Friday, June 21, 2013

Battle of the Bank Notes!

For about a month now Ive been quietly staging a little bit of a war that my wonderful host country Canada would view as extremely unpatriotic and darn right ungrateful and ignorant. I suppose it is, and I invite all Canadians to prove me wrong and correct me. But the thing is, your bank notes really are just a tad dullish. There I said it. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that theyre colour coded like NZ notes. And I really dig the coins (minus the pennies, thank god theyre out!) But the notes are so blah! On a rainy day a while ago when I had nothing to do except happily surf wikipedia (oh that fount of all knowledge lol) for absolutely random stuff and I ended up reading about the guys on the Canadian banknotes to see what they did to deserve being on the notes and I can't say I was overly impressed. Minus the Queen, theyre all dead white MPs. Their achievements? Being Prime Minister of Canada. Ok ok I suppose thats a cool enough job but what about achievements on a world stage? Pictures that describe Canadian culture? I suppose they do a good job of that on the reverse side. But really? Prime Ministers? Is that the best you can do Canada? ..

Now New Zealand banknotes on the other hand - they epitomise coolness (unlike our so so flag but I'll do that in another post..) Theres a nice variety of interesting characters who are awesome to New Zealand as well as the WORLD. Beat that.

Now in my view, whether New Zealand or Canada would admit it there are a huge amount of similarities between the two countries. Not in everything obviously but if CA and NZ were two people in a pub, they'd be best buds for sure, talking about hunting, the awesome backyard they have, teaching each other the finer points of their national sports rugby and hockey, happily making slightly racist remarks about Australia and the US lol.

Now maybe its because I love New Zealand as my birth country and Canada as my adopted country but I feel like the two countries really should be doing something extra to be in cahoots with each other internationally. We should be there for each other having each others backs, encouraging each others creativity and growth and economy and general coolness esp in dealing with our overseas stigma of sounding and looking like our neighbors. That said, lets get back on topic and compare the two countries bank notes and see if my opinion that Canada has room for improvement has any credibility..

New Zealand bank notes

5 Dollar Note
- Sir Edmund Hilary                      
First man to successfully reach the summit of Mt Everest in 1953 with Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay).                            
- Mt Aoraki/Cook                                 (Highest mountain in NZ)                           
- Ferguson TE20 Tractor                           (used by Hilary in his first overland crossing of Antarctica during 1955-58 with British explorer Dr Vivian Fuchs).                      

- Hoiho (Yellow Eyed Penguin).
- Ross Lily 
- Campbell Island Daisy
- Bull Kelp                                
10 Dollar Note
- Kate Sheppard                      
Leader of NZ suffrage movement and thus enabled NZ to be the first country in the world to give the vote to women in 1893, afterward advocating for women to register as voters.
- Camellia flowers

- Whio (Native Blue Duck)
- Blechnum Fern

20 Dollar Note
- Queen Elizabeth II
- NZ Parliament Buildings (incl the 'Beehive')        
- Karearea (Native Falcon)
- Marlborough rock daisy
- Flowering red tussock
- Mt Tapuaenuku
50 Dollar Note
- Sir Apirana Ngata (pronounced Nata)             
A prominent New Zealand politician and lawyer. He has often been described as the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament, and is also known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori native culture and language.
- Marae (Maori meeting house)

- Conifer broadleaf forest
- Kokako (Wattled Crow)
- Kareao (Supplejack)
- Sky Blue Mushroom
100 Dollar Note
- Lord Ernest Rutherford of Nelson                    
New Zealand-born physicist and chemist and Nobel Prize winner who became known as the father of nuclear physics and notably for being the first person to split the atom.

- Beech Forest
- Mohua (Yellowhead)
- Red beech
- South Island Lichen Moth

Canadian Banknotes (Old)

5 Dollar Note
- Sir Wilfred Laurier
The seventh Prime Minister of Canada, the forth longest serving PM and the first French-Canadian PM. Well known for his policies of mediation between English and French Canada and his passionate defense of civil liberty within Canada. He is well regarded for achieving autonomy for Canada as an independent country within the British Empire/Commonwealth, on condition that the Commonwealth accepted their independent use of political and commercial liberties.
- The West Block of Parliament (Ottawa).

- Children playing hockey and other winter    sports.

- Excerpt from "The Hockey Sweater" by Roch Carrier
10 Dollar Note

- Sir John A. MacDonald
MacDonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister and served a whopping 19 years as PM. He and his family were immigrants from Scotland. He served in the legislature of the colonial Province of Canada and by 1857 had become premier under the colony's unstable political system. When in 1864 no party proved capable of governing for long, Macdonald agreed to a proposal from his political rival, George Brown, that the parties unite in a Great Coalition to seek federation and political reform. Macdonald was the leading figure in the subsequent discussions and conferences, which resulted in the British North America Act and the birth of Canada as a nation on 1 July 1867. Macdonald lost office for five years in the 1870s over the Pacific Scandal (corruption in the financing of the Canadian Pacific Railway). After regaining his position, he saw the railroad through to completion in 1885, a means of transportation and freight conveyance that helped unite Canada as one nation.
- Library of Parliament

- Peacekeeping forces and war memorial;

- Excerpt from "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae.
20 Dollar Note

- Queen Elizabeth II

- Centre Block of Parliment

- Artwork of Bill Reid;
- Excerpt from Gabrielle Roy's novel, The Hidden Mountain.
50 Dollar Note

- William Lyon Mackenzie King

Canada’s 10th and longest serving Prime Minister intermittently throughout the 1920s and 1940s. Trained in law and social work he implemented the foundations of Canada’s welfare policies. Despite lacking a ‘normal’ personal life, charisma, speaking skills, human relations skills and a friendly image with the public he is better known for his applying his academics and genius for the betterment of Canada as a whole. He was keenly sensitive to the nuances of public policy; he was a workaholic with a shrewd and penetrating intelligence and a profound understanding of how society and the economy worked. He understood labour and capital. He had a pitch-perfect ear for the Canadian temperament and mentality, and was a master of timing.

- The Peace Tower

- The Valiant Five (Women who petitioned the Canadian senate to allow women as members of the Senate)
- Therese Caesarian (Women’s Suffrage Leader and first female political party leader of Canada)
- Quotation from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

100 Dollar Note

- Sir Robert Borden

Was the eighth Prime Minister of Canada and the third from Nova Scotia. He was PM during and after WWI and at his insistence made Canada an independent party at the Peace Conference of Paris, the Treaty of Versailles AND League of Nations, and as a result ensured other British dominions a independent seat of their own (particularly Australia and New Zealand). During WW1, Borden also insisted on Canada training its own army rather than having Canadian soldiers split up and assigned to British divisions and as a result Canadian troops proving themselves to be among the best soldiers in the world.

In 1918 he passed a law allowing Canadian women the right to vote.

- The East Block of Parliament

- Maps of Canada, historic and modern;
- Excerpt from Miriam Waddington's poem, "Jacques Cartier in Toronto"

Canadian Banknotes (New)

I seriously can't be bothered putting the new bank notes up since they have the exact same colours and people on them but different stuff on the back which I will briefly describe and if curious you can google them properly yourself:

5 Dollar Note - Canadarm2, Dextre and a Canadian astronaut
10 Dollar Note - A Canadian Train and a map of the passenger railways in Canada (which is appropriate being on the same bill as MacDonald).
20 Dollar Note - Canadian National Vimy Memorial and poppies
50 Dollar Note - CCGS Amundsen in arctic waters; a map of Canada's North; 'Arctic' in Inuktitut
100 Dollar note - Medical research; DNA double helix; vial of insulin

Ok, so this post has taken me two straight days to type up - who knew cuting and pasting took so long! Thanks Wikipedia! My opinions of those dead white guys on the Canadian bank notes have drastically improved after reading more about them BUT my question of whether or not they really all need to be on the money still remains. They were all cool dudes for sure. Very cool, even Mackenzie sounds interesting for such an unliked guy. But really, should we have to look at them day in day out when there are so many more note worthy Canadians? 

For example, why don't we remove Queen Elizabeth (no offense Lizzie!) or one of the PM dudes and put Therese Caesarian more prominently on a note? I work in retail so I see money every minute of my work day and yet I have never noticed her! Canada should be immensely proud of what shes done along with the Valiant Five and do more than just stick a tiny version of her face on the back. She is Canada's Kate Sheppard and she should have more honour with the public and more notoriety with ignorant immigrants like myself. 

Heres another person I had no idea was a Canadian - Alexander Graham Bell, the dude who invented the telephone! Scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator! Canada, why isn't HE on your money EH?!! 

A few more notable Canadians who I think could do well on the money
- Terry Fox
- Wayne Gretzky (Canadians may be divided in liking this guy but they cannot deny that hes done a lot for the world wide public image of hockey. Non Canadians view him as the Michael Jordan of hockey).
- Roberta Bondar, Marc Garneau or Chris Hadfield (Canadian astronauts)

For those with spare time and want their ignorance blown out of the water check out this list of Canadian's in the Entertainment industry. Majority of them I had no idea they were Canadian. PS Canada, Anna Paquin is a New Zealander thankyou very much.

For sure New Zealand and Canada are both proud of their womens suffrage movements, technology advances, parliament buildings (yawn!) and flora and fauna. But I feel like Canada just put that stuff in the teeny tiny background of oblivion. And although both countries bank notes sure are pretty and colourful but do the Canadian's represented on the notes (minus the queen) truly represent Canadian culture, creativity and advancements? I'd love for someone to prove me wrong but I stand by my thoughts that theres room for improvement. 

One things for sure, I think both countries should get rid of Queen Elizabeth as main figure on the 20's. Unlike, my Republican husband who thoroughly hates being part of the British Commonwealth, I still call myself a closet Monarchist. I like that we're part of the Commonwealth, I see the value in it, but in all honesty does she really represent New Zealand and Canada? When people think of our two great countries do they think of her personally? I don't think so. I respect her and all shes achieved and witnessed and modeled in her long reign but I think her space on the 20s can be better used. Keep her face on that tiny clear bit on the note so that when you hold it up to the sun you can see her little grandma face smiling through. But take her off the 20 and let someone else shine..  

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