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Canada’s Currency Controversy, Round 2

30 January 2013

This past August saw controversy surrounding the $100 bill, and the fact that the woman on the bank note was “Asian-looking,” and not truly representative of Canada. Now, controversy surrounding Canada’s currency has been stirred up once again but this time, it’s the new $20 bill that’s come under fire.

It was first a botanist in New Brunswick that pointed out the fact that he did not believe the maple leaf appearing on the new $20 bank note was truly representative of Canada’s maple leaf. Rather, he argued, the leaf shown on the currency is a “Norwegian” maple leaf and that, while the species can be found in Canada, it’s not Canadian in its origin. And in fact, the species is quite invasive here.

Julian Starr, a botany professor at the University of Ottawa says, “It’s almost Canadian in the fact that we can’t even get our symbols right.”

But the Bank of Canada is taking up a quick defense for themselves, saying that the maple leaf indicated isn’t actually representative of any one specific type of maple leaf.

“We created an image for the bank note that represents a stylized Canadian maple leaf, if you will, so that it wouldn’t represent any specific species, specifically not the Norway maple,” says Julie Girard, spokeswoman for the BoC.

This unfortunately, isn’t even the first time the new $20 bill has been the centre of controversy. Before its official release, but after being given to a focus group, those members said that they were unclear as to why a picture of the Twin Towers of the former World Trade Center in Manhattan were pictured on the bill. That image is actually one of the Vimy Memorial, which commemorates the Battle of Vimy Ridge – one of the biggest wartime victories in Canadian history.

It was also at the same time that the pictures of the women shown on the bill, when at first glance, they do appear to be nude. These figures though, said the Bank quickly after, were representative of Justice and Peace.

Ms. Girard, speaking to all the controversy surrounding the new bank note, said that she was confused as to what all the uproar was about. The focus group that took issue with the bill was actually the second one the bank had used. It was the first focus group that was asked for opinions, and who suggested that Vimy Ridge be more celebrated in Canada’s history.

As for the maple leaf….we’re not sure what the first group had to say about it.

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