Issues: Penniless


by   Raymond Alexander Kukkee

The Ubiquitous Canadian Penny

–                                                    The Ubiquitous Canadian Penny- Since 1858

Canadians are penniless.  The Government of Canada has declared that Canadians, in  2013 and beyond, should all be legally penniless.  Imagine that.

The Canadian penny is no more.  The last penny was officially minted in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on March 04, 2012.  Conservative Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was on hand, and displayed the “last penny” with white-gloved hands, smiling at Canadians as if he did us a favor.  Let’s see….

Sure, there are billions of them in existence, plastic slotted teddy-bears and piggy-banks full of them, every kid has a handful somewhere.  No longer. They cost 1.6 cents to make,  since they are 94 %steel, 1.5 % Nickel, and only 4.5 % copper-plating –or previously,  copper-plated zinc. No longer do ‘coppers’ exist, after being produced first in 1858. We are officially penniless.


Every Canadian's PiggyBank

–                                                    Every Canadian’s Piggy Bank

The cost to produce pennies  is 1.6 cents each, worth repeating.  Keep that in mind, it adds up to about $5 million dollars a year.  Let’s feel good and save $5million for Canadians. Yep. 

No longer will they be produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg, but the ‘official’  Mint gift shop sells penny ‘cufflinks’ now for $44.95 a pair.  How lovely. Rolls of ‘collector pennies’ for outrageous prices.  Doesn’t that just about figure? ….but  I digress...that’s my  two cent’s worth.

Meantime, out in the REAL world of shoppers, big money and profit, as a matter of being fair to consumers, and now being tossed like a penny into a wish-pond,  –in the world of retail without pennies,  retailers are “supposed to round down” to the nearest nickel or dime.   For example,  something costing $0.92 should be ’rounded down’ to $0.90   and  the same item costing $0.93 should be ’rounded up’ to  $0.95.      Fair enough in principle. Fair enough in the government’s Alice in Wonderland devious Cheshire cat world.

  Let’s see how it works out in the real world. 

Off to McDonald’s I  go, now being a penniless Canadian.    The medium coffee with double cream  is innocently priced at $1.42, which  should be “rounded down” to $1.40, – but because there is also 7 cents tax on coffee, the price totals ….yep….. $1.49.

Time for the government  ripoff   “ roundup”.

I shelled out $1.50.  A buck and two quarters…………..  “Ching-ching”  goes the cash-register,  since retailers are no longer giving customers pennies back, either-— McDonald’s gets richer, while I get poorer.

How convenient.  McDonald’s  gets the extra penny by ’rounding up’,  even though their price has been set to look as though it should be rounded down, but no.   Appearance is everything, so it seems. Let’s play “corporation blame the government.”   Howls of derision and raucous laughter.

The  use of the  addition of the V.A.T. (value added tax, i.e. sales tax)  to manipulate prices conveniently offers big business yet another way to  look innocent while they screw and gouge the consumer  ‘do business and make profit’.  

 Bottom line, in our exceptionally simple example,  when McDonald’s sells 5,000,000 cups of coffee,  they will have collected an additional $50,000.00 — in windfall profit.

For the record, I have not seen any purchases  “rounded down” yet.

Clearly, with the blessing of the ‘government’, and innocently, without appearing to do so, Corporate Canada  can now  increase prices once again, or even roll back a penny or two to look good — but with manipulation and careful consideration of sales tax structures can once more, come out with increased profit, taking advantage of penniless Canadians.

Does anyone with a brain believe any profitable, powerful business is going to ’round down’ their prices to ensure Canadians are not paying more?  Did the ‘government’ legislate that prices should now be set to the nearest nickel or dime, as a matter of fairness?   Dream on.  Are you kidding? No. They left it up to big business so it can be manipulated. 

How lovely,  No wonder Canadians are penniless.

In spite of the Conservative government ‘ tooting their horns, boasting they are ‘saving Canadians’  $5,000,000.00 a year by NOT minting any more  one-cent  ‘coppers’, they have removed many, many  more millions of dollars from the pockets of consumers now and in years to come— and happily handed it to their friends,  Corporate North America. 

And yes, it is most likely the USA will follow suit and do the same. . The good old Yankee penny will undoubtedly follow the demise of the Canadian penny into oblivion  as Big government and Corporate North America conspire, observing  a fabulous windfall opportunity for profit  in action when they see it.

One thing is clear, pennies will no longer be in children’s piggybanks as they are siphoned into Corporate Coffers –one cent at a time.


Is that Incoming I hear?



photo credits :   ©2013 wlk photography




About Raymond Alexander Kukkee

A published author and freelance writing professional, Raymond lives and writes in Northwestern Ontario.
This entry was posted in Economic issues, Major Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Issues: Penniless

  1. along my observational career, i’ ve seen too many children bust their piggies to wipe out the parent mandated savings–or–i’ve seen mothers stick a butter knife into junior’s metal bank to retrieve a few dollar bills to provide the next smokes..terrible habits have ruined the original conservative family finances–penny or not, few appreciate the worth of hard earned salaries.
    govt needs to be run like a business, if there are constituents who can hold that vision straight for long enough to re-introduce value in the marketing scheme.
    that was one penny for this thought..what did i do with that canadian penny?it could be valuable some day..along with my indian head penny..i’m sure i gave them away..

    • Nadine, it seems that logic has disappeared as far as basic economics is concerned.Yes,government should be run like a business, but let’s make that a well-run business, which it is not now. I have to identify with the broken piggybank and the value of a penny earned and saved. Btw, the only penny I know of real value is the 1936 penny with a dot over the year, it’s worth 6-figure big bucks. I don’t have any US Indian head pennies either..haha! Too bad. “:)

  2. Red says:

    They have attempted it a number of times here and the people stand up and scream. The time will come, but it will be when they outlaw cash altogether. It is a more equitable system to my mind. Digital money is far easier to track and trace. Think of the death of the banking industry! It makes me so happy.

    • Well, the politicians have arbitrarily gone and done it here in Canada, I’m betting the US will follow. It really wasn’t so smart, just another foolish political legacy which will cost us. Converting to digital money comes with it’s problems, such as electronic hacking–and not everyone is comfortable with electronic cash. I have to agree, the financial industry siphons the cream from the economy–and it seems politicians are quite happy with the status quo. They do know this isn’t economically good for people, but brag about the $5M they’ll save. Go figure. Only time will tell. Now we have a decimal money system that isn’t decimal, it’s currency anarchy. Interestingly, I’ve had individuals say they won’t use cash because of this, so you’re probably a visionary. Cashless coming up!

  3. No more pennies, nope. It has been discussed for some time, and now it is here. I say yay! To be honest I find them tedious and often use a card instead of cash for purchases. Happy weekend Raymond!

    • Hi Christyb, yes, it’s been discussed a lot and accomplished, I’m not sure the public realizes how much money will be skimmed off of the economy by this policy. I know pennies are a doubt about that. I feel like very small purchases are a nuisance using a card -but I’m guessing it is coming, like it or not. haha…Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. A penny saved is a penny earned…not in this global apparently. Guess we don’t need to eat at McD’s anymore, huh?

    • Funny, M.J., people won’t bother to pick up a penny, but amazingly, they do add up! I’m not sure if that policy applies to the rest of the food at McD’s, but nothing would surprise me. Corporations are experts at deriving the last penny out of the consumer–next it will be the nickel too.

  5. Binky says:

    Pennies have long been worthless, I suppose, but I will miss them. And I’m sure it won’t be long before all prices are rounded up to the nearest five cents, costing us a couple of cents on every item.

    • Hi Binky, absolutely, it won’t take long before all of the prices are rounded up. That’s exactly what corporate Canada will do, and any foreign firms that do business in Canada will do exactly the same thing. Saving pennies used to be an honourable way to make a buck, but I guess a lot of the old values have disappeared.

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