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Outside Hofstra University, the site of the Sept. 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
Outside Hofstra University, the site of the Sept. 26 first presidential debate between U.S. Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, in Hempstead, New York. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

WHAT READERS THINK

Sept. 27: Groucho politics: principles, to spare. 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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‘Principled’ debate

Re U.S. Election (Folio, Sept. 26): Ted Cruz branded Donald Trump as “utterly amoral,” a “pathological liar,” a “serial philanderer” and “an arrogant buffoon.” Marco Rubio called Mr. Trump “a con man” who is “unfit for the Oval Office” and who must not be given the nuclear codes.

Now, both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Rubio have endorsed Mr. Trump for president. As Groucho Marx quipped: I have principles! If you don’t like them, I have others.

John Robb, Kitchener, Ont.

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Enforceable ethics

Re Wanted: A Strong Hand To Guide UN (Sept. 26): Really, “a strong hand?” What the United Nations needs is an overhaul of its mandate. It needs to become the democratic governing institution of the world. It needs to have the moral, judicial and physical authority and power to enforce right throughout the world.

An institution that allows any one of five nations to stop it from doing what is right is meaningless. It is 2016: A connected world requires world views of morals and ethics to be enforceable, regardless of the ancient concept of sovereignty of nations.

Allowing what is happening in Syria demeans our humanity. Leaders of all UN members have their hands dirty on this one, because personal and national greed and power do not allow for them even to contemplate the real need for changing the institution and the world for the better.

Jim Houston, Oakville, Ont.

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Re Colombian-Canadian Helps Pave Long Path To Peace Deal (Sept. 26): After reading about Frank Pearl’s businesslike, patient and ultimately successful approach in negotiating the agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), including bringing on board neighbouring countries and dealing with all warring factions to build trust, I wonder: Would he be interested in moving to Syria? The world needs his negotiating skills very badly.

Mike Binette, Toronto

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Killing each other

Never before has the world been so awash in weapons, from the modernization of nuclear weapons to the rampant spread of small arms (Arms Exports Come Under Scrutiny – Sept. 24).

The sale of these weapons – global military spending exceeds $1.7-trillion annually – enriches the first world and bankrupts the third. The Earth and our existence are threatened by climate change but our resources are going toward killing each other.

It is a sham to pretend to restrict weapon sales to so-called “human rights abusing” countries while trading with so-called “good” countries. The real purpose of weapons sales is to enable the human race’s addiction to war.

The term “department of defence” replaced the harsher-sounding term “department of war.” If we all need a department of defence, why aren’t there any departments of offence? This euphemism continues to enable the arms trade.

Mark Leith, Toronto

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this letter to the editor incorrectly said it was suggested to then U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower that he change the term department of war to department of defence. In fact, then president Harry S. Truman established the Department of Defence.

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Royal reality

Re Duke And Duchess Keep It Real (Sept. 26): One wonders how Prince William has embraced humanitarian causes. What is “real” about visiting refugee families and marginalized women, when your spouse wears a designer outfit that reportedly cost $6,800?

Lynda Sellar, Port Hope, Ont.

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Regions? Absolutely

Re Regional Focus Not Best Basis For Reform (Sept. 26): Canada does not need yet another institution fostering regional tensions, writes Senator André Pratte in reply to the thoughtful proposal by former senators Michael Kirby and Hugh Segal to reform the Senate along regional lines.

On the contrary, that’s exactly what we need. That was the intended role of the Senate. Instead, it evolved so that the Senate ensures the tyranny of the majority. It’s high time that those of us outside Ontario and Quebec had a say in how the country operates.

Ian Thompson, Halifax

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Pension have-nots

Re Pension Haves And Have-Nots (Report on Business, Sept. 24): Yes, the gap is widening between private- and public-sector offerings to employees concerning pension plans. But we should not be so quick to applaud the move to defined-contribution plans.

As a former CFO, I well understand the motivation to cut costs. Yet today’s stock market offers Canadians little in the way of growing their meagre savings (debt levels at all-time highs) into a decent pension sum. In addition, even though we have increased our focus on financial literacy, many Canadians, including C-suite executives, fail to understand the ins and outs of pension plans or retirement savings.

We as a society will pay dearly when the majority of our seniors can barely make ends meet. Increasing the Canada Pension Plan contributions will not be adequate. We need to think outside the box on this one.

Karin Zabel, Ottawa

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E-ban zone

Re Why We Are Weaning Our Students From Electronic Noise (Sept. 24): I’ve been banning electronic devices from my classroom for years. I call them “weapons of mass distraction.” On the other hand, such devices can be very useful for after-class activities and discussions. There is nothing wrong in principle with finding information or reading good material online. One can “rediscover” some of the good old ways without taking a misoneist turn.

Yvon Grenier, professor, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University

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Orientation: atheist

Re United Church Minister’s Atheist Beliefs Jeopardize Job (Sept. 23): I applaud Gretta Vosper’s avowed disbelief in God and the Gospels, but I’m puzzled by her campaign to continue as a cleric. Intelligent enough to dismiss religious twaddle, she yet can’t see that her situation is no different from that of a bookkeeper who doesn’t believe in arithmetic and won’t do sums.

She’s an employee, deliberately refusing the very work she was hired for. That her congregation supports her doesn’t alter her unsuitability for the church that pays her and owns the pulpit in which she preaches. No doubt she could do good work in a different setting, but jumping ship, as it were, would require a leap of … might we say faith?

Doug Bale, London, Ont.

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