Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Central bank boss sorry for $100-bill Asian snub

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OTTAWA -- Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney apologized Monday for the way the image of an Asian woman was removed from the initial design for new $100 banknotes, promising to review the bank's internal processes.

"The bank's handling of the issue did not meet the standards Canadians justifiably expect of us," Carney said in a statement. "Our banknotes belong to all Canadians, and the work we do at the bank is for all Canadians."

The image of an Asian woman was purged from the original design after some focus groups raised questions about her ethnicity. Some participants said the Asian woman did not represent Canada; some said other ethnic groups should be shown as well, says a report obtained under the Access to Information Act.

The small groups were based in Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Fredericton, and were queried for the bank by The Strategic Counsel in a $53,000 contract. By the end of 2009, an image of a Caucasian-looking woman was substituted. The original design never went into circulation.

The Chinese Canadian National Council called the move "racist."

Carney did not clarify whether the bank intends to change its policies to allow visible minorities to appear on currency.

The bank again refused a request for a copy of the original image.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2012 A8

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