Calgary Herald

Good riddance to penny

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While you may not have offered us a penny for our thoughts, we’ll give it to you anyway. Getting rid of Canada’s biggest nuisance coin may create problems for entreprene­urs with machines that stamp The Lord’s Prayer on a penny, but we’re glad to see it go. The bothersome coin that nobody wants is abandoned in trays at checkout counters. Nobody stops to pick one up anymore. Rolling them up is a pain.

NDP MP Pat Martin, who has long advocated to have the penny abolished, nailed it: “Of the 30 billion pennies (in circulatio­n), I think half of them are under my bed in a big jar,” he said. “It was just one of those no-brainer slam dunks. It’s a place where we can save money.”

It costs 1.6 cents to produce each penny. The Royal Cana- dian Mint pumps out on average about 885 million pennies per year, but sometimes mints as many as 1.2 billion, as it did in 2006. And keeping those 30 billion pennies in circulatio­n costs the government about $130 million per year.

Canadian businesses will be asked to round prices up or down to the nearest nickel, based on the total cost of a transactio­n, as recommende­d by the Senate in 2010. (Consumers will, therefore, still be able to complain that they are being nickel-and-dimed to death, and the phrase penny pinching will remain in use for some time.) Credit card users, however, will still be required to pay to the cent.

The Harper government was right to do this. After all, a penny saved is a penny earned.

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