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Letters to the Editor Jan. 9: Life without a cell phone. Plus other letters to the editor

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here: letters@globeandmail.com

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'Could be construed'?

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Re Alberta Judge Apologizes To Law Students (Jan. 8): I would not want to be one of the "big dark people" sitting in the courtroom of Alberta Justice Kristine Eidsvik, who told a class of law students that such people cause her to feel threatened and uncomfortable.

In her muted apology, she acknowledged her remarks "could be construed as insensitive to racial minorities." "Construed as insensitive"? Just what about her remarks did she think was subtle and anything but blatant bigotry? There is no place on the bench for such odious thinking.

Gilda Berger, Toronto

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Life without a cell

Re Your Smartphone Is Making You Stupid, Antisocial And Unhealthy. So Why Can't You Put It Down? (Folio); Hold The Phone (Opinion Section): I am 35, and I have never owned a smartphone – or any cellphone.

Believe it or not, I lead a normal, productive life. I easily keep in touch with friends and family through other means; I can communicate with my workplace through e-mail.

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As evidence of the negative consequences of smartphone use mounts, why isn't disconnecting a valid option? There are lots of ways to communicate digitally without carrying a cellphone around and paying the exorbitant bills that come with it.

There are free calling apps you can put on a computer or tablet (I have one on my iPad, which stays at home and is used like a landline). These methods allow for communication while sparing the user from the constant connectivity of smartphones and their associated problems. Smartphones aren't mandatory or even necessary. Not for adults. Not for children. Not for anyone.

Meghan Leadbeater, Ottawa

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A medal tossed

Re Canada Is Golden (Sports, Jan. 6): Lias Andersson's tossing his silver medal into the crowd after Sweden's loss to Canada has a double side to it. It may not be one of the Swedish captain's shinning moments, but it does reflect the heart of a fierce competitor. His outpouring of emotion in bitter disappointment and frustration is an example of the gold-or-nothing mantra and his burning desire to attain it.

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I admire his tenacity and will to win, but I do not condone his impetuous reaction. Hockey is a team sport; you win or lose together. As captain, he has a responsibility to lead his team, not embarrass it. His antics reflected poorly on the team and the competition, and should never have happened when and where they did. (What he does with his medal after the game, however, is no one's business but his.)

I, too, must admit to feelings of anger and utter disappointment when coming home with silver rather than expected gold. It can be a solitary, gut-wrenching ordeal that can stretch one's psyche to the breaking point.

Fortunately for me, I have long since learned that a silver medal is just a material token. Ultimately, in the journey of one's life, it matters not where a medal ends up, or even the colour of it, but in how we view it and weave it into the fabric of our future.

Elaine Tanner, triple Olympic medallist, Oakville, Ont.

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Dimensions of conscience

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Re When Assisted Dying Clashes With Religious Freedom (Jan. 8): If the rights of conscientious objection to the provision of assisted death is extended from individuals to institutions, what gets lost is the right of the individual physician or nurse who works in these institutions to conscientiously participate in the procedure.

Watching the patients under your care being forcibly moved in and out for medical assistance in dying (MAID) assessments, or listening to the family's anguish and bewilderment at the necessity for doing so causes great moral distress among care providers. Conscience is not limited to objection – it includes the decision to participate.

Jyothi Jayaraman, MD, MAID provider, Vancouver

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Injured players' decisions

Re Why Don't Football Players Reveal Their Concussion Symptoms? (Jan. 5): Prof. Jeffrey Scott Delaney points to the high percentage of CFL players who keep playing rather than seeking medical attention for a concussion. It is a disturbing finding, but it leaves more important questions unanswered, for example: What pressures do CFL players face when injuries arise?

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There is an enormous power imbalance that players encounter when it comes to injuries. Team management and coaches can use players' injury history as a reason to shorten their playing careers, leaving far too many injured players to fend for themselves when it comes to paying for the costs of rehabilitation.

Our association is trying to change that imbalance by building the case for better player protections. We had some initial success when the CFL and CFLPA agreed on the elimination of full-contact padded practices: Research showed that one-third of player head injuries occur outside game day and eliminating that rule was a positive step.

However, we still have a long way to go. Better health-benefit coverage for injured players would make a big difference. So, too, would giving players an equal voice in the setting of game rules and standards: Currently the players' perspective is eclipsed by those of management. Players will seek immediate and necessary medical attention when they know that step is not a trap door to being left behind by their team.

Brian Ramsay, executive director, CFL Players' Association

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And the bully is …

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Re Why Kathleen Wynne Leapt At A Fight With Tim Hortons (Jan. 8): Are the Tims franchise owners a bunch of bullies, or are they the white knights who are standing up to the Ontario government on behalf of hundreds of small businesses which can't stand up for themselves?

The franchise owners are being squeezed on one side from the Ontario government, and on the other side from the parent company. It looks like they have had enough of being backed into a corner. Premier Wynne is right: There is a bully at work here.

It is just very unclear as to who the bully is.

Dan Petryk, Calgary

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The whole point of raising minimum-wage levels is to recognize that the costs of living have increased to the point that a minimum-wage hike is an ethical response to a more equitable and healthy society. If franchisees feel that cutting benefits, hours etc. is necessary to ensure profitability, there is either a problem with the franchise fundamentals (the viability of running said operation) or the franchisee's own personal spreadsheet.

Because of this issue, I probably won't visit a Tims again.

Kathy Leonhardt, Kamloops, B.C.

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Rrroll up the rim to win … in the public-disgust sweepstakes.

Sheryl Wilson, Halifax

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