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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a joint news conference this summer in Beijing. Li Keqiang is to visit Canada Sept. 21-24. (Adrian Wyld/The Associated Press)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shakes hands with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after a joint news conference this summer in Beijing. Li Keqiang is to visit Canada Sept. 21-24. (Adrian Wyld/The Associated Press)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 21: So define ‘treaty.’ Plus other letters to the editor Add to ...

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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So define ‘treaty’

Re Beijing Gets Long-Sought Chance At Extradition Treaty With Ottawa (Sept. 20): I thought a treaty was some kind of reciprocal agreement. Just how many Canadians are escaping to live in China that we need sent back to face justice here?

Isn’t there another name for a treaty that serves only one party?

Like capitulation?

John Riley, Mono, Ont.

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30- to 50-per-cent

Frank Swedlove, CEO of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, cites a study which forecasts 30- to 50-per-cent increases in term-life premiums if insurers are prevented from discriminating based on genetic information (Genetic-Testing Perils – letters, Sept. 20).

Individuals and society benefit from understanding genetic risk factors. Regular medical surveillance – often only available once a risk is identified – may diagnose problems and allow for earlier or preventative treatment. The individual is better off, and so is a society that can benefit from increased productivity and reduced medical and other costs.

Rather than denying service or jacking up the rates for people with identified genetic risks, insurers could provide additional services to manage that risk.

Just as some insurers offer help for customers to quit smoking, they could offer genetic counselling, co-ordination of preventive services, and education to help policy holders live longer and better lives – simultaneously benefiting their clients and reducing the industry’s financial risk.

David Plummer, Winnipeg

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Frank Swedlove says consumers could face term life rate hikes of 30- to 50-per-cent if the bill to prevent genetic discrimination is passed. Since all other G7 countries have genetic privacy laws, Canadians should compare their rates to those in other G7 nations. If current Canadian rates are not 30- to 50-per-cent less, they should contact their insurance rep immediately to ask why.

Jonathan Cresswell-Jones, Toronto

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Prostate risks

Re Prostate Cancer? Relax, And Don’t Rush Your Treatment (Sept. 20): My father had a routine PSA test, part of a whole-body health checkup. His test showed an elevated Gleason score; the doctor advised that it was not anything to be concerned about and further action was not needed.

A year later, a digital exam and PSA test showed another increase in his PSA level and an aggressive tumour. He underwent radical surgery to remove the prostate, followed by a series of debilitating drug treatments. He suffered terribly in his last six months. The consensus from other physicians was that he should have taken action following those first test results; we all wish my dad had been advised to do that.

I could never imagine suggesting to a patient to relax about it.

Judy Spears, Oakville, Ont.

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Waiting. Waiting

Re The Murky Waters Of Quebec Extra-Billing (editorial, Sept. 20): Kudos to the federal government for forcing the elimination of extra-billing for publicly insured medical services in Quebec.

Now, if only I could a way to get access to those free medical services, I would be all set.

Bernard Lahey, Montreal

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Looking for respect

Re Mr. Trudeau Goes To The UN (Sept. 20): Why would Canadians want to pander to an organization as outdated and irrelevant as the United Nations (with some of its agencies excepted)?

Justin Trudeau seems to have taken Stephen Harper’s playbook of fiscal responsibility, common sense and “international” ethics and is doing the reverse. Does he really believe membership in the Security Council (which has never included the only real democracy in the Mideast) will achieve anything for us except more debt?

Now we read that Mali, perhaps the most dangerous, lawless place on the planet, may be his next target for “peacekeeping”! Given our strained human and financial resources, let’s hope Mr. Trudeau will find a more worthy project as a way of garnering respect from the international community.

Susan Silverman, Toronto

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Timeline on Turkey

Re Turkey Fires Around 28,000 Teachers, Officials Say (Sept. 20): At some point, Turkey’s allies and friends may need to take a public stand against what is happening in the postcoup aftermath. How much worse things need to get first remains an open question.

The preamble for the North Atlantic treaty states: “They [the members] are determined to safeguard freedom, common heritage and civilization of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.” Turkey’s ambassadors to NATO countries will keep telling us they are upholding all of these principles: the “rule of law” is being applied in the case of the mass firings and incarcerations; all of this will be reviewed by the courts once the “Gulenist terrorists” have been purged; what state would not abridge individual liberty in a time of national crisis?; as for democracy, haven’t we had elections?

We can expect realpolitik and Turkey’s usefulness for our regional foreign policy goals to trump the nice language of the treaty. But we denigrate our own values by doing so.

At some point, it will become too much – but when?

Mark A. Wolfgram, associate professor, Department of Political Science, Oklahoma State University

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S-l-o-w-l-y. And less

Re Weight Watcher (Life & Arts, Sept. 19): I am struck by the sensible portion sizes served in European restaurants – no giant platters. The key to eating less is reducing portion sizes, and I am regularly struck by how we fail to recognize this in our loaded-plate North American eating practices.

Another factor in eating less is eating more slowly. In her (very entertaining) book French Kids Eat Everything, Karen Le Billon points out that the average French family spends twice as much time every day in food prep and eating as an American family.

So to Ian Brown I would say: Eat pretty much what you want – just do it in smaller amounts and more slowly.

Paul Thiessen, MD, Vancouver

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Hmm …

Should Hillary Clinton be elected president of the United States, Gary Marinangeli, 65, vows to move to Canada (The Great White Hope – Focus, Sept. 17). Ironically, others have vowed to move here should Donald Trump win.

Notable among the pronouncements by these “flee-ers” is any recognition that Canada is a sovereign nation which would apply rules governing immigration.

Indeed, if they delay their applications too long, they could find themselves being screened for anti-Canadian values – such as, in their case, presumption.

Ab Dukacz, Mississauga

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