Two cents’ worth: Furor from the left over our new bank note images is absolutely priceless

By Ezra Levant, QMI Agency

The new Canadian $100 banknote.  (Bank of Canada)

The new Canadian $100 banknote. (Bank of Canada)

According to a breathless news report, the Bank of Canada hired a PR firm to focus-group 41 different images for Canada’s new bank notes.

The Canadian Press reports that consultants called The Strategic Counsel were paid $476,000 to give feedback on potential new artwork for Canadian money.

That is a scandal, of course — a scandal of government waste, of outsourcing minor common-sense decisions to platinum-plated consultants.

But that wasn’t what the Media Party saw as the scandal. To them, what was outrageous were the choices that were finally made for the bank notes — and the 36 ideas that weren’t chosen.

Like one rejected proposal to use the back of our bank notes to celebrate “safe cities” and Canada’s “no gun” culture. But that’s a political statement, not a symbol of Canada’s history or accomplishments. It’s not even factually true — about a third of Canadian homes have guns in them, lawfully. And big-city crime is often committed with illegal guns. But how on earth does any of this belong on bank notes?

Wind turbines and solar panels were another rejected idea, to the Media Party’s rage. Canada is a country of natural resources — forestry, mining, oil and gas, hydro-electric power. Currency isn’t supposed to be a Liberal campaign ad for Stephane Dion’s green shift or a daydream of a Solyndra lobbyist.

And what really made The Canadian Press mad was the rejection of a gay marriage theme.

Like gun control and global warming schemes, gay marriage is controversial. But to leftists, there is no Canadian symbol that shouldn’t be used for political purposes — something that goes back to Lester Pearson’s decision to change the Canadian flag to a pennant in Liberal colours. It’s the same left-wing instinct that purged so much history and tradition from other Canadian institutions. We don’t call it the Royal Mail anymore; it’s Canada Post.

Pierre Trudeau blended all our military wings together as the “Canadian Forces” instead of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy, and the like.

The final choices for the new $100, $50 and $20 bills were sound: Queen Elizabeth, two long-serving prime ministers, and tributes to our war veterans, Canada’s north, and scientific innovation. Pretty uncontroversial — exactly what you’d want in your bank notes.

But that wasn’t good enough for the Justin Trudeau campaign. Trudeau’s chief adviser, Gerald Butts, went into a rage about the subject on Twitter. “Perfect statement of the government’s values. They should have all bills date stamped 1812,” he fumed. “Stuck in the past. Diversity nixed on bills.”

Well, that’s the thing about remembering war vets — it’s usually about the past. It’s why we call it Remembrance Day.

Butts’ point about diversity is equally strange. It’s true two prime ministers — dead white men — were on the new bills. But unless we’re going to put Kim Campbell on our money, it’s going to be men for now. Does Butts object to the Queen’s presence? Our $100 features a generic “researcher” looking into a microscope who just happens to be a young woman. And the $50 has a map of northern Canada and the Inuit language of Inuktitut. What is the possible objection there?

Canada’s money is unremarkable — other than its value is at historic highs compared to other currencies. Maybe that’s why Trudeau’s campaign — and their allies in the Media Party — have freaked out about our bank notes. It’s the closest they can come to criticizing Harper’s economic record.