It is generally understood that sometime in the next few months, our new Prime Minister will call a federal election here in Canada. We’ll have a bit of variation on our standard political fare this time around. The Liberal party is wrapped up in financial scandal, the Conservative party is a newly-formed hybrid of the PC and Alliance parties, and the NDP has a strong new leader.
As always, there will be a few other options on the fringes. Today, I received an email from bass-master (as in guitar, not fish) Matt McQuaid of the Rude Mechanicals (featured in session three of Acts of Volition Radio) pointing out an interestive section of the Green Party of Canada website.
Part of their Platform 2004, The Green Party of Canada site has a section about open source software which reads (bold added):
Open Source Software
In this era of increasing technology dependence, both in business and in daily life, software has become a vital economic resource. Software applications must be trustworthy, reliable and easy-to-use. The Open Source Movement is emerging as a competitive rival to privately developed and marketed software, producing programs of equal or better reliability and security.
The Green Party will:
- Require federal agencies to initiate transitions to open source operating systems and productivity software.
- Make technology that has been developed at public expense, a publicly owned resource. Software that has been developed at taxpayer expense will be released under an open source license, making it free for all Canadians to use.
- Procure only software that stores, loads and transmits information in industry standard formats, for which full technical specifications are available. Procurement of systems that require closed licenses or use vendor-specific formats would be used only if no alternative is available.
- Shorten the length of software patents to seven years. The software business cycle is so fast that longer patents only stifle innovation.
I wondered if they practice what they preach. I then noticed a note at the bottom of their site: “This Site is powered by phpWebSite licensed under the GNU LGPL”. How many political parties have a link to the GPL on their site? While the website is far from standards compliant, it is quite good otherwise.
They pretty much had my vote at this point, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to be voting for some yahoo locally (in Canada, we only vote for the local representative, and not directly for the national leader). An email to their local contact received a speedy and informative reply.
It turns out promising Charlottetown Mayoral candidate from last year, Will McFadden, will be running in my riding (the local website isn’t so good).
Mr. McFadden, you have my vote.