Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the Bank of Canada will look into having a woman on a banknote starting in 2018. Currently featured on banknotes are Sir Wilfred Laurier ($5 bill), Sir John A. MacDonald ($10 bill), Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ($20 bill), William Lyon Mackenzie King ($50 bill), and Sir Robert Bordon ($100 bill.)
The idea is nice, but the question is who will be removed unless the Bank of Canada reinstates one of the bills it has eliminated over the last several years ($1, $2, $1000). Of course, there is the option to create a new bill – such as a $25 bill.
Of course, the discussion is really mute at the moment, as we already have a banknote with a woman on it: the $20 has a portrait of Her Majesty on it, and she is Queen of Canada. So, as such there is no real need to do so.
There are a couple options for Canadian women, including:
- Queen Victoria, who was Queen when the country was formed in 1867.
- Laura Secord – she is famous for warning the British about a planned American attack during the War of 1812.
- The Famous Five – the five ladies from Alberta who helped to get women the vote in Canada.
- Agnes Macphail – the first woman Member of Parliament (MP), and one of the first two women elected to the Ontario Legislature.
- Emily Murphy – the first woman Magistrate in Canada, and throughout the British Empire
While I applaud the idea, I do not agree taking someone off a current banknote, especially the $20 bill which is that last current banknote to feature our reigning monarch. To do so would only be a change for the sake of change, and downplay the importance of the monarchy in our country.
So, if we want to honour a Canadian woman, let’s create a new bill, but leave the current notes alone. The current notes honour other people, all of whom are just as worthy.