I have heard a lot of why not, what does it matter if the government goes ahead with its plans to get rid of the penny? What will change for Canada and Canadians? Most people throw them in jars and never use them, so why not save the money minting them? I am here to say that some people can not afford to lose the full value of their dollar, because they need every penny to get by.
The Canadian government has made everything an economical issue, much in the same way the USA has made everything a matter of national defense after 9/11 whether it is or not. I am here to say that it does matter and not always in ways that make the news, but to poor people it matters in their every day struggle to put food on their plates, raise their families, get medical treatment, educate their children and even take rapid transit.(metro or bus)
You might be asking what is the big deal with rapid transit? Most people drive cars to work, school etc, well you would be wrong, because the back bone of this country, the people who do the grunt work do not. The government invested great amounts of money in advertising programs to convince all Canadians to take rapid transit to work as a way to help save the amount green house gas emissions destroying our ozone and help solve the parking problem in cities and the traffic congestion problem, that cripples the entrances and exits to cities everyday.
Remember the law making of the penny obsolete well imagine this if you will. An employee of mine comes to work on the metro everyday and returns home the same way. He is one of the many Canadians that is finding out that every penny counts. Now the last time I went to the store they were still accepting pennies, using them to make change and so I was shocked to hear that my employee an honest hard-working father and husband was nearly arrested for trying to use five pennies out of three dollars to get home by metro. The three dollars, the way he had it was all he had on him and he lives ten miles from the city of Montreal on the south shore of the island and unless he walks the metro is his only way home. His story goes like this:
Jeff showed up for work this morning ready to work, because like in all things the moving industry has suffered greatly and there is just very little work. Jeff has not had steady employment for a long time, almost three years, but he is one of those people who would rather work than depend on the government and si fir him he is one of the many Canadians who find tha every penny counts. After working a ten-hour day Jeff is tired and just wants to get home to his family, take a hot shower, eat and get some rest, but this is not going to happen if the guy in the ticket wicket has his way.
Jeff goes into Angrignon metro station presents himself at the ticket booth and gives the cashier $3.00 the price of a metro ticket, but the man in the booth will not give him a ticket to enter the metro, because the $3.00 contains five pennies and the metro without fore warning is no longer accepting pennies. Jeff can not believe what he is hearing and ask the guy in the booth if he is kidding and the guy asks him to get out-of-the-way. All Jeff wants to do is go home and he has the price of the fare in legal Canadian tender, so why is he being held up?
Jeff explains that this is all that he has, then he pleads, then he gets angry and this is when the nut in the ticket booth threatens to call security if he does not leave. Luckily for Jeff there is a senior citizen standing behind him that can’t believe what is going on and offers to give Jeff a nickel for the five pennies and he was finally allowed to get on the metro and go home to his family, but what if the lady was not there?
This is not just a story about the penny going out of existence in Canada, it is about what happens when we think that nothing that we do has consequences. The loss of the penny to some of us represents a loss that we can not afford. Some of us need the whole dollar to get by, to survive. It is also a story of what happens when a government does not involve the provinces and other Canadians in the process. Since the Canadian penny is still in use by what right did the metro cashier threaten to have him arrested? The loss of the penny means that we Canadians automatically pay more for everything at a time when thousands of people are losing their jobs, those who are not losing their jobs are forced to take pay cuts and the prices for everything was already sky rocketing out of control. The loss of the penny was a Harper government, money grab that as usual will be felt by the most fragile of Canadians and cause them once again to suffer just a little more. In the face of all this everyone it seems will implement the phasing out of the use of the penny as they see fit, when they see fit and people like Jeff, will be left not being able to get home because all they have in their pocket at the time is $2.95 cents in and five cents in pennies and a metro cashier refuses to take the pennies. Now |Jeff will not be the only person to suffer, but like most of the things that happen to the poor you will no longer see it covered in the news, because who cares about a penny; who cares about the poor, after all it is just a penny!
- Canada Ditches the Penny (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Your Thoughts Will Soon Be Worth A Nickel: No More Pennies (4mothers1blog.wordpress.com)