CTV News | Federal Election 2019
John Turmel, known for losing in elections, is running for office for the 99th time
Published Sunday, September 15, 2019 10:00PM EDT
TORONTO -- The Canadian man who holds a world record for most elections contested and lost is throwing his hat in the race again – for the 99th time.
With the odds stacked against him, John Turmel is running in the riding of Brantford-Brant, Ont., in the upcoming federal election. The 68-year-old has participated in municipal, provincial and federal elections since 1979.
“I used to have a sign that said vote John Turmel for MP, MPP or mayor and I used it everywhere,” he told CTV News.
Turmel hasn’t let 97 loses stop him, adding that winning “is not the point.”
“It’s my engineering duty,” he said. Turmel was nicknamed “The Engineer” after earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carleton University in the 1970s. “We can’t let the nuts get loose.”
For a loser, Turmel proudly hangs the Guinness World Records certificate in his home office, along with newspaper clippings about attempts at running for office.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records website, the Ontario resident holds records for most elections contested – 90 – and lost – 89. He’s contested eight more elections since that count was taken in late 2016.
“No one is every going to break this record ever in history,” he said. “My name is safe. This is a record for persistence.”
The only time he wasn’t defeated was in 2008, when his bid for a Guelph federal byelection victory or loss was cut short by a general election.
Turmel runs on a platform of legalizing gambling, drugs, sex and prostitution. He thinks the banking system is broken and wants to abolish interest rates, according to his website.
Turmel has undoubtedly gained fame for his antics – from being kicked out of a federal byelection debate to promoting 9/11 conspiracy theories and launching a libel lawsuit against two cast members of the reality TV show “Dragon’s Den” – it’s difficult for the media to ignore his big personality.
“What do you expect? After a wild 40-year career of doing the kind of weird stuff I do, getting arrested almost every election, and still doing it, you cannot believe the headlines,” he told CTV News. “It’s been fun.”
With files from CTV News’ John Vennavally-Rao