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Killing the cent quickly

Today is the last day of cent production in Canada. There will be a special event at the Royal Canadian Mint’s coinage facility in Winnipeg to mark the occasion.

That is appropriate.

Whether you support or oppose abolition the denomination as a circulating coin, considering its importance in history, something should be done as a salute on its passing.

The next question is how fast will the coin disappear from use?

The last deliveries from the Royal Canadian Mint will be in the autumn.

The Canadian government says the coin will be legal tender and usable for as long as people want it.

That is reassuring from a monetary point of view.

From the practical point of view, I would expect banks and businesses will want to get rid of the coin as fast as possible.

It will probably be completely gone by spring – perhaps sooner.

It is expensive to keep businesses supplied with cents and simply stopping the handling of the coins will save everybody in the supply chain a lot of money.

As they draw up their budgets for 2013, it will dawn on a lot of people that killing the denomination quickly will be very beneficial to them financially.

It is a situation not unlike a greedy family waiting for the rich elderly uncle to breathe his last and someone realizes that a pillow and pressure might hasten the day when an expected inheritance becomes available.

For the demise of the Canadian cent, a lot of people will be pushing on the pillow.

This time next year the cent will simply be a memory in Canada.