Victor Schukov

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My 40 per cent of a nickel’s worth

I thought I would devote this week’s blurb to humankind’s biggest obsession: money.

This biblicly accused root of all evil is known by a thousand names, both collectively (eg. cabbage, greenback) and individually (eg. loonie, toonie, fin, ten-spot).

Who doesn’t like money? (Besides Buddha.) It’s why we constantly buy the gift that gives nothing: lottery tickets.

And there’s currently lots going on in Canada with respect to currency: We are about to say goodbye to our little brown friend, the penny, that pint-size coin that meant less and less as we grew older. I am going to miss the penny because it holds mostly childhood memories for me. I remember as a kid buying a mini-bag of Maple Leaf (ironically named) brand of chips for two cents. I remember selling soft drinks in Mount Royal Park for three-cents profit per bottle. It seemed like a lot of money when triplexes cost less than $10,000 in The Plateau.

Rounding things out to the nearest nickel seems to grind against the whole concept of the decimal system. How can you say a dollar is worth 100 cents if there are no more cents? I’m just saying.

Now our paper money is turning washing-machine proof. I’m not sure I like the new bills. They’re dull, slippery and screwy with holograms and transparencies. (I hear that if you stare long enough at the 20, you can see a space ship beyond the queen.) Okay, counterfeiters are supposed to be discouraged by the complexities of the new design. Yeah, right. If they can make a fake Rolex or a Mona Lisa, do you really believe that the cons can’t duplicate a plastic bill designed by Disney studios?

While I am on capitalism’s favourite topic, why is it that we rarely mint commemoratives on nickels? Our beaver’s fundament must be sore by now, sitting on that log for so long without so much as a brief dip in the lake. Why not give him/her a promotion? Put the pancake-tailed rodent on the quarter, replacing the moose, elk, gazelle or whatever that pronged beast is. Or what’s wrong with animals on both sides? (Oh yeah, then you couldn’t play heads or tails.)

On the toonie, I would like to see the forgotten marooned polar bear replaced by a Quebec anglo.

And where is the loonie celebrating the 100th anniversary of the CFL that we’ve heard so much about? It’s almost 2013 for gosh sakes. Were they all snatched up in Toronto?

Sprucing up our currency comes just in time for world recognition: As reported in The Gazette this past week, the Canadian dollar “may soon join the elite club of global reserve currencies,” neatly tucked it into the bread basket of U.S. dead presidents, British sterling, sun-setting yen, Germanized euro and the Swiss chocolate franc.

We should all be proud. Canada is certainly riding a wave of popularity, what with the recent announcement by Saputo that Jos. Louis and May West will soon displace Twinkie, Ding Dongs and Ho Ho’s as North America’s junk food of choice. (Go Vachon!)

Anyway, change is good as long as you can break a 100.

One comment

  1. Basically all the currencies of the world are experiencing a debasent of their currencies. Doing a research of debasements of the past and this is the worst debasment since King Henry VIII. It wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth I on into the reign of King George III where the British monetary system was being turned around. The United Kingdom didn’t have an actual sovereign ( £1 ) coin until the Great Recoinage of 1816 along with the standards for a gold and silver coinage were established. Copper coins issued in the 1820s came soon afterwards in the Great Recoinage of 1816. The copper coins were prone to a lot of wear and tear until 1860 when they were issued as bronze coins. Afterwards the Coinage Act of 1870 took all the peice meal legislation from 1816 through 1860 and formed a uniformed coinage system.

    Fast forward to today. Both Canada and here in the United States. It costs 2 cent to make a penny ( 1¢ ) coin, it takes 11 cents to make a nickel ( 5¢ ) coin. Where does it end? How much to manufacture a dime ( 10¢ ), quarter ( 25¢ ), half dollar ( 50¢ ), dollar coins ( $1 ) also known as in Canada as the loonie, or the $2 coin twonies?

    I have had people mention about digital money as well. Only have one problem with electronic money, digital money, or any transfer by electronic means. That could be knocked out by a bright object we all enjoy just 93 million miles / 150 million kilometres away called the sun. Québec should highly aware of solar flares especially in March 1989 when a solar flare knocked out the power in the Hydro Québec power grid. There have been several events before and afterwards as well. One might wanto to read about the Carrington Event of 1/2 September 1859. That would be a spaceweather Sandy.

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