LETS Toronto Dollars #5 and Green Party prejudice
>Article #99481 (99515 is last):
>From: Warren Mosler <mosler@gate.net>
>Date: Sat Dec 12 23:26:13 1998
>I want to borrow LETS. How can I do that?
     JCT: Join your nearest LETS or start one, promise to accept your 
own Greendollar IOUs in exchange for your work and borrow what you 
need to spend within your group. 
>Article #99511 (99515 is last):
>From: gchand4059@aol.com (GChand4059)
>Date: Sun Dec 13 14:33:58 1998
>Toronto dollars and new money schemes in general sound very 
>interesting and filled with potential.
>What we really need is to hear from someone who actually USES 
>lets-type money. Anyone like that out there?
     JCT: There are thousands of local currency systems around the 
world known as LETS, Timedollars and Hours. You can start your search 
at: http://turmelpress.com/letssites.htm  
>Article #99513 (99515 is last):
>From: "Steven" <shales@pipeline.com>
>Date: Sun Dec 13 14:46:23 1998
>I am sure there are since human stupidity seems to be infinite as 
>this thread avers.
     JCT: Either the hundreds of thousands of people using LETS around 
the world are exhibiting human stupidity or Steven is. I'd bet it's 
Steven wins the "stupidity" prize. Isn't it amazing that the guys who 
claim to be the non-stupid are also the guys who claim they don't 
>Date: Sat Dec 12 10:49:24 1998
>From: flanders@web.net ("john flanders")
>To: johnturmel@yahoo.com
>I now see that I may have acted to swiftly with my reaction to your 
>posting about the Toronto Dollar. You will understand that I did not 
>want to see it harmed before it got off the ground. You probably do 
>not remember me, but in the early eighties I was a with a small group 
>of people who worked for a couple of years trying to get the Ottawa 
>Green Party started. You disrupted our first public meeting, and if 
>you remember during a later nomination meeting, your behavior was so 
>disruptive that you had to be removed by the police. 
     JCT: I don't remember anything disruptive about that first Green 
Party of Canada meeting. All I did was indicate that I wanted to run 
as the Ottawa Centre Green candidate in the upcoming 1984 federal 
general election to promote LETS. Of course, some of the original 
members were disturbed and may have construed my expression of that 
desire as disruptive. 
     If you remember anything other than my words which you found 
disruptive, I'd certainly like to know about it. 
     You may remember that I had then signed up 40 new pro-LETS 
members which alarmed the Green party members who had not been very 
successful at signing up members themselves. They therefore decided 
not to hold a nomination meeting and not field any Ottawa candidates 
to make sure I could not run. 
     You may then remember that I then organized a nomination meeting 
to which all Ottawa members were invited and which I believe you may 
have attended. You will remember that on the night of the meeting, the 
Green Party leader in Toronto, Trevor Hancock, issued a press release 
condemning my wanting to use the Green Party to promote LETS and 
appointing a candidate for Ottawa Centre, John Dodson, without an 
     You may also remember that that meeting was so fairly conducted 
that I lost the Ottawa Centre nomination to Gordon MacLeod, one of the 
original founding members of the Ottawa Greens so they ended up 
cheating the wrong guy. I ended up being nominated for Ottawa West. 
     So they decided to hold another nomination meeting, the one where 
I was arrested after rising on a Question of Privilege to know what 
was wrong with the original nominations. I refused to relinquish the 
floor as the chairman Matt Barbour tried to hold new elections forcing 
them to resort to the police. 
     I'm appending the press from that era and am proud of the stand I 
took which did result in the press I'm appending which lays out the 
facts behind what I consider to have been a very dirty episode in the 
Green Party's Ottawa history. Of course, having all that dirty doing 
publicized did make many Ottawa Greens who did not know the whole 
story mad and for which they will never forgive me but I'm proud that 
my stand generated the press to expose the dirty doings. 
>I bring this up to explain my somewhat hasty reaction to your 
>posting. That is so much water under the bridge and I'm sure you have 
>changed over the past twenty years as have I. 
     JCT: Actually, I always play fair and still play as rough as I 
did then. 
>The creation of the Toronto Dollar is a joyous event that I don't 
>want to be soiled, especially not by me. 
     JCT: I would further mention that I was ejected from the Green 
Party by an 8 person meeting to which I had not invited to defend 
myself. Finally, I would point out that a few years later, the Green 
Party did adopt LETS on their national platform. 
>This message is to you, and not econ-lets. I hope you will treat 
>this as a private communication, however, if you decide to post, 
>please post the whole message. Regards, John F. 
     JCT: I appreciate your letter and hope the story of the behind-
the-scenes activities by a few Ottawa Green members has set the story 
     JCT: Greenbacks are LETS Greendollars issued by the national 
goverment. This was the result of my attending my first Green Party 
Emergency meeting Wed. April 25, 1984, 7:30pm
This meeting was called because of John Turmel who wishes to run in 
the Nepean-Carleton federal by-election as a Green candidate. This 
person is a former Social Credit party member who has been a candidate 
for that party many times. His platform has always been run on his 
idea of replacing interest rates and eradicating the need for the 
banking system. It is obvious he is not particularly interested in the 
platform of the Greens, but only wishes to use it to run his own 
"Greenback" ideas. When asked about this, he admitted that of course 
he would be pushing his "Greenback" idea as the main theme of his 
Furthermore, this person has always taken a very aggressive stance in 
his political campaigns and has consequently alienated many people. 
This has been evident in his attitude towards the Ottawa Greens, who 
he has rejected because they have not fully agreed with his 
"Greenback" ideas. As a result, he is now planning to set up his own 
chapter in Ottawa and to have himself nominated as a candidate to run 
in whatever election comes up as a representative of the Greens. 
However, his primary interest is to run in the Nepean-Carleton by-
election and if that is cancelled because of an approaching federal 
election, he will likely run in the Ottawa Centre federal riding.
This meeting has been called to discuss this situation and to 
prevent it from occurring in the future. Members present: Ken Hillis, 
Boris Aldanov, Matt Barbour, John Dodson, Charlie Sohmer, Bill 
Trotter. The following motions were passed:
1) "Any Green Party member wishing to run as a Green Party candidate 
in the Ottawa area must be endorsed by the Ottawa Greens."
Moved by Charlie Sohmer, Seconded by Matt Barbour, Agreed by consensus
2) "Candidates wishing to run as Green Party candidates in the Ottawa 
area must have the ratification of their policies by the Ottawa 
Moved by Matt Barbour, Seconded by Ken Hillis, Agreed by consensus
In order to prevent John Turmel from running in the Nepean-Carleton 
riding as a Green, the following motion was passed:
3) "It is hereby resolved that the Ottawa Greens authorize the 
formation of a Green riding association in Nepean-Carleton
Moved by Ken Hillis, Seconded by John Dodson
It was agreed that the Ottawa Greens need a constitution and should 
work on it. Bill Trotter is to check with the Chief Electoral Officer 
on what could be done with someone like John Turmel, who is using the 
name of the Green Party of Canada without the consent from the leader 
as registered with the Chief Electoral Officer."
Bill Trotter letter to Green Party leader Trevor Hancock:
Dear Trevor:
Since I don't know if anyone from Ottawa will be attending the June 
2nd meeting, I'm enclosing material which will explain John Turmel's 
approach, position, etc., including the minutes of our meeting on 
April 25th to discuss the situation.
It has just been announced this morning that the Nepean-Carleton by-
election will be held on Nov. 11th. We will attempt to have a Green 
riding association in Nepean to counter John Turmel. We just have to 
find a suitable candidate how. Perhaps we can find a candidate, since 
we have 6 months before the election.
In regard to the letter and enclosed election information sent out a 
while ago, I agree to keep my name on the list of party officials with 
the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer. It may have some weight in 
dealing with Mr. Turmel...
Green Party of Canada press release, July 31, 1984:
i) "The Green party refused "to endorse the candidacy of John Turmel 
who is seeking it in Ottawa Centre. 
ii) Leader Trevor Hancock says "Turmel wishes to use party to a) push 
his own theories; b) have himself nominated by signing up members; c) 
original members became concerned he doesn't really support Green 
principles but is using the party for his own ends. 
iii) Following Turmel's attendance at an OCC meeting, concerned 
chapter delegates passed a proposal that non-chapter candidates needed 
3 endorsements and deregistered Ottawa. 
iv) Turmel does not have 3 endorsements and was informed prior to 
nomination meeting. In view of this, the concerns of the original 
Ottawans, the way he linked the party to the injunction, I have not 
and will not endorse his candidacy. Dr. Hancock is titular head of the 
Green Party of Canada.
v) We are a small party and easy prey for people to use our chapters 
to espouse their own ideas in the name of the Greens. This cannot be 
allowed to happen. Mr. Turmel's economic policies are not Green party 
vi) When asked his opinion of Turmel, Dr. Hancock commented that he 
preferred to let Turmel's record speak for itself. 
July 31 letter from Trevor Hancock to the Ottawa Greens:
"In view of serious concerns, I have decided to refuse to endorse any 
candidates because:
a) There is good reason to believe Turmel does not truly adhere to 
Green principles, his attempt to take over the Ottawa Chapter is an 
b) Turmel has created the Greenback wing which is not recognized. He 
never asked for recognition but has gone ahead to use the party name 
with the Greenback wing. 
c) Turmel has not received written endorsements as required by the 
rule of the Ontario Greens. 
d) In his injunction, Turmel and Gauvin linked the name to the Green 
Party of Canada. 
     JCT: This was a motion before the Federal Court that all party 
leaders be allowed to participate in the federal election debate. 
@PAPER = Ottawa Revue
@HEADLINE = Greens running in Ottawa Centre
@NEWS = John Dodson has announced he'll be running for the Green Party 
of Canada in Ottawa Centre. The 34-year-old food store employee has 
worked for the Greens since the party organized in Ottawa last year. 
@NEWS = At press time, Dodson had not added his own ideas to the basic 
Green party platform. 
@PAPER = Ottawa Citizen, Abby Deveney
@HEADLINE = Turmel faction disputes Green party nomination
@NEWS = The Ottawa chapter of Canada's Green party entered federal 
politics Tuesday, mired in controversy. While some Green party members 
have announced that John Dodson would represent Ottawa Centre, others, 
dissatisfied with the way Dodson was chosen, elected Gordon McLeod to 
represent a break-away chapter of the party. 
@NEWS = McLeod defeated perennial bank-basher John Turmel at a 
nomination meeting attended by about 40 Green members who are unhappy 
with the earlier nomination of Dodson. Turmel, a local gambler, placed 
his first bet on the political table in May, 1979. Since then, he's 
run -- and lost by huge margins -- in all municipal, federal and 
provincial contests. 
@NEWS = "The decision to select Dodson was made arbitrarily," says 
party member Marc Gauvin who ran unsuccessfully in the 1982 mayoral 
race. "We just heard about them choosing him. They never held or 
called a meeting." National leader Trevor Hancock acknowledges a 
nomination meeting wasn't called and Dodson was chosen by party 
faithfuls. But he says the splinter group attempted to take over the 
chapter with a last minute membership drive forced the party to pick a 
candidate this way. "There was clearly an attempt by an individual to 
take over our chapter with his own supporters," Hancock says. "There 
is no evidence that this person has a `Green' set of values and 
philosophies." About 15 members who helped found the Ottawa chapter 
chose Dodson. 
@PAPER = Ottawa Citizen
@HEADLINE = Troubled Greens to conduct new nomination
@NEWS = The Green party had two candidates nominated for the Ottawa 
Centre riding before a general meeting of its Ottawa Chapter Thursday. 
Now it has none. 
@NEWS = The Greens invalidated the nominations of both John Dodson and 
Gordon McLeod and called a new nomination meeting for Sunday night too 
sort out the chaos that has plagued the party's entry into federal 
politics. John Dodson was named last week by a small group of founding 
members to stand in Ottawa Centre. Other members protested a candidate 
being chosen without consulting the rest of the Ottawa chapter, so 
they held a nomination meeting Tuesday and elected McLeod. Dodson says 
he won't run again. John Turmel, who lost to McLeod, could not be 
reached to see if he will again seed the nomination. McLeod said he 
will be a candidate.
@PAPER = Ottawa Citizen, Christina Spencer
@HEADLINE = Police called as Greens nominate 4 candidates
@NEWS = Ottawa fledgling Green party built on a platform of peace had 
a mini-war on its hands Sunday. The party nominated 4 candidates for 
area ridings at a raucous meeting marred by shouts from a small band 
of supporters of professional gambler John Turmel. 
@NEWS = Police were called twice to evict Turmel and supporter Marc 
Gauvin as the two hurled insults at other members. Candidates were 
eventually nominated over the shouts of Turmel's brother Ray, who 
remained at the meeting after Turmel and Gauvin had been expelled. 
Turmel has been charged with trespassing. About 50 people attended the 
meeting which was called last week after opposing factions of the 
party selected their own candidates to represent some ridings. But 
chaos erupted almost immediately with the pro-Turmel faction claiming 
the meeting was not valid. "It's unfortunate this has to happen, 
particularly to such a young party," said Green spokesman Greg Vezina, 
nominated to represent the Greens in Nepean Carleton. The party 
executive had earlier named John Dodson as its candidate without 
holding an election. Turmel, saying the nomination had not been 
democratic, called a meeting of the membership last week and elected a 
series of candidates for Ottawa area ridings. 
@NEWS = The executive refused to endorse those nominations and Sunday 
night's meeting was called to resolve the issue. Vezina said the 
executive was opposed to what it saw as Turmel's attempt to take over 
the party and use it to promote his economic theories. "If someone 
tried to take over any party, it would try to expel him. I think 
people are intelligent enough to realize that. We named a candidate in 
the first place to try to avoid this."
@NEWS = Turmel, who has been a member since February, denied he was 
trying to take over. "I'm fighting for what I think is right for this 
party. If signing up members and getting support means taking over the 
party, then you could say any candidate for any party is trying to 
take it over." He said as a result of the Sunday meeting, he plans to 
run as an independent candidate against the party's leader Trevor 
Hancock of Toronto. The Green slate chosen Sunday is made up of John 
Dodson in Ottawa-Carleton, Greg Vezina in Nepean-Carleton, Gord McLeod 
in Ottawa Centre, and Kevin Benson in Ottawa West. Turmel said at 
least one of his supporters will run as an independent candidate in 
each of those ridings to oppose the Greens. This slate will include 
his mother Therese, a former school teacher and translator, he said.
@PAPER = Le Droit, Carole Landry
@HEADLINE = Official Greens against independent Greens
@NEWS = To end a recent controversy, the official candidates are ... 
But the end to the controversy has not satisfied all the members. Some 
are going to run as independents to stress their dissatisfaction with 
the procedures followed. John Turmel will run against Green Party 
leader Hancock in Toronto, Marc Gauvin in Ottawa Centre, Serge Girard 
in Ottawa Vanier, Ray Turmel in Nepean Carleton and Mrs. Therese 
Turmel in Ottawa West. 
@NEWS = It all started when Trevor Hancock named John Dodson in Ottawa 
Centre after a meeting of the original members. A fraction of the 
members objected and decided to hold a "more democratic" meeting. At 
this one, Gordon McLeod was selected even though John Dodson had the 
approval of the national leader. 
@NEWS = On Wednesday, a third meeting took place where the members in 
attendance decided to invalidate all nominations and start anew. The 
next meeting did not take place without animosity and John Turmel and 
Marc Gauvin were expelled. Mr. Turmel explained that the decisions 
taken were not supported by the constitution. 
@NEWS = Greg Vezina added that the party had suffered because of the 
controversy "We are a party who tend towards consensus and we didn't 
think that some Greens would have had the intention of controlling the 
@PAPER = Ottawa Revue
@HEADLINE = A few hitches, just one arrest
@NEWS = The Green Party now has four candidates running in the Ottawa 
area. But the nomination meeting Sunday night went off with hitches 
and one arrest. John Turmel, a professional gambler and bank-basher 
who has run for office at all levels, was thrown out of the meeting 
and charged with trespassing . He will appear in court Wednesday. 
Turmel's brother Ray and supporter Marc Gauvin "attempted to disrupt 
the meeting" by bringing in a video camera, which party officials 
ordered them to remove, and by yelling "point of order" (Question of 
Privilege) repeatedly while party officials were trying to proceed 
with the nominations, according to one candidate. Turmel called the 
meeting "stacked" but was not available for comment.
@NEWS = Greg Vezina will run for the Greens in Nepean-Carleton. John 
Dodson has been moved over to run in Ottawa-Carleton. Last week, he 
was declared the candidate in Ottawa Centre but party officials 
conceded to charges Dodson was nominated unfairly. Gordon McLeod will 
take his place in Ottawa Centre and Kevin Benson will run for the 
Greens in Ottawa West. 
@PAPER = Ottawa Citizen Editorial, Russell Mills
@HEADLINE = Nightmares in technicolor
@NEWS = The Green Party, entering its first federal campaign in 
Canada, has had enough trouble establishing its credibility without 
being linked to John Turmel, who believes interest rates are the root 
of all evil. Turmel, whose devotion to Green party issues such as the 
environment and world peace has never figured prominently in his many 
dismally unsuccessful political campaigns, has been causing much 
mischief for the Greens of late. 
@NEWS = After the party executive appointed a candidate in Ottawa 
Centre without the formality of a nominating meeting, Turmel took it 
upon himself to call a meeting last week which chose Green party 
candidates in local ridings. Not surprising, the party executive was 
less than enchanted by this turn of events. It invalidated the Turmel 
selections and called a new meeting last week to pick the party's 
official candidates for area ridings. Turmel and a small band of 
followers managed to disrupt that meeting so badly that police were 
eventually called and trespass charges laid against him. 
@NEWS = This is not the sort of publicity that a fledgling party 
dreams of receiving during an election campaign. It's enough to give 
the Greens the blues -- or make them see red.
@PAPER = Ottawa Revue , Darlene MacDonald 
@HEADLINE = Turmel running again, without the Greens
@NEWS = John Turmel has one aim: to get justice from all those who act 
dictatorially. With that brush, the 33-year-old systems engineers 
leaves few institutions untouched. From the Bank of Canada to the 
Green Party, with which he has tried to associate himself, Turmel 
pulls out all the stops to achieve his goals. Unconcerned with his 
public notoriety, the man the call the gambler has an almost obsessive 
dedication to the oath he took as a graduate electrical engineer at 
Carleton university. "As an engineer, we take an oath of integrity. 
Being scientifically trained, we don't have any excuse if our system 
breaks down for a scientific reason," says Turmel. 
@NEWS = As the only self-proclaimed systems engineer in the country to 
have specialized in banking systems, which he later applied to the 
operation of his own casino, Turmel detected a flaw in the banking 
system -- that of the interest rate. For 5 years, Turmel has set out 
to single-handedly lobby for a reprogramming of the entire system. 
"All I need is to be prime minister for a day, even just chief 
engineer, then I could get into the Bank of Canada's central computer, 
re-program the system to operate on a pure service charge. That has 
been the thrust of Turmel's strategy throughout his nearly 100 motions 
before the courts, seven of which have reached the SCC, his 
affiliations with the Social Credit party and the fledgling Christian 
Credit party and his tireless campaign for the preservation of 
democracy. Turmel has run in 16 elections on all levels in the past 5 
@NEWS = Denying criticism he is a publicity seeker, Turmel spouts 
Biblical passages and feels strong identification with past religious 
leaders who have advocated a free market by the abolition of interest 
rates. Turmel has attached the name Greenbacks to his system modeled 
after Abraham Lincoln's Greenback system. I prophesy that when the 
electronic revolution gets fully implemented, this is the money 
program that will be used," Turmel adds, waving the computer disk that 
contains the Greenback program, that he will then have the last laugh. 
"A prophet is never recognized in his own land." 
@NEWS = The Greenback system operates on the idea that people pay 
their taxes by working for the state of city. So, in exchange for 
services rendered, the worker receives tradeable tax credit notes. The 
working model for the system is not operating on a local level in 
British Columbia. Some 1,000 Vancouver Island residents are 
supplementing their cash income with "Greendollars" under a bartering 
system called Local Exchange Trading System. 
@NEWS = But it this economic theory which has caused dissension 
between Turmel and the Ottawa chapter of the Green party. National 
chairman, Trevor Hancock, refused to endorse the candidacy of Turmel 
on the grounds that he is using the Green party to "push his own 
particular economic theories and that he did not fully support the 
principles of the party." Infuriated, Turmel is seeking to rid the 
party of the "totalitarian element" which he says exists among a small 
clique of the top Greens and prevents freedom of expression among the 
general membership. "If you want to push an idea such as my Greenbacks 
theory, you pick a party that most closely has your goals, join it and 
work to add your goals if they aren't there or further them if they 
are. I'm as Green as any of them. I've been at all the demonstrations. 
I was the guy with the umbrella full of holes at the acid rain 
@NEWS = By accusing him of not sharing their objectives, Turmel 
contends the "Core of the party" does not want to encourage members to 
push their own ideas rather they are to express Hancock's 
philosophies. For that reason, Turmel plans to run in Toronto riding 
of Beaches as an independent and defeat Hancock on his own territory. 
Turmel was responsible for calling the unofficial nomination meeting 
which followed the party faithful's appointment of John Dodson to 
represent Ottawa Centre. In the succeeding meeting in which the 
candidates for the Ottawa area were officially chosen, appeasing the 
faction of the party that believed the appointment of Dodson was 
undemocratic, Turmel was arrested on a charge of trespassing. 
Unwilling to let the incident pass, Turmel is waiting for the 
constitutional documentation Greg Vezina promised to produce to show 
why the first party meeting was invalidated. 
@NEWS = Turmel's most recent venture was a motion before the Federal 
Court of Canada to force the CRTC to adhere to the letter of its 
regulations and allow the leaders of every political party to take 
part in the leaders' debate. In particular, he referred to the section 
which says that free time political broadcasts must be made available 
on an equitable basis. Having failed in this attempt, Turmel has a 
couple of other strategies left to explore. 
@NEWS = For instance, Turmel suggests that if the Independents formed 
a coalition of 280 candidates, Max Keeping or anybody else couldn't 
keep us from a major debate. We will use any legal motions necessary 
to try and block debates going on without us. The second strategy 
which he guarantees will be "clogging the courts," is an attempt to 
block air time given to NDP leader Ed Broadbent. "If the Federal Court 
judge says it's unfair to the majors (the leading parties) for the 
minors to get equal time, then I want Ed Broadbent to get less time. 
After all, if you're going to be undemocratic, do it consistently, not 
just to some people." He adds with a laugh "I'm doing this as a chance 
to corner them into contradicting themselves." 
@PAPER = Ottawa Citizen Letter, Jim Poushinsky
@NEWS = As one of the two original organizers for the Ottawa Greens, I 
would like to point out that John Turmel is correct in stating that 
the Green party fails to operate democratically. Dr. Trevor Hancock 
wrote his name in as leader of the Greens when a 100 name petition was 
forwarded to register the federal political party. The subsequent 3 
day founding convention attended by 167 delegates representing 4500 
Greens across Canada refused to endorse Hancock as leader or 
spokesperson. Many of the Green candidates seeking office have good 
ideas and personal qualities despite their poor judgment in forming a 
politically expedient alliance with Hancock's unrepresentative regime. 
I hope we will all learn from our mistakes and get on with the 
greening of planet Earth once this election madness passes.
     JCT: So that's some of the true story about how some Ottawa Green 
Party members objected to my wishing to promote LETS politically and 
what they did about it. I think it shows some of the dirty politics 
that went on at the time and though it's true that many Greens still 
call me disruptive, I think I acted with integrity every step of the 
way. Even though I was finally convicted of trespassing.
     I could write a whole book about my treatment at their hands but 
I think the fact I was only fined $53 is indicative of the judge's 
opinion of the whole issue. 
     I'd also point out that I'd been persuaded by Jim Harris to 
rejoin the party in 1993 and was ready to pump a quarter million 
dollars I'd won in my Topaz gambling casino to promote LETS for the 
party during the 1997 federal election. Unfortunately, once again, the 
leader of the day, Chris Lea, arbitrarily decided he would not endorse 
my candidacy as a Green candidate and I therefore used that money to 
found the Abolitionist Party for that purpose. I'm pleased to note 
that while the Greens fielded 79 candidates, in only 3 weeks, I 
managed to field 80 candidates. Too bad because the 
Green Party could have fielded 160 candidates had they not shown an 
unreasonable prejudice against me. Since Green candidates rarely even 
mentioned LETS at public meetings, it allowed our candidates who were 
running in the same ridings as Greens to joke that what we were 
lauding LETS as an engine to power rockets, the Greens had it 
installed in their lawn mowers. 
     Of course, none of these criticisms apply in any way to the 
leadership of the Green Party of Canada today but the autocratic 
behavior of former leaders and small cliques of members was quite a 
shame to behold. 
Date: Tue Dec 29 10:34:36 1998
From: flanders@web.net ("john flanders")
Subject: The Evolution of the Toronto Dollar
To: econ-lets@mailbase.ac.uk hourslist-l@lightlink.com 
Several people have noted the word LETS is conspicuously absent from 
the Toronto dollar web-site. There are reasons, and I hope that 
briefly tracing the evolution of the Toronto Dollar project may be 
About a year ago, several people from LETS Toronto met with community
leaders and business people in the St Lawrence area of Toronto with 
the intention of setting up a local LETS as part of the dream of a 
multi-lets system. We immediately ran into difficulties. It was no 
secret that LETS Toronto was being torn apart by internal squabbles, 
and the business people wanted no part of it. LETS Toronto, the 
biggest system in Canada, had slumped to about 300 users from a peak 
of about 750. The Phoenix Foundation was brought in as trustees to 
manage the operation for a year, and now fortunately LETS Toronto is 
on the mend.  The LETS Toronto newsletters are published on their 
web-site - < http://www.web.net/~lets >  
Business people felt that the telephone reporting system used by LETS
Toronto was too cumbersome for small retail stores, and as a group, 
we felt strongly that business participation was vital. Both LETS 
Toronto and Vancouver LETS suffer from lack of business involvement. 
You can earn green dollars, but unless you have an insatiable 
appetite for massage, you are limited in where you can spend your 
earnings. So we turned to Paul Glover and the Ithaca Hour system - 
http://www.lightlink.com/ithacahours   They have managed to sustain a 
paper currency that appeals to both business people and community 
members. In Ithaca, 3500 people participate in the system, with 350 
businesses offering a range of useful services. For a while we tried 
to blend the Ithaca Hour system with LETS but decided, for the time 
being, to drop LETS altogether and develop a paper currency -- 
initially called the St Lawrence Buck, later changed to the Toronto 
Dollar. Several members of our $TD group continue to be involved with 
LETS Toronto, and last month we produced a joint benefit concert.  
The St Lawrence community liked the idea of a community currency but 
the merchants were concerned about getting stuck with large amounts 
Toronto Dollars.  We departed substantially from the Ithaca model 
when we started to talk about having a backed currency. We eventually 
settled on a scheme that would involve exchanging Canadian dollars 
for Toronto Dollar at par, with 90% of the exchange amount going into 
a Toronto Dollar Reserve Trust Fund and the remaining 10% being 
deposited in a Community Trust Fund. Participating merchants would be 
able to use their Toronto dollars at par with other merchants, 
charities etc, while having the option of  'cashing out' at 90 cents 
on the dollar.  The Community Trust Fund will be used to help create 
employment in the community.  
Toronto Dollar Inc is registered as a non-profit corporation that is 
run entirely by volunteers. We have 58 participating business, 
including 39 food vendors in the St Lawrence Market and 7 
restaurants, with more businesses signing on. We have formed 
partnerships with two community newspapers to carry advertisements 
from our participants.  We have contracted with Toronto's First Post 
Office to handle the distribution and accounting of the Toronto 
Dollar. The next phase of our work is to reach out to the smaller 
home-based businesses in the community.  
Several adjoining communities are exploring the idea of introducing 
the Toronto Dollar, but for the time being, we are regarding the 
Toronto Dollar as a pilot project limited to the St Lawrence 
Since the Toronto Dollar was launched by the mayor of Toronto three 
weeks ago, we are able to donate close to $1000 to Toronto's 
Out-of-the-Cold Program. We hope to do much more in the coming 
months. We have a fledgling Toronto Dollar web-site - 
< http://www.web.net/~tordoll >
The Toronto Dollar is a project of St Lawrence Works. In 1997, in 
spite of a referendum where 76% of Toronto's citizens voted against 
it, the Provincial Government of Ontario amalgamated 6 cities to form 
the new "megacity" of Toronto. St Lawrence Works grew out of this 
changing city. Whether you were for or against the amalgamation of 
Toronto, the fact remains that people and communities need a vehicle 
for their voices to be heard in the decisions that affect their 
lives. St Lawrence Works grew out of that need and intends to be a 
strong voice at the new Toronto Community Council. It is a coalition 
of community, business and cultural groups, a synergy of 
organizations that believe in the power of community.  The St 
Lawrence Works web-site is < http://www.web.net/~slworks >  
The Toronto Dollar is a work in progress and we welcome positive 
input. All the best for the new year, John Flanders


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