NELSON: Conservative decision on pennies in non-cents
FACE TO FACE: Is the elimination of the penny a good idea for Canada?
The penny will soon be gone from Canadian change purses and pockets, and, I suspect, from our lexicon.
In a typical, penny-pinching move, the recent Tory federal budget has dumped the lint-laden copper.
We’ve resisted getting rid of it many times but the idea kept coming back, like a bad penny.
But as my colleague has incisively established, it costs Canada a pretty penny to produce the useless currency — more than it’s worth — so we are losing our cents because we all know that a penny saved is a penny earned (at least until now).
If the Conservatives have their way, none of us will have two pennies to rub together. Before that happens, however, I would like to put in my two cents’ worth.
There’s more to the penny than dollars and cents — er, nickels — and I’m afraid this policy might be penny wise and pound foolish.
We need a useless coin to disrespect so that we can respect larger denominations.
We need a useless coin to toss in wishing wells and fountains; to collect in glass jars when we get home; to leave in unwanted piles on the mantle; or to find, pick up and have good luck all day.
We need useless coins for the “take a penny, leave a penny” trays in gas stations and corner stores (I’m not leaving a nickel).
With the demise of the penny, I assume the nickel will take up the mantle of useless Canadian coin. But how long will that last?
If, as they tend to be, the Conservatives are in for a penny in for a pound with this policy, we’ll no sooner have changed Penny Lane to Nickel Lane when we’ll stop production of the five-cent piece, beaver and all.
In the interim, it’s raining “Nickels from Heaven” is a considerably more hazardous prospect than is the current currency of precipitation (and five times as expensive, damn tax-and-spend Conservatives).
And how can dewy-eyed lovers properly express themselves by gazing into each other’s eyes and saying “A nickel for your thoughts.”
It’s no good. The penny is too useful to cavalierly toss aside.
But, then, I knew that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government would eventually make us all penniless.
Face to Face columnist Jim Nelson is a retired Tri-City teacher and principal who lives in Port Moody. He has contributed a number of columns on education-related issues to The Tri-City News.