August 21, 1998
In the last month or so our dollar has drooped
lower than a pensioner without viagra.
In fact, the only Canadian currency that's kept
its value is Canadian Tire money.
Lucky for me, I've got a drawer full. I just
never have it with me when I go to the store.
I'd hate to think it's my substantial stash of
Canadian Tire money that's causing the
international money markets to go nuts.
Personally, I think the monetary crisis is the
result of the lack of respect the Canadian dollar
gets abroad. What do you expect when the basic
unit of our currency is known around the world as
At least the Americans had the sense to nickname
their money after ex-presidents.
You don't suppose the loonie really refers to
one of our ex-Prime Ministers?
In the meantime, the government is trying to
stay positive and put a good spin on it. In fact,
they've been saying there are some real benefits to
a 65-cent Canadian dollar.
First of all, they say it will encourage
Canadians to spend their vacation dollars here at
That's fine in the summer. This can be a great
country in the six weeks between blackfly season
and the first 30-inch snowfall.
But what about winter?
For example, can I interest you in a February
vacation package to Regina?
How about the exotic sights of people in
downtown Winnipeg huddled together at Portage and
Main to keep from freezing to death?
Or you can go to the Canadian deep south -
Windsor, Ontario. There you can gamble away your
65-cent loonies bathed in the warm glow of their
gently humming fluorescent lights.
If you really hit it big at the tables, you
could even win enough cash for a quick dash across
the American border to Detroit. And if you don't
fill up on gas you might have enough to buy the
Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's.
On the other hand, they tell us a cheap Canadian
dollar makes us a great tourist destination for
Great. We could become the next Mexico.
Soon we'll have roadside stands selling straw
beavers and necklaces made from toonies.
I picture ragamuffin Canadian kids chasing the
rich Americanos down the street in the hope of
being thrown a greenback or two: "Hey Meester, you
like to buy hot pictures of Art Hanger?"
Or even: "My seester, she in French immersion,
if you know what I mean."
And we're told a low dollar is good for exports.
The problem is, what do we export anymore?
We're out of cod and salmon. The oil, gas and
minerals business is in a slump. And you can't cut
down a tree without being sued or having someone
camp out in it singing "We will not be moved".
Our number one national product seems to be
badmouthing our own country, and no one seems to
want us to export that.
It's starting to look like all we can do is ride
out the dollar crisis. And take some satisfaction
in knowing every dollar we pay bills with is only
really worth 65 cents.
On second thought, maybe all it takes is a
positive, catchy slogan to turn things around.
How about: "What this country needs is a good