The Canadian government is intent on eliminating paper currency, forcing everyone to use electronic cards without choice. There is only one potential benefit of government issued banking cards, but only IF it’s part of the plan: the end of user fees. Currently, people and businesses are charged fees to use electronic payments. You have to pay money in order to pay money.
Cash is free and anonymous, unlike card payments. Making electronic money mandatory and still charging fees is worse than the current situation. (Never mind the vulnerabilities of an insecure, flawed and unwieldy system that almost inevitably will be hacked.)
We’re looking ahead to imagine how we’ll pay for things in the future.
Do you use cash?
How often does the cashier just hand over the debit machine when you pay for your morning coffee? Some even seem surprised if you give them cash.
Last year in Canada, people used cash for only 1 in 3 transactions. That’s down from more than half just 10 years ago. And Canada’s not alone. In many countries, people use cash less often.
It’s hard to imagine this trend reversing—especially since cash isn’t an option when people shop online.
There is no privacy when your money can be tracked to every purchase. Everything you buy, every company you do business with, everywhere you go and what time you were there will be tracked and that information stored. And likely, collected and distributed without your consent.
Why is this a concern? Because governments can use data mining to monitor citizens and their actions.
Protesters: People who travel and partake in protests against the G7 and other events could be tracked. Imagine job loss due to false charges, false arrests, harassment by the RCMP. Governments already film and photograph protesters to identify them at rallies. Imagine being able to match purchases and locations with people already “suspected” of supporting human rights (e.g. gas stations, plane travel, restaurants, hotels, etc.). Spooks and cops wouldn’t have to show up and mingle in crowds anymore.
False assertions and damage to reputations: Trans people buy clothes that don’t match the assigned gender at birth. Some adults buy sex toys for private enjoyment. Would a right wing government false equate these these people with pedophilia and enter them into criminal databases? Of course they would. And once you’re in such databases, you’re permanently assumed guilty even if you’re exonerated, never charged or convicted of a crime.
Predictive policing: And what about governments connecting dots that are unrelated? Imagine a sports trainer buying cold packs or a farmer buying fertilizer, things which contain nitrates, and these people own diesel vehicles. They could be falsely assumed to be making and ANFO bomb, especially if they’re muslim. “Predictive policing” is an abysmal failure and a violation of human rights made even worse when it’s not “crime” cops and governments target but human rights, free speech, “other religions” and vulnerable minorities.
Collaboration with foreign governments: What if Ottawa decides to “share” information to foreign countries? If foreign nationals temporarily within Canadian borders buying things that the other country deems “illegal” (e.g. alcohol)? For example, South Korea will criminally charge their citizens if they test positive for marijuana, even if it was legal in the country where it was smoked. Or what about an LGBTQIA foreigner living openly in Canada who returns home to a regime that will imprison, torture or kill them based on data they were given?
Would the Canadian government sell out people’s privacy to foreign governments? It already does, part of the “Five Eyes” spy network. What’s one more as part of a trade deal? Trudeau has done nothing to get Raif Badawi out of Saudi Arabia and end his torture; if the regime asked for data on his wife or others as a condition of an oil trade, do you think they wouldn’t? With a database of people, they could easily sell what other countries want.
When money and “national interests” are involved, the human rights of individuals go out the window. “The human rights of a few dozen people is part of the cost of doing business” isn’t far from the truth. That’s how China operates now.
If I were back in Canada now and had significant wealth, I would seriously consider getting C$10,000 to C$20,000 in cash. I expect a grey and black market to form, with people storing currency and trade cash for things they want to buy without trace. Paper currency won’t disappear overnight as India’s incompetent government did a few years ago with its banknote demonetization.
Ottawa would likely phase out bills and coins over several years, so it will still be traded. Pennies were permanently phased out a few years ago, but can still be deposited as cash at banks right now and into the future. So once paper is completely eliminated from “legal” trade, I don’t expect it to disappear. It could become the new Crappy Tire money, still accepted by many on those grey and black markets.