19 January 2013

Wrong Maple Leaf on Canada's Currency

Well, it looks like the new polymer bills that make up the Canadian dollar will continue to be controversial.

When Bank of Canada decided recently to leave the cotton and linen "paper" currency behind and move on to polymer, things began to unravel.

When the new designs were shown to people, focus group after focus group came up with interesting and peculiar notions.
New documents show a focus group mistook a strand of DNA on the $100 bill for a sex toy.

Most people also thought the see-through window on the new polymer notes was shaped like the contours of a woman's body.
Others looked into the port holes of a famed Canadian icebreaker and saw a skull and crossbones staring back at them.

After the DNA-as-dildo debacle, came the Vimy memorial on the $20 bill.
The monument was erected in Vimy, France in 1936 to honour First World War soldiers.

Unfortunately, most focus group participants were unable to identify the iconic memorial or even knew of its existence according to a report from obtained by CTV News.

"When you quickly glance at it, and if I didn't know any better, it looks like the Twin Towers," said one participant in the report, which was produced by market research firm The Strategic Council in Toronto.

"It's too pornographic," said another. "What is the woman on the top holding?"
The "pornographic" image in question is this

You have to wonder what that focus group member imagined she was holding.

Then, Bank of Canada had to change the design of the $100 bill as it showed the picture of "an Asian-looking woman scientist peering into a microscope." Reactions were diverse and largely negative:
"Some believe that it presents a stereotype of Asians excelling in technology and/or the sciences. Others feel that an Asian should not be the only ethnicity represented on the banknotes. Other ethnicities should also be shown."
When the Bank caved and replaced the image with that of a Caucasian woman that caused further uproar. And the Bank had to apologize for making the change.

And today the BBC reports that the Maple Leaf on the $20 bill is not the native Canadian maple but a naturalized European variety known as Norway maple.

Apparently, a senior botanist at the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre brought this to the attention of Bank of Canada officials and they scrambled to come up with an explanation.

Their lame declaration was that the maple leaf was "stylized."

The whole thing would be just funny except perhaps the fact that the man who was responsible for all these silly missteps, Mark Carney, was rewarded with a major promotion and he has just become the governor of Bank of England.

He did so by taking credit for the successful measures put in place by his predecessors.

And of course by disowning any and all mistakes during his tenure.

Just like Brits who started a petition to keep Piers Morgan in the US, Canadians should petition the British Parliament to keep Mr. Carney there indefinitely.

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