The mayor of a small B.C. town north of Kamloops, Ward Stamer hopes to see the country issue its first $5 circulation coin with a theme honouring Canada’s Indigenous communities.
Stamer, the mayor of Barriere, B.C., is currently seeking the federal Conservative Party nomination for the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo riding, which includes Barriere plus nine other census subdivisions. On Stamer’s campaign website, he suggests a new $5 coin to replace the currently circulating banknote of that denomination, with the new coin commemorating various Indigenous peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, as part of National Indigenous History Month (held each June).
“The thought occurred to me that a way to recognize Canada’s Indigenous Peoples would be to replace the 5 dollar bill with a $5 coin,” Stamer writes on his website, where he also posted his concept design.
The proposed coin features an Indigenous-themed motif surrounding a cut-out maple leaf in the centre near a 2021 year-date, with the words “CANADA” and “FIVE DOLLARS” along the right rim.
“It symbolizes the diverse cultural traditions of indigenous peoples and symbolizes our commitment to reconciliation and a better understanding of First Nations values,” Stamer writes, adding coins “have a longer lifespan than paper notes and are less expensive to produce.”
While coins can last more than a decade, modern polymer notes “can’t match that sort of longevity,” according to Bank of Canada Museum curator David Bergeron and writer Graham Iddon in their February 2019 article, “The Coming of the Toonie.”
“Although minting a coin costs far more than printing a note, the coin option is definitely more affordable when you consider the cost of printing 10 notes for every coin,” add the authors.
Stamer, the Barriere mayor since 2018, claims to have spoken to several people, including from Indigenous communities, who support his proposal, for which he’s now seeking public opinion by asking, “Is now the time to introduce a new $5 coin in Canada?”