The latest PC Brigade battlefield: Canadian bank notes

If this weren’t a news report, you’d think it was in the business of ticking boxes on a list of clichés:

The Bank of Canada considered celebrating gay marriages, black hockey players, and turban-wearing RCMP officers on its new plastic bank notes — but eventually nixed them all in favour of the more traditional images of a train, a ship and a monument.

Internal documents show that focus groups and a Bank of Canada team reviewed a series of currency images intended in part to reflect the diversity of Canada’s population, particularly the country’s varied ethnic character.

Images that were considered included a Chinese dragon parade, the swearing in of a new citizen, Toronto’s annual Caribbean festival, children of different ethnic backgrounds playing hockey or building a snowman, and a person in a wheelchair playing basketball.

The image catalogue was drawn up in 2008 by The Strategic Counsel, a market research firm hired for $476,000 to help the Bank decide how to illustrate its new series of polymer $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. The first note, the $100, began circulating in November 2011.

Drawing on focus-group discussions and workshops with Canadians in six cities, the consultant found strong support for themes of “diversity, inclusiveness, acceptance of others/multiculturalism.” Eventually, 41 image ideas covering several themes were tested and given scores.

Among the highest-rated images were those of children of different ethnic backgrounds building a snowman; faces of individuals from different cultures celebrating Canada Day; an image of a hand of many colours; and children of different ethnic backgrounds playing hockey. These selections were then presented by the Bank of Canada team to officials at Finance Canada for further vetting.

Many images proposed at the start of the process did not make the cut. Rejected were illustrations of a gay marriage, an RCMP officer wearing a turban, and “hockey with a twist . . . with a black player.”

Why not go all in and make it a black basketball player in a wheelchair marrying a turbaned mountie at a Chinese dragon parade? We got a glimpse of that a while ago with the “is she Asian or isn’t she?” controversy.

What was wrong with having mountains and a picture of the Parliament Building and log-driving on the Ottawa and other bucolic scenes on the backs of bills?

Or a train or a ship or a monument? When people brainstorm things, lots of ideas are presented that don’t get used. That’s what a selection process is for. Get over it.

Another in a long line of “Things are not completely the way I want them to be” entitled whining threads started by Vet. You go girl!

There’s nothing wrong with it, of course. If you wanted to celebrate great things about Canada, though, it does seem a bit bland. “We have great scenery.” Well, so does every single other country on the planet. “We’ve built a functional multicultural society” is a much more impressive accomplishment.

Not it if you don’t like multiculturalism. And Vet doesn’t.

So they did things your way, but you’re pissed off that somewhere along the way, they considered things that you dislike? Have you considered seasteading? I don’t know if it would solve your problems with society, but it would solve one of ours (you’re in it).

Multiculturalism means making way for other views, other ways of life. That means giving something up. Not everyone wants to do that. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Vetarnias, are you a complete idiot or do you just pretend to be one?

I think this is time to stand up against oppressive discriminatory government and demand NAMBLA put on 100$ bill.

Are there black hockey players?

There isn’t? Then I’m afraid we have a fundamental disagreement on the obligations involved in living in a modern society founded on immigration.


All of our banknotes should have the smiling bearded face of Vetarnias.

I could be wrong but I thought a black NHL hockey player was heckled by Canadanian fans last year (2 years ago) over his blackness. It made the national news.

Uh, yes there is.

Don’t compound this already stupid thread with more stupidity man.

Y’know, I just realized: Vetarnias is the French-Canadian Dirt.

Think of it this way. Does the farmer wrong when he opposes a new development that will price him out of his home? He wants to preserve his way of life, and his culture, in the face of middle America consumerism. Why is his way of life inferior? What makes his values less important? What makes that shopping mall, or that row of McMansions more important?

Or, to use a more European example… what do you do when an immigrant population opposes your core values, like freedom of speech, or freedom of religion? How do you reconcile their beliefs with your own?

How, exactly, does a development price a farmer out of his home? Do you mean increase the value of his land so much that the farmer voluntarily sells his farm and takes the fat bags of cash and retires to Florida? Because I don’t really have a problem with that.

And your “European” example is even stupider. Which I would not have thought possible.

Do you know much about Islam? It is in many ways, the path not taken by Christianity. Political parties for example, under Islam, are generally frowned on because they represent factionalism - which is a cardinal sin. Splitting the faithful into parties undermines the oneness of the people. By the same virtue, freedom of speech is of no particular virtue. Untrammeled speech can be used to undermine the oneness of the faithful, or undermine the very basis of the faith. Given the weakness of the Islamic world relative to the West, many are very sensitive on that score. Islamic society is in many ways unlike Western ones because Islam is, and remains, not just a religion but the entire governing principle of society.

There are real reasons, outside of the small Westernized minority, that we have trouble working with the Islamic world. We have often disagree on basic values. This is why the low-countries have such difficulties with the more devout immigrants. Many can’t understand why the government tolerates such unthinkable insults against the prophet (the cartoon fiasco in other words).

Ultimately, I think we have to accept a certain level of fundamental disagreement - and move on. I think multiculturalism falls short in that respect, because it assumes we’re moving to some sort of flat-world where everyone believes in the same universal truth. If you’ve traveled, and experienced other cultures, I think that falls pretty flat.