Studio 2 Program
TV Ontario, Nov. 12, 1997

     TVO Director Chris Taylor followed me around one day and finished
up on the day after the election. This is his show:

Hostess: Not many politicians would boast about a record with 44
elections and no wins. Except John Turmel. He's run against opponents
such as Brian Mulroney and Sheila Copps and though he's never won a
seat, he's won a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for
contesting more elections than anyone else on the planet. But he does
win... at the gambling tables... financing his campaigns with Poker
and Blackjack winnings. This month, he was in the news again running
for the Regional Chair of Ottawa Carleton. We've followed Turmel for
his 44th kick at the electoral can.

     JCT: The scene opens at one of my retirement home accordion
concerts playing the Clarinet Polka. Then, with the music toned down:

Don Francis (Manager): You're at the Thorncliffe Place Retirement Home
which is in West end Ottawa. John has been a guest accordion player
maybe a dozen times or more. As a personality, I've known him for a
long time in that my father ran for politics, was a member of
Parliament locally and the first time I saw John was in the early
1980s that he ran as a candidate in one of the campaigns. I think he
likes to be center of attention. Running in the political campaigns
gives him that to a certain degree in that he will have the podium and
everybody's listening.

     JCT: Then back to end of the polka with a flourish. While he was
speaking, the showed a little old ladies in the audience and one who
stood up and danced around her chair.
     The next scene is at a candidate debate with Bob Chiarelli and
Peter Clark.

Turmel: Wherever there was a federal election or byelection, I was
there. I ran against Brian Mulroney in Nova Scotia way back in 1983.
I've run down in Toronto, London, Kitchener, all over. Wherever there
are byelections, I go. And in the Anthology of Great Canadian
Characters, I'm one of them and they quote a thing at the end that
says: "There are four major powers in Canadian politics present at all
elections. The Liberal, the Conservative, the NDP and John Turmel. Now
sometimes you might get a Green, a Commie or a Marxist Leninist but
you could always count on the Big Four and I was one of them.

     JCT: They cut in a scene where I was passing out literature
before the debate asking "do you want one. Explains how the software

Turmel: Now there's Peter Clark, Bob Chiarelli and myself running for
Chairman of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. It's my 44th
race and I'm always pushing the same program: trying to Abolish
Interest Rates. And I want to use the LETS software to do that. LETS
stands for Local Employment Trading System, a System for Trading
Employment Locally and it allows unemployed people to barter their
time back and forth doing things for each other and they use their own
personal currencies.

Bob Chiarelli: We have a long history together actually. In 1979, I
was campaign manager in the federal election for Lloyd Francis who
became speaker ultimately in Ottawa West. And that was John Turmel's
first election campaign. And we got to know each other at that point.
Back then his agenda was to legalize gambling and it was for about
eight or ten elections then he gradually matured into other issues
such his LETS program that he talks about. So he's been a colorful
personality around Ottawa.

     JCT: Now they use one of the funnier lines from my evening's

Turmel speech: When the media have a debate and they don't include me,
they end up saying: Gee, "there was nothing approaching a compelling
verbal duel. I certainly doesn't make for great television." Well if
you cut your most radical character off the debate, you deserve a
boring show.

     JCT: After the audience laughter died down, cut back to Bob:

Chiarelli: I think he enjoys it. I think he enjoys entertaining and
most of the people who attend the all-candidates debates, for example,
are quite entertained. I really think he believes in the cause that
he's talking about. He's well-researched on it. He just puts his cause
forward. He does it with humor and panache.

Turmel speech: I'll pay my tax for army and police to handle strife;
I'll pay my tax for doctors, nurses who protect my life;
I'll pay my tax for all engaged repairing road and sewer;
I'll pay my tax for social servants helping out the poor;
I'll even pay my tax for bureaucrats with no regret;
But I object to paying tax for interest on debt.

Chiarelli: I think he's got a different agenda than a lot of people
but he's a very credible individual, he's an upstanding citizen, other
than some of his little gambling pursuits, I guess, but he's well
respected and well-liked in the area.

     JCT: Scene switches to the Cyberccino Cafe where Tom Kennedy has
the LETS Assist software available for demonstrations:

Therese Turmel: My name is Theresa Turmel, John Turmel's mother. I
could start by saying that he was never like everybody else when he
was young. Okay? And it used to bother me a lot when I would see him
playing cards and playing solitaire and it turns out he's making his
living out of that. So what can I say. I can't say I don't agree. And
who keeps mother going with cars and sending her south and.. so, it
was good that I didn't stop him from doing what he wanted to do... He
wanted to go to Vegas and I just had a little house, was making
payments, and everything, I was working though, working as translator,
so anyway, I didn't have the money. He said "well, would you go make a
loan?" Well, I'll go and try. So I got a three thousand dollar loan
and he went to Vegas and he came back and he had sixteen hundred
dollars more than when he left. So that was fine. I never regretted
it. Why should I?

     JCT: Interview at the Diamond Casino playing at a Blackjack

Turmel: So that was my first junket to Las Vegas back in 1974 and you
needed three thousand dollars up front in those days. I didn't have
three thousand bucks and I knew I could beat Vegas because I'd learned
how to count the cards. So I talked my mother into going to a bank and
making a loan to send me to gamble in Vegas. And she did. How many
mothers do you know would do that?

     {JCT: Show some Blackjack playing at the table.

Turmel: I'm just banned from playing Blackjack in Vegas, not Poker.
Poker, the house don't care if you win because they just take a rake-
off out of your winnings. It's not like you're beating them. If you
beat them at Blackjack, then they'll change their mind. They don't
like that.

     JCT: More blackjack play at the table then switch to Pauline
sitting with mom at Cyberccino Cafe.

Pauline Morrissette: I'm Pauline Morrissette, John Turmel's associate,
partner, ally, whatever, for 13 years.
I remember taking a course one time and I sat there and this gentleman
sat beside me and said: "I can't imagine what life with John Turmel
would be like." I said: "Well, it's very similar to a roller-coaster.
The highs are high, the lows are low," and I said "you kind of feel
nauseated all the time." [chuckle] Anyway, God forbid if he ever won
an election.

     JCT: Scene of Bob Chiarelli's workers chanting on the night of
his victory. Then me watching the returns which say:

Announcer: Bob Chiarelli, former MPP, will be the new man in charge of
Regional Government in Ottawa-Carleton.

     JCT: Cut to me reading out of the morning newspaper:

Turmel: Regional Chair Peter Clark lost his job yesterday to Bob
Chiarelli by a margin that was so small that the votes cast for
perennial fringe candidate John Turmel would have covered the spread.
Bob Chiarelli, 81,926. Peter Clark 79,128 and John Turmel, 4,126. Two
and a half percent. They only predicted in the poll that I'd get one.
Well, I went over the Peter's party for a couple of hours. Then Bob's
party for a couple of hours and I was looking around and with Bob,
there were 8 different people in the room who had beaten me before.
Three federal MPs, Mac Harb, Lloyd Francis from my first election in
'79, Marlene Catterall. Two mayors who had beaten me, Jim Durrell and
Ben Franklin, Ottawa and Nepean, and two provincial MPPs, Richard
Patten and Alex Cullen, and now our new regional chair up there. I
said: "Hey they could have a convention of guys who beat Turmel."

     JCT: Back at the Diamond Blackjack table,

Turmel: Well, I don't foresee any federal elections for 4 years,
provincials for 2 years, municipal for three. So it looks like I've
got 2 years off except for byelections. And after forty four
elections, I could use a little bit of a break. I'm going to take
off.. I'm going down to Atlantic City to play Poker for a month or so.
Then off to Biloxi Mississippi to play Poker there for a month or so.
Then probably off for a couple of months to Australia. So it looks
like next year's going to be pretty busy on the international front.
I figure I'll be more famous than Einstein. Do you think I don't know
where I fit in the scheme of things? Let them laugh. John The Engineer
knows where he's going to end up in the history books."

     JCT: Scene ends with the ending of "Good night ladies" on my accordion.

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