Currency changes all the time, we’ve just been slow to give up on the decimal place that inflation took from us long ago.
The Canadian (and American) penny has become 7 times less powerful of a monetary instrument since 1956. It’s lost more than 95% of its power since being used 100 years ago. There are many people who favour using the penny forever, but unless we get hyper-deflation, it’s likely that these same people will still want pennies until vendors refuse to take or give them and the government won’t stop the penny revolt.
That revolt is almost here, because the penny is costing our economy millions of dollars a year in production, materials, shipping, and labour, and what do we have to show for it? About 1 in 4 people are as likely to throw pennies in the garbage, as they are likely to eat food today by using pennies. 1 in 2 people know they could live without pennies, by rounding to the nearest nickel (which by the way could also stand to be eliminated at the same time, since it too has lost as much spending power as the penny since the 1950s.
Basically tradition has hobbled our good sense, and we’re left using coins that buy nothing individually on their own, other than groans from those given them as change. Charities may cry at the loss of insignificant coins which people happily chuck into their coffers, but dimes and quarters add up faster, and would become the new de facto donation instead of coins that weigh more than dimes and are up to 10 times less valuable. We could also bring the 50 cent coin into circulation, redesigning it so it’s smaller than the quarter, but thicker.
However, true to their status-quo roots, the Conservatives plan to ignore good sense and logic, and preserve the waste.
UPDATE: …until today, March 29, 2012 when the Conservatives tabled a budget that eliminates the penny from circulation. Cue the panic. But remember the top story of the day is Election Fraud, don’t let the CPC distract you through nickel and diming (and making us penniless).