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Letters to the Editor June 11: Basketball culture, in Canada, eh. Plus other letters to the editor

Kawhi Leonard on a Queen Street West building in Toronto on May 29, 2019.

Fred Lum

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Basketball culture, eh

As everyone knows, the major problem facing Canada today is convincing Kawhi Leonard to stay with the Raptors. There have been dozens of restaurants with signs offering him the right to dine for free, there’s a towering mural on Queen Street West bearing his likeness, and of course there are thousands of Leonard T-shirts on fans. But what might do the trick is if enough Canadians write our Prime Minister, asking him to consider making Kawhi Leonard an honourary Canadian.

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Len Wise, Toronto


The Toronto Raptors have certainly captured the imagination and support of fans across Canada. Does this mean we have finally developed a “basketball culture”?

Let’s hope that Raptors fans channel that support and enthusiasm for the game into supporting our strong National Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams as they try to qualify and play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Go, Canada, go!

Ruby Richman, Toronto

Plasticum neverendum

Re Ottawa Moves To Ban Single-Use Plastics As Part Of Plan To Cut Waste (June 10): China, India and Rwanda are just a few of the countries with bans on single-use plastic bags. It has taken the Trudeau government almost four years to get to the point of initiating “a scientific evaluation” as the first step to imposing a ban. Internationally, the science has been established on single-use plastic. Our federal government needs to just get on with it. Canadians use three billion single-use plastic bags a year: Pass legislation over the next three weeks and get it done.

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Paris Jefferson, Ottawa


While on vacation in Edinburgh, we heard the concern in the U.K. over single-use plastics, the same concern which is also echoing across Canada. Our flight not only increased our carbon footprint, but featured a startling array of single-use plastics. The cabin blanket was wrapped in plastic. The inflight magazine too. Meal containers, cutlery, trays, water bottles and glasses were plastic.

Every drink of water featured a fresh plastic glass. When we asked the flight attendant whether the airline recycled this trash, she rolled her eyes and said we would be horrified by the amount of garbage generated by one aircraft on a single flight.

Plastic: light, sanitary, compact and convenient … and terrible for our environment.

Can technology save us from ourselves? Can we come up with a compostable, safe alternative?

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Jim Reynolds, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.


I’m much encouraged by the federal government’s move to ban certain single-use plastics. But the list of what’s to be phased out has me worried. There’s no mention of a small but particularly noxious shard of the species plasticum neverendum – the infernal labels pasted to virtually every fruit and vegetable sold commercially.

Some years ago, I moved and inherited a cubic metre of almost-finished compost. My joy sank as I dug through the treasure. Every shovelful was polluted by a myriad of tiny plastic labels advising me of the country of origin of much of the previous owner’s food. Ironically, the original orange or pepper was often organic – unlike the plastic.

Larry Hannant, Victoria

Dimensions of genocide

On Saturday, by featuring the voices of Sarain Fox (The Genetics Of Genocide: ‘I’m Healing So My Future Daughter Doesn’t Have To) and Cindy Blackstock (Canada Is Choosing To Fail Its Indigenous Women And Girls), the Opinion section balanced the skeptics and pundits who are so quick to dismiss the charge of genocide made by the National Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

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Genocide is more than intentional massacres. Those of us who are settlers and guests need to vastly expand our empathy, and learn to deepen our skills of listening to Indigenous women leaders. Let’s seek to understand why Ms. Fox experiences the seeds of genocide in her blood. Let’s hear Ms. Blackstock when she asks why, after seven orders from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the Trudeau government still discriminates against funding for Indigenous child welfare.

Ben Carniol, Scholar-in-Residence, Wilfrid Laurier University

Noise about noise

Re It’s Time To Turn Down The Volume (editorial, June 19): A colleague habitually roared into work on his “enhanced” Harley. One day, while he was parking, I asked him if he wasn’t concerned about damaging his hearing.

He grinned and proudly showed me his ear plugs. I asked, “What about my hearing and everyone else you expose to this noise?”

He responded by shrugging.

And that neatly sums up the attitude of motorcyclists and car drivers who deliberately make their machines dangerously loud. Pathological narcissism.

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Helga Grodzinski, Kingston


I live in a neighbourhood where almost daily, and sometimes simultaneously, landscaping companies and some homeowners spend hours on mowers and leaf-blowing creating undue noise, and pollution to boot. Increasingly, there are houses being torn down and new structures going up as fast as possible for profitability. So the clang, crash, and jar of heavy trucks is ever-present, along with concrete dust, and cigarette butts left behind by some workers.

So much for the serenity of the leafy suburbs. If a car has to have a muffler, why can’t leaf blowers be required to have the same?

Diane Sullivan, Toronto


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Another year and nothing has been done about that small segment of drivers who modify the muffler systems on their cars and motorcycles for the express intention of annoying the public.

A decibel reader is a simple app that can be put on a smartphone or used as a purpose-built instrument. Both are inexpensive.

Police just need to be behind a vehicle, and it is usually easy to see if it has been modified. Some little four-cylinder cars look like they have cannons behind them. You can hear them for blocks. The sound ranges from resembling an excruciating chainsaw on steroids, to full-throttle lawnmowers.

I would like, on some spring, summer or fall nights, to sleep with my windows open, and the air conditioning turned off. I haven’t been able to do that for years. Modern cars are so quiet out of the factory, it’s hard to know if they are running. Let 2019 be the year this racket is stopped. A thousand-dollar fine should help end this racket.

Jim Barrett, Toronto


Thank you for making noise about noise. It’s the pointless racket of motorcycles and hot rods that is most maddening (along with some backyard dogs at 3 a.m.). But it is the incredibly loud sirens of emergency vehicles that are the most painful for pedestrians. Surely we don’t need to damage 100 people while we race off to save one: There has to be a better way. (As far as dogs go, it’s just animal cruelty – to sleepers.)

Claude Daley, St. John’s

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