Born in Petit-Métis, Canada East, Turriff as a young man settled in Western Canada, first in Manitoba, where he established himself as a farmer, and subsequently in that part of the North-West Territories which corresponds to the modern province of Manitoba. After moving to the North-West Territories, he became a successful merchant. He did not run again for federal office until the Canadian federal election of 1904, when he succeeded in securing the seat for Assiniboia East.
He was subsequently re-elected in 1908, 1911, and 1917.
During the later years of World War I, Turriff sat as a Liberal-Unionist and was a reluctant supporter of the Unionist coalition government led by Conservative Robert Laird Borden. In recognition of his support, Turriff was appointed on 23 September 1918 to the Canadian Senate on Borden"s recommendation, and represented the senatorial division of Assiniboia, Manitoba as a Liberal until his death.