Volume 95, Issue 29

Wednesday, October 24, 2001
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Western uses web to battle plagiarism

New war stirs bad memories

CBC radio to play student's essay

The world at war

Study: 39% don't care about penny

News briefs

Study: 39% don't care about penny

By Marcus Maleus
Gazette Staff

The Canadian penny: useless pocket-pollution or oppressed coin? The debate continues.

Phil Taylor, spokesman for the Canadian Mint, said the results of a Canadian Mint study suggests many Canadians are in favour of scrapping the copper coin.

"Thirty-four per cent of Canadians are in favour of eliminating the one-cent coin, 26 per cent are in favour of keeping it and 39 per cent have no opinion," the study revealed.

Taylor said it is important to consider two groups in any penny discussion – public opinion and stakeholder groups, such as retailers and other financial institutions.

"Every penny counts," said Noreen Kahn, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) spokeswoman. "Eliminating the penny will have a negative effect on fundraising, especially during Halloween."

Others however disagree.

Western economics professor John Palmer said he is in favour of discontinuing the penny. "Pennies cause a massive inconvenience."

Palmer said he does not agree with the oft-heard argument that dropping the penny would force retailers to round up their prices.

"We can't assume retailers would round prices up to the nearest five cents," he said. "Competition could force retailers to round their prices down instead."

According to Palmer, pennies have been taken out of circulation in other countries around the world with relative success. "People seem happy with [its disappearance] in other countries."

United Way communications co-ordinator Kris Dundas said she does not believe abolition of the penny will have an adverse effect on fundraising. "We'll still see people giving money. People are generous – they want to give."

Dundas admitted most contributions to United Way come from sources that do not include the collection of loose change.

"Our fundraising comes primarily from workplace contributions, so not having pennies wouldn't effect us as much as other fundraising organizations, like UNICEF."

One final penny for your thoughts: The Canadian Mint study found the average Canadian household has $24 worth of pennies lying around.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001