Updates from February, 2020 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 22:09 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

    A last-minute change to Bill 40, forced through on Friday to abolish school boards, also gave the new service centres the right to take over municipal land for free.

    Anyone else dislike the expression “service centre” (“centre de service” in French)? It sounds like a gas station or repair depot.

    Some discussion of the complex new law by Jonathan Montpetit.

    • Ian 09:08 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

      There’s lots of stuff that is super unclear right now. For instance, where does one go to get the certificate of eligibility for school in English? That used to be at the school board, and is required before applications for a new school will be processed. Some high schools are having their open house in March.

    • Meezly 11:36 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

      I understand that school boards can be cumbersome, inefficient, bureaucratic and wasteful of taxpayer’s money but abolishing the CSDM is so lacking in any sense of foresight, consultation and logistics, it’s astounding. Now both the EMSB and CSDM, as well as other entities like the City of Mtl are going to fight the CAQ for different reasons, wasting even more time and resources. It’s going to be a complete gong show.

    • Kevin 12:13 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

      It was always possible to get the certificate through a school as well, IF the people at the school were competent. (I know, many were not so some people just gave up on the whole process.)

      However doing all that paperwork was often only started in mid-August.

    • Spi 12:26 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

      I’ve heard in several interviews that the new law essentially abandons the idea of a “local school” and that people will be able to register their children wherever they desire (probably within the geographical area covered by the same school board/service center), Does anyone have information on this?

    • Ian 14:46 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

      @Kevin for the last 15 years I have been sent directly to the school board – maybe it varies form board to board. I suppose that now the schools will have to do it in any case.

  • Kate 21:56 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

    There was a pipeline protest Monday outside the riding office of Justin Trudeau, which is in a fortress-like building on Crémazie.

    • Kate 19:20 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

      City hall has launched a new renovation program with conditions intended to avoid renovictions and support affordable rents. It has already met with mixed reviews.

      • Kate 19:17 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

        A full week of snow removal is expected, especially with more snow in the forecast and after delays on Monday caused by more accumulations of snow.

        • Kate 19:16 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

          Two buildings in Villeray were badly damaged by fire Monday afternoon, but nobody was hurt. The cause is under investigation.

          • Kate 19:10 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

            The Alouettes have changed their minds and decided to keep their cheerleaders after all.

            • Ian 09:09 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              Glad to hear it, that was a cheapskate move. Cheerleaders get paid next to nothing as it is.

            • John B 11:52 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              Salaries are probably the cheapest part of the squad, (maybe even less than pompoms?). Travel and lodging could add up though.

            • Jack 12:28 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              I played College football a hundred years ago and when I ran onto the field I’d ask myself what motivated cheerleaders, why would they bother. Then because I was asking questions like that I’d get ran over.

            • Michael Black 12:56 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              I remember one time when they had tryouts for cheerleaders, and they all seemed to have a dance background. So maybe this is a way of doing something like that while earning a living in a more mainstream career.

              Cheerleaders get shown in movies as a secondary role, but I suspect they themselves think of themselves in a different fashion. And maybe they just have fun, which is always a reason to do something.

            • dwgs 15:51 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              The cheerleaders don’t travel to games, not regular season ones anyway.

            • John B 17:11 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

              Thanks @dwgs, I didn’t know, (you can tell how much football I watch…)

          • Kate 14:06 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

            Azure magazine shows us some of the views inside the Olympic tower since the renovation.

            • Kate 13:40 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              A woman who gave up her car and takes public transit describes the experience for CBC.

              • Ian 15:58 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                “Without the burden of a car, I was able to save up and buy a house near the Metro with my partner on our entry-level salaries. ”

                lol whut

                I didn’t have a car fo 47 years and I have no idea wtf this person is talking about, how the hell do you manage to save 20% for a down payment on 2 entry level salaries with a house (!) near a metro?

              • Ian 16:10 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                average house price in Verdun is 780k (shupilov.com)
                average Montreal entry level salary 27.5k (salaryexplorer.com)
                Cost of owning the least expensive new car (Chevy Spark) with 20% down: 955/month (until it’s paid off in 3 years, then 502/month)(ratehub.ca) …of course if you buy a used compact car and use a line of credit with a low interest rate it’s substantially less, but I digress.

                Now I’m not a mathematician but those numbers don’t add up. If she’s willing to flub those numbers I wonder what else in this op-ed is completely made up.

              • vasi 16:42 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I suspect “house” here means a condo, or shared ownership of a duplex? You can get those in Verdun for about 300K.

              • Bryan 17:54 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Plus, cost of ownership for a car goes way beyond a monthly car payment.

              • Blork 17:58 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Condo or half duplex NEAR THE METRO for $300K? I don’t think so.

              • John B 18:21 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Depends on what you mean by “near.” A 1-bedroom condo 10-15 minutes walk from the metro can still be had for relatively cheap.

                But if you want somewhere to put kids, or outdoor parking for a bike with a trailer or giraffe, the price goes up really fast.

              • Bert 18:50 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I have t question the reasoning power of someone who drives from Verdun to the West Island and decides that the Decarie is a good idea.

              • qatzelok 20:33 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Last month, I found myself talking to a young couple from car-dependent Jonquiere who are living in her father’s basement while they ‘save for an apartment or house.” They then told me they both drive SUVs.

                I told them that I haven’t had a car in 30 years, and that the average car owner (here) spends more than $10,000 per year on car-related expenses. This means that I’ve saved a third or a million dollars by not owning or driving one. That amount of money will get you a fine house on the green or blue line.

              • Ian 20:52 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Oh right, that’s why after 47 years of not driving I’m still renting, it’s the last 3 years of owning a 9k 10 year old hatchback that made me unable to buy a house. Puh-leez.

                Also worth noting that oft quoted 10k figure assumes you are driving a brand new car and counts depreciation as a cost.

              • Blork 21:19 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Ian is correct about that 10k figure. It assumes a mid-range car, lots of maintenance costs, high insurance, much driving, and daily downtown parking. The cars I owned in my 30s were beaters. I’ve done the calculations a few times and generally they cost me about $2500 a year, including the cost of the car, repairs, parking, insurance, and gas.

                My current car is the only car I ever bought new. I bought it 13 years ago. Calculating capital cost, interest, insurance, repairs and maintenance, tires, and even gas comes out to roughly $3000 a year. And that doesn’t include the $3000 or so I could sell it for.

              • JP 21:32 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I have a few issues with the article.

                Not everyone can live within 30-perfect minutes commuting distance (via public transportation) from their work. Over the last 8 years, my full working life, I’ve worked at 4 different companies (in VSL, Pointe St. Charles, Old Montreal, and presently the West Island). I went to all of them by public transport, except recently, when I just started driving. There is no way I was going to move around for each job.

                The bus network does need to improve, and she does acknowledge that.  However, I think part of it also has to do with your threshold for dealing with the public and other people. I think my tolerance for “bad” behaviour has tremendously diminished. I took the 470 bus for the first-time in months on Friday to avoid driving. Of course, an adolescent male disgustingly spits onto the bus floor, not too far from where I’m sitting. So grateful I have a car now, and don’t have to deal with that. I take the bus/metro on weekends and enjoy it, but I’ve realized the 470 is a special ride. 25 minutes with the same people, no stops. I also find people way too aggressive, and frankly, can’t deal with it.

                Definitions of things like “close to the metro” and “entry-level salary” also vary. I say I live “close to the metro” to people, but what I really mean is a 12-minute bus ride to the metro, which I don’t think is too far at all. . I also say I make an entry-level salary, but it’s definitely not 27,500.

              • EmilyG 23:17 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I find that the 470 isn’t bad, unless you’re sitting near someone talking on the phone for the entire time.
                Though I do often find bus rides hard to deal with, I hate driving.

              • EmilyG 23:19 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Though I only learned to drive recently, didn’t drive much, and gave it up as it wasn’t for me. So I’ve mainly lived without a car. It’d be different for someone car-dependent who gave it up.

              • Dhomas 00:14 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                @Ian you can buy a house with a 5% down payment (https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/down-payment.html), and not necessarily 20% . For a $300k condo, that’s only about 15 grand. You can easily spend that much on car payments/gas/repairs/insurance/registration/etc over a couple of years.

              • Kevin 08:18 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                If you’re trying to buy a house with a 5% down payment, you can’t afford a house. You’ll spend tens of thousands dollars more on a mortgage over your lifetime, and you’ll be screwed when the house is due for a major repair.

              • Ian 09:02 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Even so, the writer claimed that by not having a car she was able to save enough to buy a house near the metro… so let’s say she found one at only 300k (!) and 5% is only 15k (more like 20k when you add in normal moving costs and everything) … we already established even a high estimate of the cost of owning a car is about 10k a year so she still couldn’t afford it… unless she means the she went without a car for a couple of years before she bought …
                And according to ratehub at the least expensive rates that means she’s locked into paying $1326/month for the next 25 years, not taking repair and upkeep cots into consideration… and if it took her a couple of years to come up with 15k, she is going to feel pretty broke paying that mortgage to the tune of $15 912 a year, plus taxes.

                Don’t get me wrong, I think you should totally get rid of your car if you don’t need it, having a car is generally a pain in the ass and more trouble than it’s worth unless (for instance) you have an otherwise problematic commute to contend with… but lying about your finances to improve your greener-than-thou bona fides is weak.

              • Kate 10:39 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Thanks all for the discussion. It sounded pretty ill-founded to me when I read the article – it’s like the occasional piece about the virtuous zero-waste people who, it turns out, live in the suburbs, shop in bulk because they have a car, and have big houses where they can store their purchases.

                CBC, it’s not helpful to run these virtue-signalling pieces that dissemble some of the major elements of the story.

              • Tim 10:39 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Ian, did you miss that the author bought a place with her partner? Assuming that her partner is also a university grad, I will make a guess that their entry level salaries are around $30k-$35k each (hopefully more). That level of income can easily handle the numbers that you use and their salaries will grow as they age. Stating that she is “lying” about her finances is a strong accusation.

              • Meezly 11:24 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                I liked the piece. I thought she gave some practical advice, which is basically if you think you have the criteria to go car-free, give it a trial run and see what happens. It’s possible to save up a lot of money by being budget-minded, esp. if you have a partner. It would’ve been nice to know how long it took for her to save up for a down payment though! She doesn’t seem to be uber-virtuous. Sure, she studied climate science but she shops at Costco like any other person. And who says people who live in big houses in the suburbs and need to drive can’t try to mitigate their impact in other areas? Suburban households have bigger carbon footprints than urban ones, so if this family sets an example for other suburban families then its win-win, right?

              • John B 11:47 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                If getting rid of the car = enough money to buy a house then there would be a lot fewer cars on the road, and Montreal wouldn’t be the rental mecca it is.

                We also got rid of our car, seven years ago. When our car was stolen we realized we spent $4k a year on the car, (all-in with fuel, insurance, repairs, parking tickets, and everything. It was an old car), and thought that $4k buys a lot of bus & train tickets, and rental cars when needed.

                Generally it’s great. We live a block from the metro. When I do drive it’s often rented cars, which are new and in pretty good shape. When the weather’s good I ride my bike everywhere and my fitness is better than it has been in years, (hauling a couple of kids up the Glen or Berri hill on a regular basis will do that). I’d like to get a winter bike setup going next year – although I have nowhere to store it, so I’ll have to figure that out.

                But as our kids get older and get into activities a car is looking more tempting:

                For any intercity travel it’s cheaper to rent a car than take public transportation once there’s more than 1 person going.
                Trains in North America emit more carbon per person than a car once you have 3 people in the car, (often you only need 2 people).
                Even travel in-town can be expensive. If you already commute by transit, (work from home, stay-at-home, or walking-distance commuters), and therefore don’t have a transit pass, a round-trip is about $6. For a child it’s about $4. That starts to add up.
                Our son has started playing soccer. Try getting to a game in Dorval without a car. It’s probably doable, but not fun, or fast.
                Communauto is not cheap. I took it to a soccer practice in Chateauguay on the weekend – it cost $39. Maybe I could adjust my plan, but their pricing is pretty confusing and I don’t know if it would come out any cheaper.
                Communauto cars aren’t great. The one I took on the weekend wasn’t full of dog hair like most of them are, but it shook like crazy on the highway.
                It’s a pain to go get normal rental cars, but they are cheaper & nicer than carshare cars.

                On the other hand, I got to enjoy the sunny snowy weekend while watching everyone else shovel their cars out of the snow. I do not miss that at all. Getting somewhere by metro is fine, even great, but I’d love to be able to go places that the metro doesn’t go without planning, whether it’s better busses, trams, or more trains on the Exo lines, (come on, give us hourly service all the time on all lines at least!)

                Also, as I get older I’ve noticed I get motion-sick more easily, and the reduction of forward-facing seating in buses is not helping the situation.

            • Kate 13:35 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              On the weekend, Patrick Lagacé wrote a column about a reader’s anecdote about how she and her party had been asked to hide their wine in a restaurant because the owners also had a reservation for a larger party of observant Muslims who didn’t want to see anyone drinking. Lagacé refers to them in one passage as “moyenâgeux réfractaires au vin” but on the whole it’s a reasonably calm retelling of an incident at the border of two cultures. He also makes a point about how religious strictures – even someone else’s – can affect older Québécois who remember the hegemony of the Catholic church here.

              What’s interesting is the twitter thread that followed. Richard Martineau jumped on Lagacé, saying had he written the same anecdote he would’ve been accused of more Islamophobia. Lagacé dissects the difference in a few terse tweets.

              • Kevin 16:15 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Would Lagacé — would anyone — have written that piece if it was an AA meeting making the request?

              • Chris 16:39 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                Kevin, I sure hope they would!

                Or another analogy: if some vegans booked 30 seats and the waiter told other patrons they couldn’t order meat today. You don’t think many people would be outraged?

                This seems to me an example of: should we tolerate the intolerant? These particular Muslims (allegedly) are intolerant of societal norms and sought to impose theirs on others. Like it said at the end of the article, they should have just been told when reserving: we are BYOB, accept or decline, up to you.

                If you hate meat so much, go to a vegetarian resto. If you hate booze so much, so to a dry resto. The resto chooses what they serve, if you don’t like it, don’t go.

              • Blork 18:24 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                As with everything, there are subtleties here that should be mentioned. First, the restaurant is BYOW, and the owners are muslim. You could argue that allowing people to bring wine is the owners’ accommodation for the non-muslim majority — an accommodation they can withdraw if they want to. After all, there is no absolute right to drink wine on someone else’s property. I can open a restaurant and declare that nobody can ever drink in that restaurant and that would be legit.

                Another thing to consider: this is reportedly a very small restaurant, so the group of 30 muslims probably just about filled the place. When they made the reservation — a lunchtime reservation mind you — they undoubtedly asked the owner, who they knew to be muslim, if the restaurant could be alcohol-free when they were there, and the owner said it would be. That’s not unreasonable on the part of the customers; they simply made a request. It’s not all that unreasonable for the owners because it’s their restaurant and they probably didn’t think there’d be any lunchtime drinkers.

                The complication comes with the mixup over the times. The owners though the wine-drinkers were coming in the evening, but they came for lunch — just before the group that had asked for the restaurant to be alcohol-free.

                Let’s take a step back and think about the days when people were allowed to smoke in restaurants. Imagine you have a small restaurant and a group reserves almost the entire place on the condition that it be smoke-free while they are dining. But then a smaller group shows up just before them and they light up. It would not be unreasonable for you to ask the smaller group to not smoke — to tell them they can only eat there if they don’t smoke because you promised a smoke-free restaurant to a larger group. The smaller group can choose to either dine without smoking or go elsewhere. It’s natural that the larger group’s request takes precedence, especially if (as the restaurant owner claims) they were not expecting the smaller group at that time.

                The main thing is that this is entirely on the restaurant owner, not the group of muslims. The muslim group simply made a request. The owners could easily have said no, but since the owners are muslims themselves there might be some community pressure or it could simply be that they are friends and acquaintances and the owners were happy to host them even with the condition that — for a muslim — did not seem very unreasonable.

              • Kate 08:55 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                As I understand it, the owners should probably not have allowed anyone to bring wine in. Having wine in the place suggests it is not halal, and that’s probably what the owner was worried would be concluded by the observant clients, whom they may have feared wouldn’t grasp the technicality that the wine hadn’t been sold by the restaurant.

              • JaneyB 09:33 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                @Blork, @Kate. Lovely subtle points. Real life and real people are often much more complicated than the debates.

              • Chris 10:54 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Blork, some good points, I certainly agree this screw up is entirely on the restaurant owners. I don’t think your smoking analogy is so good though because: secondhand smoke is proven dangerous, whereas merely being around alcohol is not. It’s the difference between a rational fact-based worry, and an irrational one. I think my vegan analogy is better.

                Kate, why should the owner worry that the Muslim clients would conclude that the place is non halal? The owner himself doesn’t claim it is be a halal resto.

              • Kate 10:55 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Chris, just a surmise. Lagacé doesn’t mention halal either way. And the smoking comparison is neither here nor there. If one of the owners was assuming their observant clients would expect the resto to be run on halal principles, then wine wouldn’t be welcome there, even at another table. (I know people who run a halal operation. They don’t have a licence, but neither do they make it BYOB.)

              • Chris 12:01 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Lagacé indeed doesn’t mention halal either way. Failing to point out this resto was halal would be an insane omission, no? Therefore, it’s not a halal resto. Anyway, how could a BYOB place be halal? Pretty much contradictory.

                Again, these ‘observant clients’ surely googled the resto and saw that it wasn’t halal and was BYOB. i.e. they should have known and been prepared for other patrons not all sharing their worldview. They shouldn’t have been promised otherwise. What harm does it do to you if someone at another table is drinking wine? (An activity typical to the establishment you chose to visit.) How is that not something you can tolerate?

              • Blork 14:10 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                @Chris, I don’t think my smoking analogy is bad, because it hinges on what the customer asks for. WHY they ask for it is a separate issue.

                Also, you might think their request, based on their belief, is irrational, but the reality is usually more complex. Ardent atheists like yourself tend to be very dismissive of religious beliefs, as if they are little more than grown ups believing in fairy tales. But for the religious faithful they can be much more than that. Things like the alcohol ban can be woven into the community, so it’s more than just a magical belief, it’s a sign of their moral values and their community identity.

                Surely there are some behaviours that you object to. Would you want to have dinner next to people who are shooting heroin? Plenty of heroin users use it casually and don’t develop addictions, so why not? Maybe because it freaks you out a bit and you think of all those people who are destroyed by heroin. Well maybe a devout muslim family thinks about all the people and families that are destroyed by alcoholism and drunk driving, and all the crimes and misbehaviours conducted by people who are intoxicated. Sure, plenty of people drink and don’t have a problem with it, but remember my note about heroin, above.

                So it’s not about being “afraid” of a bottle of wine. It’s about identifying as a group who shun alcohol and who perhaps think a lot about the damage done by alcohol. So when they reserved for a group lunch they likely chose a muslim-owned restaurant specifically because they felt asking for an alcohol-free space during that time was not unreasonable. Bearing in mind it was lunchtime and AFAIK that group of 30 likely dominated the space.

                BTW, not all restos mention BYO on their websites (especially ones owned by muslims). I doubt they thought the place was halal.

              • Blork 14:16 on 2020-02-11 Permalink

                Oh, and just to flog the dead horse a bit more, here’s another possible analogy.

                Imagine you live in the US, in an “open carry” state where MAGA nuts walk around brandishing guns a lot. Imagine you’re not one of those people. So you and 29 of your non-MAGA friends know of a restaurant owned by a fellow non-MAGA who doesn’t like open carry but tolerates it because that’s the dominant culture.

                So you phone them up and ask if the would put up a “no guns” sign for an hour while you and your friends took over most of the restaurant space for a big lunch. Does that sound unreasonable?

                It would sound unreasonable to the MAGA nuts. They’d accuse you of all sorts of things including being “afraid of guns.” (Maybe your gun control stance isn’t based on fear of the object but an understanding that things are better when there are fewer of them.)

                It’s kind of the same thing. It’s about deeply felt beliefs that aren’t necessarily “magical.”

            • Kate 09:13 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              Don’t look now, but there’s a snowfall warning up with 15 cm expected Monday.

              • JaneyB 09:39 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I can’t look now – my windows are blocked by snow lol. Ackkk!

            • Kate 09:05 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              A big development is coming to Bleury south of Sherbrooke and is likely to wipe out some of the old buildings there, tacking their sad façades onto its front.

              • Phil M 18:40 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                It’s facadism, to be sure, but if the renderings are to be believed, it might actually improve the condition of the facades. And it seems like the higher floors will be set back behind the original buildings somewhat, utilizing the large empty space behind them (as well as the parking lot between them and the Blackwatch base).

                Of course, it’s Canvar, so the quality will be cheap, but it seems like a better plan than Le Smith, across the street. The east side of the street is so run down and depressing, though. As much as I don’t like facadism, there’s no other way the street will be restored, since no developer would invest in that area just to prop up a few old buildings (which is why they’re in their current state). Also, those facades are protected, so they can’t be demolished, either.


            • Kate 08:56 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              The woman who did the bus stunt on Friday has been identified and is defending her risky action as part of a ploy to get into a career as a stuntwoman. The Journal even got hold of her father, who said he disapproves. Cassandre Thomas is 19.

              I don’t believe there’s a conventional route into stunt work, so who knows, this may work as well as anything.

              • walkerp 11:38 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I hadn’t actually seen the video until today. It was pretty bonkers and dangerous. And what about the back of her clothes? Anyhow, I wouldn’t do it, but it’s kind of impressive. She may have a career, but I hope she will also develop some wisdom so that lasts!

              • Myles 14:00 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                If I were hiring stuntpeople, I’d expect them to prioritize safety. Hiring someone with such poor judgment seems like asking for trouble.

              • Kevin 16:16 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I have a friend who used to be a stuntman (he’s been killed on every TV show filmed in Vancouver.

                This is not how you get into the business.

              • Blork 17:55 on 2020-02-10 Permalink

                I’m not defending this stunt, but a look at her Instagram feed shows that she’s a bit of a nut for crazy sports and stunts and whatnot. It’s full of videos of her popping wheelies on motorbikes, water skiing in weird places, doing crazy backflips off of cliffs into the water and whatnot. So I don’t think this was explicitly a “stunt job CV” thing; it’s just part of a series of somewhat extreme things she does on video (usually in a bikini).

                To her credit, she also shows the fails, including a lot of scraped arms and legs other minor injuries.

                So yeah, this isn’t how you get into the business, but these days it is how you get noticed (for better or worse).

            • Kate 08:51 on 2020-02-10 Permalink | Reply  

              The Exo Candiac line has been blocked in Kahnawake in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en first nation’s pipeline protest in British Columbia. VIA trains to Toronto are also still blocked at Belleville.

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