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Canadian government closer to getting rid of the penny
Published Tuesday, December 14, 2010 4:51PM MST
The penny is one step closer to going the way of the dodo.
On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee recommended the one-cent coin be scrapped.
"Our report recommends production of the penny cease production as soon as possible and that it be withdrawn from circulation 12 months after that and that it cease to be legal tender 12 months after that," says Senator Richard Neufeld who sits on the committee.
To gauge how much Calgarians actually care about the penny, CTV News dropped 20 shiny pennies on the ground at Olympic Plaza.
Hundreds of people walked past the coins. "I just didn't think a penny was worth picking up," says Jim Francisco.
For the few who did pocket the pennies, it wasn't the value of the coin that motivated them. Evelyn Peirce picked the coins up, "Because of the saying ‘see a penny pick it up and all the day you'll have good luck,' and I even gave it away because you are supposed to give it away to carry on the good luck."
It looks like the good luck has run out for the one-cent coin.
Senators say every penny minted costs Canadians one-and-a-half pennies to make so it doesn't make financial sense to keep manufacturing the coin.
The committee report also calls for retailers to begin rounding prices to the nearest nickel, although that guideline is voluntary.
One Calgary business is proving the rounding philosophy does work.
The owner of Pita Express, Sal Abdo, says he often rounds the price down to save on pennies. "For example, if a sandwich is $8.03, if they are paying cash I'll charge them $8. It's because of the hassle of giving the customer back 97 cents - to them, they don't want more change in their pockets," says Abdo.
Other countries have scrapped their penny including Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand has also done away with its five-cent coin.