Victoria MP seeks change to bank notes

Petition calls for more women on Canadian currency

  • Jan. 15, 2015 8:00 p.m.

Victoria’s MP is calling for Canada’s currency to better represent the nation’s citizens.

Murray Rankin joined his NDP colleague Niki Ashton in writing Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz to express support for a 50,000-name petition to include Canadian women on banknotes.

“It’s so important to send a positive signal to young Canadians that says we honour the contributions of women in our history,” said Rankin.

In 2011, when the Bank of Canada rolled out new polymer notes, Victoria author Merna Forster noticed a surprising change. “I realized that the only Canadian women to ever feature on our notes had been removed—and replaced by an icebreaker.”

Forster, the author of several books on notable Canadian women, launched an online petition to the Bank of Canada.

“For more than a decade, I’ve been trying to popularize the stories of notable women from Canadian history and ensure their achievements aren’t forgotten,” said Forster, “It’s symbolic, but important. It reflects who and what we consider important in our culture and history.”

In a letter to Forster in 2013, Poloz said it would be “premature” to commit to including Canadian women on each new series of notes.

Rankin has called for the bank to release information on its policies to ensure more diversity in banknote designs.

“This is a chance to celebrate the diversity of Canada and the contributions of all people,” said Rankin.