Appalled by implied consent
Re: Soccer-assault case overturned (Oct. 17). I am appalled to hear that playing competitive soccer gives players "implied consent" to a degree of violence and injury.
Of course, injuries occur in competitive physical play, although this is soccer, not mixed martial arts or boxing, where I would agree with implied consent to a certain degree of violence.
But I would disagree with the idea that stomping is a part of soccer and that competitive play excuses violence in sports. I do understand that physical contact is a part of soccer, though where is the line when it comes to violence in the game?
Tip of the aboriginal iceberg
Mary Agnes Welch's Oct. 15 article Powerful bloc blunted at polls covers just the tip of the iceberg. It is a good start to understanding the root causes of oppression that aboriginal people feel towards them because of existing stereotypes.
Applying a stereotype can place the failure on individual behaviours, because it is easier to justify rather than to acknowledge and recognize the social determinants of health such as race, social class and income. These factors, in fact, play a major role in mental, physical and spiritual health.
As a recreation and community development student, I have learned that it is important to understand where a person is coming from, and that interlocking social determinants influence our choices and our responsibilities, one of which is voting.
It is important to keep looking beneath the surface and to realize not only that the social determinants of health matter, but to understand how they matter, in order to move forward in a positive direction.
Waste bags pile up
I completely agree with Judy M. Owen's Oct. 15 letter, Buried in leaves and dead plants. We live in north River Heights, and the majestic elms and oaks that line our streets and favour our yards are magnificent. However, when the leaves begin to hit the ground at this time of year, it is a challenge to keep up.
I raked our tiny front yard Monday and filled eight paper yard bags. I haven't started the sides of the house, nor the backyard, which is much larger. And we still need to clip the dead flowers and other plants. I expect to have about 30 bags of yard waste.
It is not fair to residents, nor the people picking up the waste, to expect to pick up all that waste in one go. At this time year, say Sept. 30 to Oct. 31, yard-waste pickup should be every week.
I am one taxpayer who couldn't be more pleased with the implementation of the biweekly yard-waste collection program. I am privileged to live in an area of the city lined with beautiful mature elm and oak trees.
For more than 15 years, I have either carted upwards of 25 huge, cumbersome bags of raked leaves to the city-operated drop-off depots or watched with regret as the bags were picked up and hauled off to the landfill.
The paper yard-waste bags we are asked to use now are practically a joy to fill, as they are sturdy, remain upright and are rain-resistant. They are a huge improvement over the old plastic leaf bags we used to struggle with.
I keep my eye on the collection calendar and do all my bagging a few days before the collection date. It couldn't be easier or more convenient. Sending all those leaves off to be composted is simply an excellent use of our tax dollars.
Believe it or not, I also think the new rolling waste and recycling carts are a huge improvement, as they are raccoon-proof, easy to move and have the capacity to easily handle our family's needs.
I used to rake up and mulch leaves in my yard and take them right to the recycling centre on Kimberly Avenue. Now that the city has done away with this, I put out my leaves on the week that yard waste is to be picked up, and on the week when they are not picked up I mulch them, put them in plastic trash bags and put them in the garbage cart.
So far, about a dozen bags have gone to the landfill, and there are still a few weeks to go before the snow flies, hopefully.
Judges have a role
I am puzzled by the conclusion of your editorial Canadians, not judges, must decide (Oct. 12). You say, "The tortured history of judicial decisions on assisted suicide shows Canadians, not judges, should decide," but you don't say which Canadians.
Do you mean the elected representative Canadians -- MPs -- who regularly vote as their parties, not their constituents, dictate? Do you mean the Senate, which is not only not representative, but unaccountable?
Perhaps you mean we should settle the legality of assisted suicide by a referendum in a country in which a ballot-box turnout of 65 per cent of eligible adult citizens is remarkably good.
Caring, as we should, for fellow human beings at the end of their lives is indeed difficult, as your editorial says. Judges may not be the only voices we should hear, but I think the role of a wise and politically independent Canadian judiciary is essential.
Strengthen the border
Diane Francis suggests we dispense with the Canadian-American border (Erasing the border, Oct. 11). I would recommend that we strengthen it, if necessary by erecting a high fence along it. That would create a few jobs.
She complains our government is incapable of controlling the Russian and Chinese multinationals. Stephen Harper could do that tomorrow, but he won't, because he would have to control the Canadian and American multinationals, and he can't afford to do that because someone has to pay for the attack ads that are going to get him re-elected, he hopes.
We should be taking charge of our resources and developing them in Canada. Our top five exports, in dollar value, are oil, coal, iron ore, wheat, and sand and gravel. That oil should be turned into gasoline, kerosene and plastics. The iron ore should be made into trains and automobiles. We should be exporting packaged meats, not live animals.