Campaign Tips

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This page provides campagin tips for running a successful campaign for the Pirate Party of Canada.

How to become an official candidate for the Pirate Party of Canada

  1. Become a member, if not already one. (
  2. Get involved in the party. e.g. organize or attend a local meetup. Volunteer and help out.
  3. Get the party's affirmation to be an official candidate. This might involve video or in person discussion.

Candidate's Must Do List (before getting confirmed by Elections Canada)

The following must be done once the notice of election have been issued (issue of writ):

  • Appoint an Official Agent and open a bank account – This is the first thing that must be done. Appoint someone you trust to be legally responsible for managing the campaign contributions and spendings. No expenses can be incurred without calling the agent first. You MUST call your agent for approval each and every time you want to spend for your campaign.
IMPORTANT: No contributions to a campaign can be accepted until after a candidate have been confirmed. (i.e. all nomination papers are in order and returning officer confirmed your candidacy). EDIT: The new election law allows contribution to be accepted before candidate is confirmed. A person is considered to become an unconfirmed candidate when they accept a donation. However, the donation won't be eligible for tax receipts until they are confirmed. Donations forwarded to the party with direction to direct it to the candidates are elgibile for tax receipts but counts toward contribution limit to a political party instead of limit to a candidate.
  • A $1,000 deposit – the party is not responsible for providing the deposit. Candidates have to use their own money or raise it through their local district or riding association. Party will only pay for deposits under exceptional circumstances.
  • Nomination Papers signed by 100 eligible voters from the district you are running in. They must sign it before a witness. Usually the party representative going door to door to get the signatures is the witness. "Remote ridings" only needs 50 signatures. But rural ridings are not "remote ridings" and very few ridings qualified under that provision of the Canada Elections Act's schedule 3.
IMPORTANT: Election Canada recommends getting more signatures than 100 since the fail rate is about 50% (<<double check this number). Start collecting signatures early. You can technically start collecting signatures during Summer for the October election. One caveat is you must be sure the eligible voter endorsing you will not be moving come October. Or his/her signature will be forfeited when Elections Canada verified the signatures.
  • Assign an Auditor – The party can try to get you one if you are having difficulty finding your own. But ask early. Candidate's auditor fees are reimbursed by Elections Canada.
  • A letter of endorsement from the Leader of the party (or their authorized representative) – Get this early since you will be busy with getting signatures from electors and preparing for your campaign. Allows time for the mail to reach you. You need to include this in your nomination papers filing.

TIP: Go door to door or talk to your local constituents even before the writ is issued. That way you would have already established contacts and earned recognition before the actual campaign starts. Also try to obtain their e-mail or phone numbers.


  • The nomination papers and all required documents along with the deposit must be submitted to the returning officers by 2:00 PM of the Monday, 21st day before the polling day. For the October 2015 General Election, it is Monday September 28.
  • If returning officer approves electronic filing before the deadline, the original papers must get to the returning officers within 48 hours after the deadline.

IMPORTANT: Candidate should not wait until the last minute to file. Returning Officers needs time to review the signatures and your papers. They have 48 hours to review them. If the returning officers found any missing requirements (e.g. invalid signatures causing the total to fall below the required 100 signatures) and it is passed the deadline, the candidate will not be confirmed and they will not be able to submit new papers or correct the shortfall or discrepancies.

Important Dates

Fixed Election day

Next General Election is October 19, 2015 Monday. As per the Election Act, it is the third Monday of October to be held every four years. Unless the parliament is dissolved by the Governor General prior to that for whatever reason.

Date for Notice of Election (Issue of Writ)

September 13th 2015 Saturday (36 days before polling day). Still confirming the dates with Election Canada.

Deadline for Nomination Papers

September 29 Monday 2:00 PM (Monday, 21 days before polling day).


If you find yourself thinking you wish there is a candidate in your area, you could be it. Contrary to common perception, there is nothing intimidating about running and attending community forum. If you can give a presentation at school you are set. You can research local and common issues. It is good to know local issues even if it is not under federal jurisdiction. Some constituents love to hear your opinion to connect with you. Most forum and debates are friendly despite debates that could get passionate at times. The animosity seen during Question Period is not as common in a local community forum. Show respect for your political opponents and expect the same. So don't hesitate. Be a candidate and give your local constituents a chance to vote for a Pirate candidate.

General Tips

Tortoise and Hares Campaign

Due to having a smaller volunteer base and campaign funds, to achieve the same rate of success as the major parties, we should start campaigning early to reach as many households as possible. Based on our first General Election campaign, the number of people reached (face to face) the more votes and support we could get. So just like the Tortoise, we have to work twice (or more) as hard against the hares (i.e. the well oiled campaign machine of the major parties).


We understand that most of our members and supporters are not seasoned career politicians. But we would like to see as many people step up as possible to offer their constituents an alternative choice. Whether you can only campaign during after work hours or dedicate all your time during the whole campaign period, there are several possible levels of commitment:

  1. Attend debates and do promo, post signs up. e.g. can't take time off work for full campaign
  2. #1 and door to door campaign - People tend to love our principle and are more likely to vote for you (new candidate and new party) if they see you face to face. The number of people reached is directly proportional to the number of votes you would get (based on some experiences from our last General Election campaign). Note that we have very limited resources and reach at that time.
  3. Full dedication - campaign fultime quickly going door to door trying to reach every household.


  • have volunteers.
  • Plan out route.
  • Mark maps where you or your volunteers been to already.
  • Note the households that shows interest for possible revisit, follow-up or get out the vote before election. Get their info not coercively. e.g. say can we get your contact info for updates and promise to delete it after the election unless they become a member.
  • use creative means to reach more households.
    • avoid long chats. This tends to happen but be careful not to stay on a household too long. Be apologetic andkindly explain the amount of household you need to reach and the limited resources and volunteers you have compared to major parties. Give them your contact info to reach you at.
    • use volunteers if you have them and space them out and plan their route to cover as much area as possible. Let them go door to door first and note down household that shows interest. Then candidate can go to those household thereby saving them time.
    • use bicycle, rollerblade or other means to move faster from one house to another. BUT be respectful of other people's property and space. Don't walk across their lawn and take care passing through driveways with parked cars and other personal properties or items.
  • TIP: Start campaigning early to help spread our policies and raise awareness. For a new un-heard of party, we have a bigger obstacle to overcome. Engaging your constituents early by going door to door will ensure they know you when the writ is issued.

The 10-10-10 Fundraising Tip Towards a Candidate's Deposit

Some candidates hesitate to run because of the $1,000 Elections Canada's deposit requirement. This amount is fully refundable once your agent submits your post-election paperworks.There are various ways to come up with the $1,000 donations. One way is to convince 10 people (friends, relatives, acquaintances) to go and convince 10 people that they know to give $10 toward your campaign or to your local Electoral District Association (EDA). If a candidate wants to avoid creating an EDA due to lack of volunteers or not wanting to deal with the extra paperwork, their supporters can donate directly to the main headquarter (through our website's donate link) and sent a note that the funds is for a specific candidate or riding. We would make sure to earmark that fund for that riding or candidate and transfer the amount to that candidate (as per Canada Elections Act guidelines and limit for transferring funds). Start planning early and run in your riding to give your constituents a choice to vote pirate.

Debate Tips

  • Do your research on issues that might come up. Know your local issues even if it is not Federal matters.
  • Don't let false insinuation go unanswered. Be snappy and do a quick rebuttal.
  • Make good use of limited time. So prepared notes are common. Sometimes pauses to think are wasted seconds.
  • Don't be afraid to acknowledge a good idea from opposing sides. Voters would like a fresh views not old attack politics. Try to expand on how you can better improve a good idea to show why they should vote for you instead.
  • Stay positive even if you are correcting what you think is a bad idea from your opponent or their party. Explain why and offer better solution if possible instead of just criticizing.
  • Exude confidence but be humble.

(add more tips here)

Info Campaign

  • Do a quick blog or vlog to update news and thoughts about your campaign, or what your constituents are saying (and your thoughts and ideas to address those concerns). Engage your constituents and show you are listening.
  • Have someone videotape ommunity forum and post it on your website or youtube. Good chance to show yourself in action for people who missed the forum or looking for alternative candidates.
  • Collect contact info of people who showed interest and ask permission to call them for get out to vote or for campaign updates. Get their cotnact info and initial if feasible. NOTE: under the new law, calling or contacting a constituents to vote is not considered a spam. Calling to raise funds is subject to CRTC's Do Not Call List (DNL). Calling from within the party does not require registration with CRTC. But calling using an automated dialing service (ADAD) needs to be registered with CRTC. This includes a call that are started by an ADAD and followed by a human caller. Using third party for human call or ADAD needs to be registered with CRTC.

Election Canada's Resources and Links

Other Resources