This week saw Canada take its latest step toward what our government has decided will ultimately be the death of that most shunned of coins, the penny. Though it's been over nine months since the mint stamped the very last once-cent piece it would ever produce, there remain so many of the copper-plated nuisances in circulation that it has been easy to pretend nothing has changed. Easy, that is, until Monday, when retailers finally started rounding cash transactions to the nearest nickel in cases where neither party can produce enough pennies - this to account for the fact that the mint also began, on Monday, its new procedure of melting and recycling all pennies received by banks. That so many Canadians have used the occasion of the penny's long roll home as an opportunity to raise money for worthy causes is heartening. But that it took the government this long to drop a coin that had clearly outlived its usefulness at least thirty years ago is discouraging.