Sink and drown
The tragic spike in drownings in recent years among Canadian children under 5 illustrates the common but poorly recognized or understood phenomenon of how drowning is a silent death for young children (Sudden Spike In Toddler Drownings Shocks Quebec – July 13).
According to Joseph Torg of the Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, young children and toddlers jump into water and sink like a lead weight straight to the bottom. Contrary to movie depictions of a drowning person who flails about and calls for help, children just sink. No cries for help, no flailing of arms, no nothing.
It happens quickly, silently and without notice. Once submerged, children become disoriented and oblivious to the change in environment from air to liquid.
As the drowning mechanism in toddlers is quite different from that of adults, what makes prevention possible in these circumstances is a full understanding and awareness of what can actually happen.
That said, in and around water, parents and caregivers must be constantly and consistently reminded to supervise children. There is absolutely no substitute for this.
Emile Therien, past president, Canada Safety Council
With the Harper government’s new-found affection for science and facts, I’m assuming that, as well as investigating the health effects of wind turbines, the Conservatives will also investigate the health effects of traditional methods of energy production.
Ironically, just after the wind turbine study was announced (Pipelines, Turbines and Politics – July 12), you reported Canada’s second-last ranking in efforts to conserve energy (Canada Near Bottom Of Energy Ranking – July 13). Since the government is now listening to facts, a national strategy on promoting conservation must be just around the corner.
Robert Kwakernaak, Okanagan Falls, B.C.
Parks Canada’s role
Parks Canada (Cuts Imperil Canada’s Parks – July 12) oscillates between conservation, preservation and tourism with unsatisfactory outcomes for all three. The government would be advised to abolish Parks Canada and share its responsibilities among the ministries of the environment, heritage and tourism; these to focus on sensitive wildlife habitat, historic sites and luring visitors (tourists), respectively.
Ryder Payne, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
Few in Canada, including, it seems, the government of Canada, are aware of the enthusiasm for studying the many aspects of this country in universities around the globe – its literatures, history, politics, social fabric, even the innovative architecture of its museums and art galleries (It’s Hard To Understand Canadian Studies Cuts – July 12).
Since its inception, tens of thousands of “Canadianists” have taken or given courses and written hundreds of books and articles in practically every language on Canada. Many have gone on to leadership positions in their countries. The benefit to Canada generated by these links cannot be overemphasized.
The vacuum created by eliminating this wonderful program will inevitably be filled by the British Council, the Fulbright Program and by those countries that used the Canadian model to expand their own studies program, such as those in Australia, Japan and Germany.
Internationally, Canada will be diminished.
Susan Wilkinson, Oakville, Ont.
There were more articles than I could readily count on the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, but not a word about the oldest continuing annual rodeo in Canada (and possibly the second oldest in North America) – the Wood Mountain Stampede.
During my time as youth in southern Saskatchewan, this was a highlight of our year, featuring the best riders and ropers, the powwow from the Dakota Sioux who stayed after Sitting Bull returned to the U.S., and the evening dance in the open-air, tree-branch-covered Bowery.
John Ellis, Toronto
Given the senseless deaths (or as the Stampede spins it, “a fatal event”) of yet more horses at the Calgary Stampede, perhaps we should follow the region of Catalonia in Spain.
There, despite centuries of tradition and constant pressure from members of Spain’s Mesa del Toro pro-bullfighting umbrella group, the “sport” was banned.
At the Stampede, aside from horses dying in the chuckwagon race, steer wrestling, saddle bronc events, bull riding and tie-down roping also cause the animals involved obvious stress.
Is this kind of spectacle, which often results in terror, injury or death for the animals, any less reprehensible than a bullfight?
Fraser Landry, Toronto
222 million women
When I worked for Médecins sans frontières in South Sudan, I enjoyed the laughter that went along with our condom demonstrations to hundreds of patients who sat in 40-degree heat waiting for urgent medical care. I had encouraged the Dinka nurses I worked with to use the wait time for health promotion, which was both educational and often entertaining for all. Condoms were the only available contraceptive and many people had never seen them.
Thank you for covering women’s access to contraception from a global perspective (Giving 222 Million Women The Right To Plan Their Families – July 10). It is not uncommon for women with unwanted pregnancies in the world’s poorer countries to die from the complications of unsafe abortions. Unsafe, because abortion is illegal there, or if legal, inaccessible due to cost or other barriers.
Sexual health education and access to contraception and safe abortions are all essential if governments want to help support families around the world.
Madeleine Cole, Iqaluit
I have to agree with the article about Omaha (Omaha? Oh Yeah! – Life, July 12). It is a very hip city, but I initially had my reservations.
When my boss told me I was to go to Omaha on a business trip in March one year, I told him he was mispronouncing the city’s name. I was convinced it was pronounced “Oahu.” As in Hawaii. Not Nebraska.
Jayne Watson, Ottawa
“Women take the lead in choosing the destination, shopping for holiday clothes, booking the transport and packing. The role of men is limited to getting the family to the airport, toting the luggage and driving while abroad … and 43 per cent don’t even trust their male partner to carry his own passport.” Yes, yes and yes, etc.
And getting the family to the airport on time happens only because the wife knows what time they need to get there. Although, I have to admit I once failed horribly. We were catching a red-eye flight from Calgary to Toronto … and were 12 hours late for a 12:30 a.m. flight.
Consolation: I was assured by the ticket agent that I was not alone. It’s a common error.
Debbie McKeil, Burtts Corner, N.B.