A little, tiny article caught my eye in the
paper the other week. It was a single paragraph that said the
Canadian Mint faces a $1.2 million loss in 2002. It took a minute to
register - the people who make our money somehow lost over a million
How Canadian - even the people who make our
money can't make money. I can understand how you can lose money if
you are making cars or computers, but how do you show a loss if you
are actually printing up the green stuff (and the blue, purple and
red stuff) in the basement?
I suppose there's the cost of ink and
printing presses and the people who run them. And you have to buy
the metal to make the coins. A few years back they found out that
making our one cent piece out of copper cost more than a penny, so
now they're just plated. But a look at the Mint's website shows a
list of the coins they have for sale. When they charge more than
twenty bucks for a fifty cent piece, you'd think that would be
enough of a markup to make money, even for the government.
It's amazing how many different coins the
Mint makes in a year. In 2002 there were no fewer than eight
different fifty-cent pieces, including such classic commemoratives
as "Squamish Days Loggers Sports", the "Annapolis
Valley Apple Blossom Festival" and "The Shoemaker in
Heaven" coin. Maybe that's part of the problem. As a kid I
collected coins, but I'm not sure I would have paid $24.95 for 2002
"The Pig That Wouldn't Get Over the Stile" fifty cent
piece. I bet these babies are collecting dust in the Mint basement.
For a while the Mint literally came out with
a different quarter design every month. That's got to be expensive,
even though it gave "ordinary Canadians" the chance to
design our money. For a while there I had so many different looking
quarters in my pocket I thought that eventually every single
Canadian would be issued their very own coin.
In fairness, the Canadian Mint did bring in
almost a quarter billion dollars in revenue in 2001, so how did they
manage to lose money last year? Here are some of the programs I
think might have contributed to the loss:
for 1" dime sale.
Printing up a
spare billion "when no one's looking" to pay for the
disastrous "all you can grab for a dollar" barrel at
the end of the Royal Canadian Mint tour.
withdraw the unpopular "Brian Mulroney - Not That Bad A
Prime Minister When You Think About It" commemorative
Canadian Tire Money at par.
Running out to
Kinkos to print up sheets of five dollar bills on their
expensive colour copier when the Mint's printing presses broke
money that sticks to people when allowing them to roll in the
miscalculation that accidentally put $200 worth of gold in the
$20 gold coin.
lending ten bucks to friends who "swear they'll pay it back
next payday" but never do.
pitchfork and a leaf blower to fill bags of money going to
accounting department holding a stack of bills up to their ears,
riffling through them and saying "sounds like a million to
Maybe the answer if for the Mint to start
charging GST on money.
On second thought, maybe I should keep my
big mouth shut.