There has been debate for many years on whether or not Canada should get rid of the penny. According to an article from CBC news called “A ‘penniless’ Canada?“, “more than two in five consumers surveyed (42 per cent) were in favour of withdrawing the penny from circulation, while 33 per cent wanted to keep the copper, according to the survey. The rest were uncommitted.” Those that wanted to get rid of the coin stated reasonable reasons, that “they wouldn’t have to carry as much change if the penny disappeared. They complained that the penny is inconvenient, lacks value and is too expensive.” Those that wanted to keep the copper stated utterly ridiculous reasons: “Those who opposed the penny’s death felt prices would increase as businesses “rounded up.” Other penny supporters said it holds sentimental value or they just plain liked the coin.” Huh? Now you know why the recent MMP referendum did not pass in Ontario…
Australia has already gotten rid of their penny and two-cent penny in 1990 and their currency has been worth about the same as ours for as long as I can remember. In 1867 the lowest denomination coin was the penny and how much was it worth back then? According to the Bank of Canada, the value of $0.01 in 1867 had the purchasing power of $0.27 in today’s dollars. So back then, they were getting by with the lowest denomination of coin being worth $0.27. This kind of makes sense, I mean what can you buy nowadays for less than a quarter? The only thing I can think of is 1 small piece of candy. Or a shopping card at some grocery stores. The cheapest pop from a vending machine that have seen is $0.35 at Safeway for the Safeway brand pop, but last time I checked that was gone and they were selling Pepsi products.
A more interesting article came out in July, which I first heard about on CBC radio. It says that according to an economic model called “D-Metric”, Canada should have gotten rid of the penny in 2005, around the time that an average day’s net pay in Canada exceeded $100/day. Apparently, “today’s purchasing power of the five-cent coin is equivalent to the purchasing power of the penny in 1972.” According to the article “A decision to ditch the penny would be up to the Finance Minister. The Finance Department says it examines coinage issues on a regular basis in conjunction with the Royal Canadian Mint.” So ditch it already!
It’s not that I really care that much about the penny. I almost never lay eyes on them or touch them, using debit for almost all my purchases and tossing all my lose change (if I have any) in an automatic change sorter at home. It’s just a bit embarrassing that we are so far behind on these simple things like pennies and electoral systems, and makes me annoyed that our politicians don’t do anything about it.
Most of the comments on this CBC article Save the Penny or Leave the Penny are for getting rid of the penny. Some made me laugh:
I say SAVE THE PENNY or else the next thing you know there will no more NICKEL, DIME, or QUARTER.
Prices WILL RISE because we here in Canada never get savings passed on to us. Instead of prices being rounded down, they will be rounded up!
I’m pretty sure that was a joke because it was signed “William Hung.” If you want to know how it really works, check out Swedish rounding.