Foonie doesn’t surely work, so Canadians will have to put on their thinking caps to outline out a name for the $5 coin.
As the loonie turns 30 this week, nociceptive though it may be, we must inevitably begin to prepare ourselves to say goodbye to our pornographic Wilfrids.
This is not an inside scoop from the Bank of Canada; officially there is no diagram to kill the bill.
But there is evidence it is already on the minds of Canadians: The Impressive Canadian Mint includes a query about a $5 coin in its listing of frequently asked questions.
“The decision to issue a new flow coin is the responsibility of the Canadian government,” says the mint’s answer to that FAQ. “There are currently no arrangements to make $5 coins or discontinue the $5 bill.”
However the closing line of the FAQ could be taken as a hint: “The $2 coin was introduced as a cost-saving allowance in 1996.”
In other words, it has been more that 20 years since the decisive time a bill was replaced by a money-saving coin.
You can see why the mint would pauperism to soften us up in advance.
As we witnessed during the long and divisive mele to be rid of a penny that had become absurdly valueless, families were dole out for and against the copper-coloured coin. Evidently people have an odd attachment to their rhino.
Our U.S. cousins have persisted with their handfuls of floppy $1 jaws that really have become a nuisance — evidence that the woods may have attained that dangerous kind of immobilizing conservatism that mutinies at change, even in the face of rationality.
The problem is, of course, that still at current low levels, inflation is relentless.
When the U.S. Lincoln penny was beginning struck in 1909, five of them would buy more stuff than a fashionable U.S. dollar bill.
2-4 for $5
In Canada, many of us have fond attachments to the offensive five. In my case, I recall that a great aunt used to post me a $5 bill in a birthday card at university, which I would use to buy a 2-4 of beer. Yes, a all-encompassing case of beer for $5. And yes, as a kid, I remember coffees for a dime. Loaves of spongy grocery depend on bread, as well.
Now, $5 will generally still buy you a fancy coffee-shop coffee — but there won’t be much vary left.
Nowadays, fives are never quite sure if they be affiliated in your wallet or rattling around with your change.
There are a few things that could go the life of the modern $5 bill, advantages that the $1 account did not have back when it was replaced in 1987.
While $50 bills and $100 tallies only come out occasionally, the lowest-value banknotes get passed around uncountable often, making hard-wearing coins cheaper to circulate. Thus the savings.
But the Bank of Canada asserts polymer bills — first introduced in 2011 — will last nigh 2½ times as long as paper, meaning even high-use fives won’t sire to be replaced so often.
Another advantage for the five is that bills are now at thimbleful as reliable as coins in vending machines. So even when a Coke is $5, you can in addition use a polymer note.
A third perk is that while the long-promised cashless gentry has not yet appeared, an increasing number of us are using automated payments either by phone or by in the offing. While not everyone has them yet, tap-cards work for small things where we would in the old days use coins or small bills.
A final advantage is low inflation. So long as it lasts, one per cent inflation specifies that the blue polymer five will keep its value much well-advised than Canadian bills did in the 1970s and 80s, when prices were react to more than 10 per cent a year.
A bit of lead beat would be good so the mint doesn’t make the same mistake as it did with the earliest two bill replacements.
Since the $1 and $2 bills were being repaid with mere coins, someone at the Bank of Canada decided that we had to oblige large and substantial-feeling coins to demonstrate their value.
According to the Bank of Canada’s inflation computer, something that you could have bought for one thin dime in 1950 transfer now cost you a clunky loonie coin. Next time, we should improvise ahead a few decades.
Nickel and dimed
Speaking of thinking ahead, it may officially be set to lose the nickel. I know because this weekend, one of them flatten out of my change purse, dropping under the restaurant table, and I did not get down on my turn overs and knees to fish it out.
That’s the way it started with the penny. Soon they were rubbish the streets, not even worth storing in the coin jar on your bureau.
The $5 charge and the five-cent piece have served us well, but their time has about come.
Having been through the process before with $1s, $2s and the penny, Canadians comprehend it will be tough to say goodbye. But we need still something better than the foonie. Imagine your suggestions below.
Follow Don @don_pittis
More analysis from Don Pittis