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Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on Oct. 9, 2016. (Jim Young/Reuters)
Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton shake hands at the end of their presidential town hall debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on Oct. 9, 2016. (Jim Young/Reuters)

WHAT READERS THINK

Oct. 18: Diagnosis as sport. 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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Diagnosis as sport

Re Trump, Narcissism And Diagnosis As Political Sport (Life & Arts, Oct. 17): According to an Oxford University psychologist, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump share a propensity for “self-centred impulsivity and cold-heartedness.”

If Ms. Clinton were as narcissistic as Mr. Trump, she would be enjoying a career on Wall Street, earning seven figures.

Although she is ambitious, her career has consistently focused on the social contract and the common good. One can hardly say the same of Mr. Trump.

Jill Armstrong, Victoria

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Gabor Maté deftly identifies the harsh emotional abandonment of (then) Hillary Rodham by her mother in the face of bullying, and its appearance in her behaviour today. It’s remarkable to me that the Clinton campaign offers this anecdote as an illustration of the creation of a resilient character rather than a vulnerable one.

Even so, I find the story humanizing and feel more admiration for the woman who had to defend herself when her mother would not. Political leaders seldom exemplify secure childhoods, but some demonstrate adaptive insecurity. This may be the best we can hope for.

Robin Roger, registered psychotherapist, Toronto

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A near-unanimous conclusion that Donald Trump exhibits “textbook narcissistic personality disorder” is no surprise. What is critical, and even more troubling, is the prospect of millions of voters whose own “anxious, fearful and aggrieved” personal situations may well prevent them from recognizing Mr. Trump’s flaws.

In Gabor Maté’s words, these people “mistake desperate ambition for determination, grandiosity as authority, paranoia as security, seductiveness as charm, selfishness as economic wisdom … lack of principles as flexibility,” among other appalling Trump attributes. Let’s hope this cadre of voters is in the minority. Otherwise, the negative consequences could be global in scope.

Tim Armstrong, Toronto

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If I wrote it, I’d say …

Re One Final Go At A Discredited Practice (editorial, Oct. 17): Your editorial says: “When the cash-for-access scandal first broke last year, Premier Kathleen Wynne recognized the conflict of interest and vowed to stop the practice.”

My editorial would say: When the cash-for-access scandal first broke last year, Premier Wynne stubbornly refused to concede that she and her ministers were in a conflict of interest. Eventually, after a thorough drubbing by the press, Ms. Wynne relented and offered to introduce changes that would have become effective in several months’ time. When this failed to stop the public pummelling, Ms. Wynne reluctantly accelerated the changes, not because she saw a problem with the status quo, but because, according to her, Ontarians objected to what was going on.

Patrick Cowan, Toronto

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I’m going running

Re He’s 85 And Ran 42.22 Km In Under Four Hours (Oct. 17): I was not sure if I was going to run yesterday morning until I opened The Globe and Mail to the Sports section.

Seeing Ed Whitlock’s smiling face and record-breaking time was all I needed. He is my hero and always will be.

Jeanette Greenwood, Thornbury, Ont.

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What ails us

Re Health Ministers’ Meeting Is Preliminary Bout (Oct. 17): Canada, we have a problem. Representatives of the provincial and territorial governments are meeting with the feds with the goal of wrestling more money out of them for the support of medicare. The fact that the status quo is providing Canadians with health-care services that are mediocre at best seems to have escaped their attention. A Commonwealth Fund survey of 11 health care systems in industrial economies put Canada 10th – a position to which we have been sliding for years.

More money will not solve health care’s problems. Those representatives should be talking about ways and means to knit together the poorly connected elements that make up Canada’s non-system of health and health-care services with a common information system and effective leadership. Otherwise, next time Canada will be lower on the list.

Duncan G. Sinclair, Perth Road, Ont.

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Fix it first

Re Better To Pass Bill C-22 Now – And Modify It Later (Oct. 13): Former CSIS director Reid Morden writes that while the intelligence oversight system proposed in Bill C-22 may give the government too much power at the expense of Parliament, it should be passed now and fixed later.

As it stands, C-22 would create a committee without the powers, independence and public trust to get the job done. The PM and cabinet would appoint its members, hand-pick its head, control the information it gets, block investigations into certain areas and revise its reports, unbeknownst to Parliament and the public.

This flawed foundation should be fixed now, not later, and Parliament has the required tools. The NDP has proposed an alternative with members elected by Parliament, given unfettered access to information, freedom to investigate any issue and the power to subpoena witnesses and documents. Canadians would benefit from a new “whistle-blowing duty” to report potential rights violations, and more transparent public reporting.

Enhancing Canadians’ security, rights and trust in security agencies through elected oversight is too important a task to put off.

Murray Rankin, NDP critic for Justice and Attorney-General; formerly counsel to the Security Intelligence Review Committee

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A king’s passing

Despite what King Bhumibol himself may have said, his obituary and the news coverage of the Thai monarch’s death demonstrate a country and a monarchy not unlike that of his great-grandfather, Mongkut, as described by Anna Leonowens during the years when she was present at the royal court during the 1860s (King Of Thailand Ruled For 70 Years – obituary, Oct. 14).

The narrow and romanticized Western perspectives on the country and its king, developed by Margaret Landon in Anna and the King of Siam, and further promoted in the play, The King and I, are not necessarily what Anna observed and wrote about in her own book, The English Governess at the Siamese Court (1870).

Mrs. Leonowens saw a country caught on the cusp between traditional and progressive factions, with Mongkut, who was revered and feared as a virtual deity, struggling to promote Western science and education, and to avoid having Siam appropriated by encroaching European powers.

It is almost forgotten today that Mrs. Leonowens came to Canada in 1878, and that her children and grandchildren exerted a continuing influence on Thailand, especially in commerce and medicine, into the early 20th century.

Plus ça change

Lois Yorke, Halifax

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