsible for complying with the financial administration requirements for leadership contestants set out in the Canada Elections Act.
Article V. General Meetings
The Party shall hold regular general meetings monthly at a time and place fixed by special rule of order.
Special general meetings may be called with at least three days notice either by the Executive Board or Political Council with a two-thirds vote, or by the President upon presentation to him or her a petition of at least fifteen members of the Party. The above notwithstanding, general meetings shall be held in an online environment easily accessible to members of the Party.
The General Meeting has all the powers of the Political Council and the Executive Board at it's disposal and retains these powers even when it delegates these powers to other bodies. It is considered good practice to delegate powers to other bodies that meet more frequently to enact these measures or deal with the results.
Fifteen members shall constitute a quorum at a general meeting.
Article VI. Executive Board
The Executive Board shall consist of the officers of the Party and the chairs of any standing committees of the Party.
Additionally, if the Party's chief agent is a corporation, its directors are members of the Executive Board. The directors of the chief agent do not have the right to vote or to make motions at meeting of the Executive Board unless they hold another position on the Board. Quorum of the Executive Board is a majority of members with voting rights.
VI.2 Powers & Duties
The Executive Board is responsible for the general affairs of the Party and has full power and authority over its affairs in between general meetings except where authority is held by the Political Council, or as otherwise limited. The Executive Board's actions are subject to change by, and shall not conflict with decisions of a general meeting. These duties aren't meant to be a restriction on action, but a statement of basic responsibility. The Political Council may assist the Executive Board with it's business, with the exception of internal elections and party funds approval.
If a motion is presented to the Executive Board and is rejected due to the members feeling it is outside their duties as assigned by the constitution the motion must be referred to the Political Council. In this case the Executive Board is considered by default to have delegated its powers to the Political Council for the express purpose of dealing with that particular motion. The Executive Board when referring the motion may place limitations on the power granted. If even with these powers the Political Council decides it is not capable of handling the motion it will then be sent to the next scheduled General Meeting. This General Meeting will decide who has the authority to act on the proposed motion or whether to act upon the motion itself. If the General Meeting assigns responsibility for the motion to the Executive Board it may not be rejected on the grounds that it is outside their duties as defined by the constitution.“
The Executive Board has the power to delegate its authority to the Political Council as well as to members and committees of the Party, the Executive Board, and/or the Political Council as it sees fit. The Executive Board has the power to adopt its own special rules of order.
The Party's finances shall be managed by its chief agent, at the direction of the Executive Board.
The financial records of the Party shall be provided to any member upon request to the maximum extent permitted by law. The Executive Board shall report on the Party's finances to the May general meeting each year.
The Executive Board shall regularly meet at least weekly at a time and place fixed by special rule of order of the Board. Special meetings may be called with two days notice by the President or by any three members of the Board.
Article VII. Political Council
The Political Council shall be chaired by the Leader. Its members, including the Leader and the Deputy Leader, shall be chosen by election and serve until their successors are elected. There is no maximum number of members of the Council, although it must have at least five. The election must take place by all-party ballot. Members of the Political Council must be members of the Party.
VII.2 Elections Generally
Elections for the Political Council may be held only when authorized by this document. An election shall occur for the Political Council at the second regular general meeting following each federal general election. An election shall also occur at the regular general meeting in January unless an election was held during or after July of the previous year, or is scheduled to be held before the end of that year. Elections may be called by the Political Council with a two-thirds vote, or by a general meeting with a two-thirds vote taken by all-party ballot with notice.
Elections should be done on an approval basis. There should be a Yes option, a no option and an abstain option. The abstain option should be selected by default and should garner no effect on the approval percentage. 60% Approval garners a seat on the Political Council guaranteed. If there are not enough candidates with 60% approval then the top 5 candidates will make up the Political Council.
A candidate for the Pirate Party who wins their seat is automatically appointed to the Political Council with full voting rights. They will not, however, count towards quorum. A member of parliament who crosses the floor to sit as a Pirate MP shall also be appointed to the Political Council automatically as an ex officio member. In either case they retain membership in the Political Council as long as they continue to sit as a Pirate MP. Individuals who become members of the Political Council through either of these means will not count towards the minimum number of Political Council members as described above.
In case of a vacancy in the office of Leader, the Deputy Leader shall succeed the Leader automatically. In case of a vacancy in the office of Deputy Leader, a replacement shall be elected by and from the Political Council. In case of a vacancy in both offices, replacements shall be elected by and from the Political Council.
If ever there are fewer than five members of Political Council except immediately after an election or by-election, then a by-election shall be held to find additional members. Current members of Political Council shall not be affected by or be candidates in this by-election. In particular, the Leader and Deputy Leader shall retain office. A by-election may additionally be called by the Political Council with a two-thirds vote. If, immediately after an election or by-election, there are still fewer than five members, then Political Council shall appoint additional members until there are five.
VII.4 Powers & Duties
The Political Council is a board responsible for the general public interface of the Party. The Political Council has the power and authority to speak on behalf of the Party, to set out Party policy, and to approve external communications. The Political Council's actions are subject to change by, and shall not conflict with decisions of a general meeting. These duties aren't meant to be a restriction on action, but a statement of basic responsibility. The Political Council may assist the Executive Board with it's business, with the exception of internal elections and party funds approval.
The Political Council has the power to delegate its authority to the Executive Board as well as to members and committees of the Party, the Executive Board, and/or the Political Council as it sees fit. The Political Council has the power to adopt its own special rules of order.
The Political Council shall regularly meet at least biweekly at a time and place fixed by special rule of order of the Council. Special meetings may be called with two days notice by the Leader or by any three members of the Council.
Article VIII. Committees
Standing and special committees may be established as needed by a general meeting, the Executive Board, or the Political Council. Such committees shall report to the body that established them. Standing committees may be established only by special rule of order.
The Deputy Leader and the Vice President shall be ex officio members of all committees, but shall have no obligation to the committee solely by way of this provision, and shall not be considered for determining quorum.
Article IX. Parliamentary Authority & Special Rules
The parliamentary authority of the Party shall be Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, and it shall govern the Party whenever applicable and where it does not conflict with the bylaw or a duly-adopted special rule of order.
IX.1 Distributed Meetings
All bodies of the Party are authorized to meet by means of real-time telecommunications. Where the body does not have rules accounting for a situation, a superior body's rules should be used if possible. If no superior body has such rules, the chair of any assembly may vary the rules, subject to Appeal, in a way consistent with the principles of parliamentary law in order to accommodate the chosen means of communication.
When meetings are held in this fashion, members shall be required to check in specifically for that meeting in order to establish quorum. Once checked in, a member shall be assumed present unless they disconnect. To safeguard against small groups, no motion shall be adopted at a meeting held by telecommunications unless the number of votes in the affirmative is at least half of quorum.
IX.2 All-Party Ballots
Where an all-party ballot is called for, it may be held by mail, by e-mail, by telephone, and/or through a website approved by the assembly, provided that notice of the vote is sent to every member and they are given at least a week in which to vote. When voting has closed, the results will be announced through the same communication channel as the general meeting, within 24 hours. If there is any dispute with the results, 15 members may petition the President for an emergency General Meeting, before the next regularly scheduled General Meeting.
Article X. Candidates
The Party shall select a number of persons to represent the Party as candidates in federal elections. Only one candidate may be selected per riding. No candidate may be endorsed as the Party's candidate unless selected in accordance with this article.
In order to be eligible to be selected as a Party candidate, a person must have been a member of the Party for the previous three months, and must additionally satisfy all eligibility requirements for candidacy set out in Canadian law. The membership requirement may be waived by a two-thirds vote of the Political Council or of a general meeting.
A candidate is expected to run in their riding in a federal election at the next available opportunity, and their selection applies only to the first completed and valid election after their appointment.
For a riding with an Electoral District Association, that EDA may appoint the candidate for its riding.
For a riding without an Electoral District Association, a member may be elected as the candidate for that riding at a general meeting. Notice must be given of the election.
If there has been an election called in a riding without a candidate, the Political Council may appoint a candidate for that riding, notwithstanding the rest of this section.
Notwithstanding the above, after a federal general election, no candidate shall be selected for a riding until the completion of the subsequent election of the Political Council, except if another federal election is being held in that riding.
Contestants of a candidacy are individually responsible for complying with the financial administration requirements for nomination contestants set out in the Canada Elections Act.
Article XI. Amendment
This document may be amended, including to dissolve the Party or merge it with another party, only by a three-quarters vote or by a vote of a majority of all the membership, taken by all-party ballot, with notice provided at the previous general meeting. A motion for dissolution of the Party shall specify how the remaining assets of the Party are to be distributed.
Article A. Provisos
A.1 General Meetings
The following will be enacted as a special rule of order: "General meetings shall be held at 8:00 PM Eastern time on the 3rd Wednesday of each month in the #canada channel on irc://irc.pirateparty.ca/."
A.2 Executive Board Meetings
The first Executive Board meeting shall be held at the call of the President, and shall enact a special rule of order to set the time of future meetings.
A.3 Political Council Meetings
The following will be enacted as a special rule of order of the Political Council: "The Political Council shall meet weekly at 9:30 PM Eastern time each Thursday in the #council channel on irc://irc.pirateparty.ca/ ."
A.4 Selection of Officers
Sean Hunt shall become President, Shawn Vulliez shall become Vice-President, and Ric Lim shall become Secretary, with term to the election of their successors. Elections for these offices shall be held at the first opportunity.
Mikkel Paulson shall remain Leader of the Party and Shawn Gray shall become Deputy Leader. The members of the old Federal Council shall become the new Political Council. An election of the Political Board shall be held at the first opportunity after the remaining officers are elected.
A.5 Free Debate
The following will be enacted as a special rule of order:
"In free debate, members are not required to seek the floor to speak or make motions. Additionally, there is no limit to the length or number of speeches of a single member, but there may be a limit on the overall length of the discussion period. Free debate can be started or ended by the motion to Limit or Extend Limits on Debate. When limited solely to changing the form of debate, the motion requires a majority vote, and may apply to the remainder of the meeting rather than a pending question or series of questions (and may be moved in this form as an incidental main motion), although it still cannot be made with an undebateable motion pending. In a situation where there is normally a limit on members' speeches, free debate is normally limited to 25 minutes. In a situation where there is normally no limit, then free debate is similarly unlimited. Orders limiting individual members' speeches are ignored when in free debate, but orders limiting (or extending the limits on) the total duration of debate are carried over from one form of debate to the other. Speeches made during free debate are not counted towards individual members' limits."
A.6 Standing Committees
The following will be enacted as a special rule of order:
"The IT Committee shall be a standing committee of the Party, chaired by the IT Director. The IT Director will be elected and serve for a term in the same manner as an officer. Additional members may be appointed or removed by the Executive Board or a general meeting as they see fit. The IT Committee is responsible and has power to oversee the technical operations of the Party. The IT Director shall have full access to the computer systems of the Party except as otherwise ordered by a general meeting; additional access may be provisioned by the IT Committee. Both general meetings and the Executive Board may issue directions to the IT Committee."
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