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|Written by Kendall R. Giberson|
|Tuesday, 12 May 2009 19:00|
The topic of money has been at the forefront of the news lately with the worldwide financial crisis. Sooner rather than later, however, Canadians will be faced with another kind of financial crisis; when the reign of Queen Elizabeth II ends, the Royal Canadian Mint will have to take a look at making some changes as far as whose likeness will appear on our currency. Since 1953, the Queen’s likeness has appeared on all of our coins, the discontinued $1 and $2 bills, as well as the $20 bill. The importance of the British monarchy in Canada has dwindled a bit, so it would be of great symbolic importance to honour Canadians in this way in the future. All of our Canadian money has the likenesses of people of political significance featured on the faces, namely the Queen and four Prime Ministers. Perhaps it would be time to depart from that practice.
Who Should Not be on Our Money!
1.Entertainers – These people’s images are everywhere as it is, and their fame is fleeting as singers and actors rarely have a lengthy run of popularity. Perhaps the mint could issue a special series honouring Canadian children’s entertainers such as Ernie “Mr. Dressup” Coombs, Fred Penner and Sharon, Lois and Bram. But just don’t put Celine Dion on our money.
2. Regional Figures – Forget regional representation; only nationally significant people ought to be featured on our currency. People like Rene Levesque, Louis Riel, Lucien Bouchard, Joey Smallwood and Ralph Klein may be heroic figures in some regions, but not really representative of the nation as a whole.
3. Industrialists – Billionaires may have a great impact on the economy of the country, as their enterprises create a livelihood that millions of Canadians depend upon. However, is greed all that good? They have enough money; do we really need people such as Ken Thomson, Timothy Eaton, Ted Rogers or Frank Stronach staring at us, almost in a mocking fashion, from the surface of a $100 bill?
4. Fictional Canadians – If we put someone such as Anne of Green Gables or Dudley Do-Rite on our money, how would our currency be taken seriously on the global market?
5. Non-Citizens – We should only have people who were actually Canadian citizens on our money. That means no Jacques Cartier, no Samuel de Champlain, no Laura Secord, and no Alexander Graham Bell (who spent a minimal amount of time in Canada and whose citizenship is also claimed by the United States and Great Britain).
Who Will be on Our Money
1. Charles, Prince of Wales – Barring a succession crisis when the Queen passes or abdicates, he will become King Charles III, and his likeness will appear on all sorts of currency around the world.
2. Prince William of
3. Pierre Elliot Trudeau – If and when the British monarch loses a place on Canadian money, this former Prime Minister is the odds-on favourite for first dibs.
4. Lester Bowles Pearson – As time goes on, history becomes much kinder to this former Prime Minister, noting his role in establishing the United Nations Peacekeeping forces throughout the world.
5. Robert Baldwin and Louis Lafontaine – These two basically created the country, or at least laid the foundation and the framework for Sir John A. Macdonald and the Fathers of Confederation to put the finishing touches on the project and take all the credit.
Who Should Be on Our Money
1. Terry Fox – A regular Canadian who overcame several obstacles to make his mark in history. He should be featured to represent Canadian courage and perseverance, plain and simple.
2. Tommy Douglas – Voted “The Greatest Canadian” by CBC viewers in 2004, he definitely had an impact on Canadian identity by championing the idea of universal heath care.
3. Sir Frederick Banting – His impact on the world is unquestioned as the developer of the use of insulin to treat diabetes. He should be included to honour Canadian contributions to science.
4. Joseph-Armand Bombardier –Since Alexander Graham Bell has been excluded from this list (sorry,
5. Wayne Gretzky – To represent Canadian achievements in sport, who better to represent
So, what does this analysis conclude? Given the political nature of such an exercise, these conclusions are bound to spur much debate. At any rate, here is what I have come up with once the Queen’s reign ends:
One Cent Piece – King Charles III – Takes his mother’s place on the lowest denomination. As per ages-old tradition, he will be facing the left, as the succeeding British monarchs have alternated the direction of their profiles on coins for hundreds of years.
Five Cent Piece – Lester Pearson – Takes his place on the back of the beaver.
Ten Cent Piece – Pierre Trudeau – Forget the fact that this is physically the smallest coin. This is a great honour, other than having a mountain named after you.
Twenty-Five Cent Piece – Sir Frederick Banting – When you are loading up the candy machine, you have a reminder of what is in store for you on the back of the quarter.
Fifty Cent Piece – Most of us have forgotten that these exist. So stamp up a few million of these and put William Lyon Mackenzie King on the back so we can remember who guided Canada through World War II.
One Dollar Coin – On the all-popular loonie, why not honour the all-popular Tommy Douglas?
Two Dollar Coin – Terry Fox. Definitely should be a profile image, as an image of him in mid-stride might make it look like he is running from the polar bears on the front.
Five Dollar Bill – Since the back of the bill honours hockey, Gretzky’s mug on the front makes perfect sense.
Ten Dollar Bill – No change. Leave Sir John A. right where he is.
Twenty Dollar Bill – Sir Wilfrid Laurier. This is a better place for him, so getting bumped from the fiver is more like a promotion.
Fifty Dollar Bill – Picture a redesigned fifty, with Bombardier on the front, and images of a snowmobile and B-12 halftrack on the back.
Hundred Dollar Bill – The highest denomination deserves the highest honour. Hence, the images of Baldwin and Lafontaine, or an image of their statue on Parliament Hill should grace the front of this bill.
So there you have it, my choices of the people to grace our currency. Yes, the monarch gets only one denomination, but that is due to the dwindling significance of the royals to Canada. Robert Borden gets permanently demoted, as a lot of time has passed and several others are more deserving of this honour. I also realize that no women are represented, but when you think of it, women have appeared in 8 of these 12 denominations for 57 years, so the guys need their time as well!
Let the debate begin.