Tony Turner & His Life-Changing “Hootenanny” Hit

One of Ottawa finest singer-songwriter’s life and career were forever changed by his participation in Gil’s Hootenanny, after his song won the 2015 song-writing contest.

Image of Tony Turner

Tony Turner

Tony Turner’s winning composition about then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, “Harperman”, thrust him into a media spotlight that few could have anticipated. After officials got wind of a video of the upbeat song by Ottawa filmmaker Andrew Hall, the federal government suspended Tony from his job at Environment Canada. Much to Tony’s surprise, his suspension alarmed many Canadians and “Harperman” took on a life of its own. Millions of people viewed the video, and Tony became an unintentional, international public crusader for freedom of expression.

Tony’s song was exuberantly performed in over 35 communities across the country on September 17, 2015 during a Cross-Canada “Harperman” Sing-Along and two demonstrations on Parliament Hill. It was featured in a comedy segment on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. A Hamilton-based film company, Hamilton Seen, made a documentary film about Tony’s suspension to reflect on issues related to the muzzling of scientists, with a particular focus on Tony’s experience.

Tony’s talent is internationally recognized. He received a 2016 Spirit of Folk award from Folk Alliance International for “Harperman”. Another one of Tony’s celebrated songs, the poignant anthem “Circle of Song” is one of a handful of Canadian songs recently published in Rise Again, the 2015 sequel to Rise Up Singing, the popular folk music songbook.

The Ottawa music community is saddened to learn that Tony will be relocating to British Columbia this summer. So Gil’s Hootenanny has invited Tony to co-host the 2017 Hootenanny and perform a song or two as a tribute to his contribution to Canadian music.

It has been rumoured that Tony will perform a new song about President Trump… watch out Donald!!!!

For more information on Tony, visit:

The 2017 Hootenanny will take place on Monday, May 1st at 7:30pm in the Clarke Room at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo. Tickets for this all-ages event will be $10 per person (kids are free). Tickets are available online (, at the door, or they can be purchased at Metro Music, 695 Bank Street & Octopus Books, 16 Third Avenue (west of Bank).