Opinion

News Views: Ancient coin

If you didn’t know, the Canadian penny is being taken out of circulation on Monday.

Stores and banks will still accept them, but the latter will no longer issue them.

The federal government decided a year ago to phase out the 105-year-old penny, mainly because it took 1.6 cents to make every one-cent coin.

The Royal Canadian Mint stopped stamping pennies in May.

While sentiment has no value in the equation, it shouldn’t be discounted altogether.

A penny could once buy a stamp, back when the postal service was still a worthwhile service.

Children used to collect pennies, save them in piggy banks, use them to buy candy, or play games – table-top hockey or football. They spun them, flipped them, examined the printing dates in search of the oldest one.

Parents saved them with other coins in old pickle jars, rolling, then taking them all to the bank for bills to be used as discretionary spending on summer vacations.

Pennies were the object of fundraising drives, and wishing wells. They were thought to bring luck.

But no such notion will save the penny now.

Over the years, far too many were left in the trays of cars and trucks, or in kitchen containers.

A 2007 survey showed that only 37 per cent of Canadians used the copper-plated steel coins.

The mint will save $11 million a year by not making them.

One cent will remain the smallest unit for pricing goods and services, but bills will be rounded to the nearest nickel for those paying cash.

The federal government expects six billion pennies to be turned in over the next six years, as they are phased out, melted and the metal recycled.

As Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said, the penny  is a currency without any currency.

Discontinuing it just makes sense.

 

–  Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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