Brantford resident John Turmel has taken his longtime fight to change the Canadian banking system into his own hands.
After spending more than 30 years advocating for an interest-free banking system in Canada, Turmel says he has created Gold Nuggets coupons as “a temporary discount solution to help the poor.”
“A lack of money is at the root of all of our problems,” Turmel said. “The medium of exchange is necessary, but the banks (ruin) it by charging interest.”
Turmel holds the Guinness World Record for most elections contested, having run in 77 election campaigns at all levels of government since 1979. For each election he ran on a platform in support of alternative currencies.
He says Gold Nuggets are an interim fix for the payment of interest.
“While we are stuck in a system that malfunctions, I’m trying to fix the malfunction,” Turmel said. “In the meantime, we use backup, alternative currency to help poor people – which are Gold Nuggets.”
More than 50 local businesses accept Turmel’s Gold Nuggets for various discounts. A full list is available online at www.goldnuggetnetwork.com. The coupons can be purchased at Bob’s Tobacco on Dalhousie Street for 25 cents each.
“Gold Nuggets are purely in reaction to our poverty circumstances,” Turmel said. “It is like a local supply of poker chips, which stores may use to lure people in by offering discounts. As soon as the abolition of interest rates fixes money, we won’t need alternative currency anymore. The business owners giving people discounts are the heroes of this scheme.”
When Turmel ran for mayor of the City of Brantford in the 2010 municipal election, he campaigned using another form of alternative currency – Bus Bucks.
“I proposed paying kids to work for bus tickets,” Turmel said. “That is a perfect example of how a little piece of paper can mobilize youth to service. Bus Bucks are labour-based (alternative currency).
“For 34 years, I have wanted to run money like interest-free poker chips.”