That’s it for the penny. Now, about those nickels… Globe and Mail Editorial (February 4, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Today is the day the Canadian penny begins to disappear from circulation. Good riddance, we say. Pennies made no economic sense, cost more to make than they were worth, and needlessly weighed down trouser pockets and cluttered coin dishes everywhere. One member of Parliament is now saying Canada should go even further and eliminate the nickel. It’s an interesting idea but it overlooks a larger truth: that in a few years from now, cash of any denomination will probably be a thing of the past for a large number of people.

Ottawa’s argument for pulling the penny out of circulation was that, over a period of years, it will save money at the Royal Canadian Mint, and that managing the penny is a burden for banks and businesses. The penny won’t be missed; it is a minor change in our currency, no pun intended.

Other countries have switched currencies altogether (think of the euro), or updated antiquated systems (think of the confusing shilling, crown and 240 pence to the pound in England before decimalization), or, worst of all, had to devalue their currencies (they still remember the “old franc” in France). The disappearance of the Canadian penny can hardly be called daring.

But where do we stop? Pat Martin, an NDP MP, already has announced that he will introduce a private member’s bill to eliminate the nickel and, necessarily, the quarter. Under his system, the only change we will carry in our pockets will be dimes, 20-cent and 50-cent pieces, as well as loonies, toonies and a new $5 coin that will need a nickname that rhymes with oonie.

For the rest of this editorial, please go to the Globe and Mail website:


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