Selecting a person to appear on currency explicitly establishes them as an icon and a national symbol. Their whole life slides under a microscope. My nineteenth Advent Policy Brief insists that portraits of notable figures don't belong on money.
I'm an impatient advocate for separating Canada from the British Monarchy. I'm reminded constantly of Queen Elizabeth's reign by the coins in my life. Our bills are also an issue; they feature Prime Ministers with contested appreciation.
The discussion of who to put on bills and coins is nefarious. The question requires that subjective value judgments about the contenders be explicated and weighed. It's a purity project that evolved in tandem with respectability politics, lock-stepped with White supremacy and classism.
No one person can be an icon to everyone and trying to find people who are 'close-enough' takes space in public dialogue that ought be focused on pathogen response, climate crisis management, and ending poverty.
Landscapes, animals, abstracts, buildings, plants, or skylines would be more aesthetically pleasing and less contentious uses of the designable surfaces of bills and coins. Plus, replacing people on money would create an epic exposure opportunity for the artists whose designs become legal tender.