John Turner

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John Turner

John Napier Wyndham Turner (born June 7, 1929 – September 18, 2020) was a retired Canadian politician. He was Prime Minister of Canada from 1984-06-30 to 1984-09-17.


  • Democracy does not happen by accident.
    • repeated comment, published by The Canadian Press, October 6, 2020. ([1]),([2])
  • I'm not just in this race so you will remember my name at some future date. I'm not here now for some next time. I am not bidding now for your consideration for some vague convention in 1984- perhaps when I've mellowed a bit. My time is now and now is no time for mellow men!
  • In any democracy, there is always a tug-of-war between policies to achieve equality and policies to promote excellence. I am certain that Canada can achieve both equality and excellence.
    • 1968 Liberal Party Leadership convention speech, April 5, 1968. ([4])
  • I think the Canadian people have a right to know: Why, when your primary objective was to get unfettered and secure access into the American Market we didn't get it. Why you didn't put clauses in to protect our social programs in this negotiation we'll have on the definition of subsidies where the heavy weight of the American Republic will be put in against us. Why did that not happen? Why also, did we get a situation where we surrendered our Energy policy to the United States, something which they'd been trying to achieve since 1956? Why did we abandon our farmers? Why did we open our Capital Markets so that a Canadian Bank can be bought up and we don't have reciprocal rights into the American Market at all? And why did you remove any ability to control the Canadian ownership of our businesses? These are questions that Canadians deserve to have an answer to, and we have not had an opportunity in six hours to deal with them in a way that would make you come out of your shell!
  • I think the issues happen to be so important for the future of Canada. (spoken over Brian Mulroney's objections) I happen to believe that you've sold us out...once any country yields its economic levers, once a country yields its investments, once a country yields its energy, once a country yields its agriculture, once a country opens itself to a subsidy war with the United States on terms of definition, then the political ability of this country to sustain the influence of the United States, to remain as an independent nation- that is lost forever!
    • Addressing Brian Mulroney and attacking the Free Trade agreement in the 1988 Federal Election debate, October 25, 1988. ([7])
  • In opposition, there's not much one can do. One doesn't have the carrot and one doesn't have the stick. One can't promote and one can't fire. And persuasion has its limits.
    • Explaining why he did not punish objectors to his Liberal Party leadership, published in the Toronto Star, June 19, 1990.

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