Common Sense Canadian
 

Rafe Mair: Rachel Notley can go to hell for threatening BC over pipeline

Posted May 23, 2017 by Rafe Mair in Energy and Resources
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Alberta Premier Rachel Notley (Flickr CC Licence / Premier of Alberta)

You can go to hell, Rachel Notley.

Now, everyone, repeat after me. OK? Here we go.

There is no risk in transporting Alberta’s bitumen through our forests, over our rivers, past our sparkling, azure lakes, through our cities, into Vancouver Harbour, over the Salish Sea, past the Gulf Islands, through the Straits of Juan de Fuca. No risk involved at all, just an absolutely certain ongoing series of accidents, small, big and enormous just waiting to happen like the flipped penny waits for heads to turn up. In fact, I can tell you after listening to companies and governments lie through their teeth for a great many years that there’s a maxim here, the origin of which is credited to Ralph Waldo Emerson but may go back further: “The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons” – freely translated, the more they downplay and minimize the consequences, the worse they’re sure to be.

Ms. Notley is afflicted with the same problem as Premier Photo-Op in our province – she finds it not just difficult to tell the truth when a big fat lie is available, but impossible. Christy is still lying through her teeth, strictly by accident of course, alleging that LNG is a less harmful fossil fuel to burn than coal, which, besides being untrue, is rather like the ad years ago that went, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”.

So let’s talk about that. Try telling the truth – it only hurts for a moment. Burned fossil fuels cause enormous, ultimately crippling damage to the atmosphere and, of course, our health. Not even kindly old Doc Weaver, who loves “run of river” and Independent Power Producers, would support burning LNG or bitumen – and he’s a climatologist with an infinitesimal sliver of a Nobel Prize to show for it.

Prime Minister Trudeau, Secundum, was once convinced that burning fossil fuels was terrible until he got urgent calls from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers after the Paris Conference on Climate – same guys who control Postmedia, Christy, and the oil-crazy BC Government.

What if BC shipped uranium through Alberta?

Photo: Flickr CC Licence / Premier of Alberta

Ms. Notley, all that codswallop you’ve been barfing about one province not being allowed to stop another province from getting products to market went out with the Stutz Bearcat and the tricycle. You see, we’re not talking products like those back in the good old days of Sir John A, the National Policy and shipping wheat. Bitumen isn’t a product like wheat or pickled prairie oysters but a deadly additive to the atmosphere which, after we let you ship it over and spread ruin in our precious province, is thrust into the atmosphere by your customers and comes quickly back to poison us! Didn’t you know that Premier? And didn’t you know that the Tar Sands whence springs this shit are the world’s worst polluter?

You’re of the Left, Madam, and they’re supposed to care about pollution, destruction and death. Gross indifference as you are displaying belongs to Bay Street and their deadly deniers on the right, including their ambitious acolytes, the ever self-gratifying Liberals.

Here you are, Premier Notley, the caring champions of fair play and decency behaving like greedy, uncaring capitalist porkers at the altar of oil just like the good ol’ boys in the Petroleum Club, whistling past the graveyard, sipping single malt Scotch. Sorry for the naughty but so expressive word, but Rachel Notley, aren’t you fucking well ashamed of yourself?

Here’s a question for you, Premier: BC has scads of uranium. What would you say if we wanted to ship raw uranium down Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, down the South Saskatchewan River, en route to, say, North Korea, to be used – cross our heart and hope to die – for peaceful purposes. Hell, what about uranium to our friends and allies in the good old US?

You’d just as soon ship the stuff to North Korea, you say?

You have a point there Rachel. But seriously, what’s the difference between bitumen and uranium, save in degree and not much of that, only being that uranium may kill us a bit faster than Tar Sands gunk?. Let me put it to you this way – there’s no way in the world you would expose Albertans to death and destruction so that BC can sell uranium without any supervision of its use, yet you have no qualms making British Columbians handle your cannon fodder so Alberta can get rich selling bitumen to countries who will put as much of it as they wish into the atmosphere – and this doesn’t even raise a blush.

I guess it’s sort of like Church on Sunday, foreclose farms the rest of the week.

The pot calling the kettle black

When it comes to building pipelines, Justin Trudeau has Rachel Notley’s back (Flickr CC Licence / Premier of Alberta)

What the hell, eh Premier, the constitutional lawyers at U of A support you, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers supports you, your customers in China support you and, of course, Trudeau the Turncoat supports you.

By the way, Premier Notley, when did Alberta become so dedicated to generosity in the name of patriotism?

When you were barely a teenager, I was attending myriad conferences drawing up the new constitution for the country. Most provinces, including British Columbia, believed that “have not” provinces like Atlantic Canada should get equalization payments from the better off, to give them a helping hand. Alberta? Their Ministers from the top down squealed like a piglet without a teat to suck and told poorer provinces, in patronizing terms, to manage their affairs more carefully like Alberta does – never mind that Alberta has all that oil.

Ah, yes, look at Alberta, once the miser, watching sister provinces eke livings from paltry resources, by an amazing conversion today the very soul of amicable sharing, now skulking about the portals of power with a dagger in one hand and a begging bowl in the other. I guess it all depends upon whose ox is being gored.

This isn’t the Canada I thought we were re-creating back in 1982. With all its flaws, I hoped we’d started down the road to fairness and respect. Now you, Rachel Notley – our own faithless government hoping for a share of your bounty – and Trudeau tell us that these new attitudes of respect and fair play for all, didn’t mean British Columbia, for heavens sake, and our love and respect for the land that we cherish is trumped by the Tar Sands, deadly pollution, environmental rape and the moneyed few.

Get stuffed

Don’t be so cocky, Rachel Notley. We British Columbians, all the way from those who arrived today to old farts like me who were born here, are about to learn what we’re made of.

We didn’t ask to have to defend our home and integrity from attacks from you and big oil any more than we did when Brian Mulroney tried to foist further Central Canadian domination on us with Meech Lake and Charlottetown 30 years ago. Nearly 70% of us told Lyin’ Brian to get stuffed back then and I have the gut feeling we’re about to tell you, Trudeau, the oil industry and the rest of the elite the same.

You’re playing with fire, Rachel Notley, and, like Mulroney, you don’t understand that we have different values in what many call Cascadia – our land, trees, rivers, lakes and farms mean more than dollars; our Howe Sound, Burrard Inlet, Salish Sea, Gulf islands, Straits of Juan de Fuca, our entire magnificent coast up to Alaska, very much including our unique Haida Gwaii, mean a hell of a lot more to us than qualifying for Trudeau’s version of “good Canadians” by genuflecting before Alberta’s self-proclaimed right to place all that in jeopardy in order to get the Tar Sands into the atmosphere and the money into their pockets.

Premier Notley, You had better hope and pray that you don’t piss off the rest of British Columbians as much as you have me.

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About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe is the co-founder of The Common Sense Canadian and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

47 Comments


  1.  
    Reinier

    Damn you still got it Rafe, hard to top that perfect explanation to that bucket mouth fake NDP in Alberta.




  2.  
    Phil Sigmund

    Tell it like it is Rafe! The proposed K-M pipeline is not just stupid its mean!




  3.  

    Thanks, Rafe. Nobody does it better! Now I hope you sent this column to Notley and Trudeau in an e-mail. Don’t bother sending it to the prom queen, though. She’s toast, thanks to the majority of British Columbians……..except those fools in Kelowna West, of course.




  4.  

    right on Rafe.Always interesting comments from you.




  5.  
    Lance A Pace

    Thank you Rafe for putting into words that which I (and obviously many other) feel and think about this issue. This is our Province collectively, to do with and allow as we wish, not as the neighbours think and push for, not as the “Temp”, aka Premier, thinks they can ram through and certainly not at the use and abuse by some corporation playing world sized Monopoly. Sadly we see and read about this very same thing happening or trying to be imposed on people in a number of other locations and countries around the world… all in pursuit of the all mighty buck. Hopefully, we can learn from this to protect our greatest gift… nature!




  6.  
    sue mathieu

    you are totally right the safety factor for oil movement is disgusting. I was born in BC and love it but moved to Alberta with my ex navy hubby to a place were people worked crazy hard and paid enough taxes to support 35 people on assistance per year and famous in all of Canada for supporting people that are down and out. And we hate our premier now too mostly because she is NDP, not for trying to get the province back to work. But there is one huge problem about screaming about this subject. BC has to stop heating your homes with oil, driving your SUV’s to your protests then causing millions of damage with your garbage ( ie. Dakota), poring your waste water into the ocean and they saying the rest of the world is trying to pollute your province. Do you know how to spell IRONY in BC. Its such a joke to be so opinionated when you can see your attitude the minute you drive into your province and the road repair sign guy is smoking a joint. and your roads are shit) also made from oil products by the way). Have your opinion, it is your right as a Canadian but for Christ sakes educate yourselves on anything that is outside BC when you are making comments.




  7.  
    Wayne Roine

    Wayne

    What a inspiring column. These morons are playing russian roulete with our environment. Does anyone remember the Exon Valdez and there is still evidence of the environmental damage that fiasco created! Also the rupture with kinder morgan a few years back when an excavator punctured the line. How many times does it take to wake up and realize the potential loaded gun here. Very well done Rafe give em snoose as my old Grampa used to say! Never say whoa in a tight spot!




  8.  
    Rob

    Thumbs up Rafe , time to get this province back on track and put the respect back in to what we have. The province and environment first , whatever government we may bitch at or dislike should be made to swear to it. Confrontation I’ll be there with bells on.
    EF-YOU Notley Trudeau Clark




  9.  

    You nailed it again Rafe! But while we are standing up against threats from Alberta we have dirty hands connected with the LNG play in North Eastern BC. BC’s voice would ring with clarity if we cleaned up our own backyard and bad habits as well.




  10.  
    David Borth

    Rafe who? Your time is well past

    Nothing common sense – or Canadian – about this old mans opinion.




    •  
      Damien Gillis

      LOL. Says you. Judging by the tide of comments here and on social media, your opinion on Rafe is in the minority.




  11.  
    David Otness

    Thanking you from Alaska, Rafe. Cordova, Alaska. Prince William Sound, Alaska.
    Where we truly comprehend the effects of oil ‘spills’.
    Spills… what an insipid little word to use for such a life and soul-sucking poisonous sludge when it escapes containment in toxic massive quantities.
    Notley, a few short months ago a symbol of hope for change, now caught up in the flow of Alberta’s addiction and another pusher of death to the planet. All for political survival.
    Or so it would appear. Rage on, B.C. One Coast, One People. All the way to the Arctic Ocean. And Beyond.




  12.  
    Dave

    Rafe your one of a kind,you speak the truth, which is more than can be said for Christy,Justin and Ms Motley. You were a good honest politician and a great talk show host and dam good friend on our nights out at the Brew Pub. You carry the flag for all those who want to hold those politicians accountable for there incompetence. Dave.




  13.  
    Earl Richards

    No toxic, tar sands for Vancouver. A spill from a tanker down into Vancouver harbour will hurt Vancouver’s business base. The tanker corporations have no world-class equipment to clean-up a spill. When companies leave, Vancouver’s tax base will disappear. Vancouver will lose tourism jobs and future businesses, as tourist and companies tend to shy away from contaminated areas and companies will not locate in Vancouver. Some pollution messes cannot be cleaned-up. They can only be stopped, before they happen. The tar sands should not be permitted to reach Burnaby.




    •  
      John Merriman

      A spill from a tanker into Vancouver harbour could have far more serious effects than merely hurting Vancouver’s business base.

      So-called “dilbit” has about a 30% content of “diluent’, which is highly volatile, highly flammable, and highly toxic including carcinogenic. A major spill in Vancouver harbour, especially in hot weather, would cause a large cloud of diluent vapour in a basin in a dense urban area. Even without a subsequent explosion and fire, the toxic and choking vapours, in the right/worst conditions, have the potential to cause thousands of deaths, and lingering serious health effects in even larger numbers.

      That would definitely affect the tourist business.




  14.  
    Don F.

    I remember fondly in the early 1990’s (even though I’m told that the nineties were the horrible NDP
    disaster era) I remember fondly doing my work as a carpenter as my ghetto blaster was tuned to Rafe Mair on CKNW. It always brought a smile to my face along with serious thought at the honesty of it.
    Today as I read Rafe’s words I am older and so is he but our relationship remains the same.
    Respect always Rafe!




  15.  
    Bruce MacDonald

    Oh for f$&k sake people calm down!

    Rachel Notley has a long history of progressive politics. She was a union organizer here in BC before her career in Alberta. She had nothing at all to do with Alberta’s tantrum back on the 80s about equalization. That was the previous Conservative government, and you know it.

    Ms. Notley is in an impossible political situation. She has the most vicious right wing in Canada breathing down her neck, insulting her, and literally threatening her life, to the extent that she has to have physical protection that no other Premier needs. She deserves credit for resisting the mindless calls by that same right wing for austerity that would harm the most vulnerable. She opposes tax breaks for the wealthy, tax breaks that ruined Alberta’s finances and made the current downturn far more painful than it should have been. She is trying to bring Alberta in for a soft landing, to eventually get them off fossil fuels, which may be impossible after 40 years of Conservative misrule.

    Rachel Notley is the most intelligent Premier in Canada now. She may be wrong on the pipelines, but I don’t envy her. She doesn’t deserve your contempt.




    •  

      I quite agree that she’s in a very tough, no win situation Bruce, but she sought out and fought for the job. Everything you say in defence of her right to defend herself surely applies to those of us who fight for British Columbia.
      Of course she had nothing to do with the 80s but the policy of that time changed with Ms Notley. The Alberta government reeks with hypocrisy so who do I give the gears to? The buck always comes to the leader of the day which, if she’s honest, says “our attitude was wrong, we’re sorry, and we’ve changed.”
      Far from having my contempt, I believe she’s doing a good job, EXCEPT ..




    •  
      Brad

      You missed out the elephant in the room. Notley campaigned on reforming the royalty rates which the AB NDP had been complaining about for years were too low. The first thing she did was set up a royalty commission and stacked it with bankers and oil company executives. The result was to lower the royalty rates even more in some cases. Rachel Notley talks a good talk, but when push comes to shove, she is completely utterly spineless. She caved in to Big Oil and sold the province out. This sad excuse that Notley is under tremendous pressure from the right-wing is also true for every political party. But if politicians aren’t going to govern on their principles, why bother voting? Notley proved once again that the NDP = No Difference Party.




  16.  
    Teresa Jones

    Thank you and all who follow your great writing. You give me hope and you have a great way with words and speak the truth. The liesmithing that is used by our politicians and the tars and & pipeline liars is really astounding. Most astounding is these people actually think we are just plain stupid. Wow.




  17.  
    Kevin Logan

    The first piece I published here over five years ago: The myth of BC Liberal neutrality on Enbridge outlined how the equivalency agreement was the grand sell out of this government no one ever heard of.

    Found here: http://commonsensecanadian.ca/myth-of-bc-liberal-neutrality-enbridge-christy-clark/

    Today however it seems it is finally coming to the for after having been held up in court in January 2016.

    The Globe published a piece here: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/why-bc-must-do-its-own-review-of-the-trans-mountain-pipeline/article35095482/

    And De Smog Blog here: https://www.desmog.ca/2017/05/18/3-ways-b-c-could-stop-kinder-morgan-s-trans-mountain-pipeline

    So very recently it seems to becoming clearer that revoking the equivalency agreement, as I have been writing here for five years, is key to ending the onslaught of oil and gas strategies which have left BC sidelined.

    However I am concerned it is being used in an attempt to improve the odds of the David Black proposed so called ” Clean ” refinery on our coast currently under environmental assessment.

    I think its important BC use this unique historic opportunity of a minority house to move significantly forward on the many issues that have been left sidelined such as the equivalency agreement under the BC Liberals. (assuming the numbers in Comox hold)




  18.  
    Jim Cooper

    I’m with you Rafe: I’ll protest and go to jail just as we did 40 years ago, when they were putting in the Trident base at Bangor.

    Now that I’m old, it would be well worth it. I’d be shaking hands with friends. No worries about paying the bills. My wife would be fine and the Grandkids would visit and think that their white haired and bearded Papa was a pretty cool guy. They know I do this stuff for them because if the SHTF, I’ll be dead. They’ll have to deal with the consequences, if we can’t send these oligarchs back to the dark side.




  19.  
    Gordon

    Well said, Rafe! My response to CBC (really the best MSM we’ve got despite it’s many faults), was a lame,”Alberta is not going to hold hostage BC’s environment.” Your response was what I wanted to say, but I guess all that lawyer training helps one’s articulation. I am so pissed-and another thing, I used to hate you so much on CKNW-Now, I and sometimes you, sound like old commies, comrade-in-arms, brothers, type commies. What has happened to our sweet province is had to explain to people under 35. I don’t think there’s anything that I disagree with you about now. Maybe loud motorcycles-I’m guilty of that. If this last election goes favourably to the (Hold your nose and vote) NDP maybe some people will grow spines and get BC on a path as, Joni Mitchel says “back to the garden”. Thanks. Cheers.




  20.  
    Linda Babb

    Good for you Rafe – you could always be counted on to tell it like it is!! Fond memories of knowing you when I worked with the late Jack Kempf, MLA!!




  21.  
    Dennis

    One of the many garbage online papers that censor the truth to deliberately deceive the public




  22.  
    Dennis

    Have you looked at what you are doing in north-eastern BC? It’s not so beautiful what hydraulic fracturing (fracking) does to the planet. 1000 toxic chemicals poured into your water supply and it’s going on 24/7 right under your nose. Odd how some people slap another person in the face while never noticing their own vanishing beauty.




  23.  
    SANDRA

    ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT RAFE , AND SO WELL SAID.




  24.  
    Lynn G Wilbur

    Thank you Rafe, you speak the truth!! The truth will set us free.




  25.  
    Earl Richards

    NO TOXIC, TAR SANDS PIPELINE THRU THE ROCKIES The tar sands have to be stopped at the BC/AB border, because if there is an avalanche or an rock slide against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, the pipeline would break and destroy the surrounding environment and ecology. Even if, the clean-up equipment did exist, it would be impossible to access the damaged areas in the mountain passes and in the mountains. Many of these areas are not accessible by a mountain goat. The oil from the tar sands will seep down through the rocks during a spring run-off, to spawning streams and rivers and destroy the sport and salmon industries. The salmon are the life blood of BC. The damage would be widespread and irreversible. So what? No tar sands for beautiful BC.




  26.  
    Ann-Marie Hunter

    It’s too late for Notley to pray she hasn’t pissed off the rest of British Columbians! Already done! Thank you for your flat out rant against this sinful situation! I agree wholeheartedly that Rachel Notley is the one who has no rights here – no right to pretend that our stand against the KM pipeline is wrong! We’re not going to lie down and allow Alberta to pave our province with their dirty tar!




  27.  
    Earl Richards

    Nutley and Trudeau should read, “Michigan oil spill effects could be repeated here,” by Michelle Barlond-Smith.




  28.  
    Anne Peterson

    I don’t even live in BC and I know you are correct. Born and bred in Alberta. So incredibly disappointed in Trudeau AND Notley.




    •  
      Beau Fodd

      i, too, was born and bred in Alberta. And profoundly disappointed with Trudeau and aghast that Notley thinks she can govern our territory in BC.

      I thought that in the beginning, the BNA Act which created Canada and established the division of powers between the Federal Government and the Provinces, the Provinces were granted “PROPERTY AND CIVIL RIGHTS.” So BC has every right and power to say what happens in our Province, not Trudeau or Notley.

      End of discussion. NOT?




  29.  

    Dear Mr. Mair,

    I would just like to point out, as a Councillor for the City of Port Alberni at the head of the beautiful Alberni Inlet which empties into Barkley Sound amongst the protected Broken Group of islands and the gateway to the Pacific National Park Reserve and West Coast Trail… those tankers come within a few dozen miles of PRNPR and any spill, with prevailing SE winds, would push straight into the unspoilt beauty of the West Coast Trail, Broken Group, Long Beach.

    Yet none of these areas are on the areas of concern identified by the Kinder Morgan funded West Coast response oil cleanup group. And even if they were, they admitted to me at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities meeting in April (which you can see notes from on my website) that their spill response is ineffective in “Beaufort 4” or worse conditions which… for those who are not Marine savvy (perhaps that is why they used that term) relates to wind speeds of only 25kph (11-16knots). This is not even “Small Craft Warning” level conditions.

    So thank you Mr. Mair, again, for your tenacity.

    Sincerely,
    Chris Alemany
    Councillor – City of Port Alberni




    •  

      In fact, Chris, oil cleanup with bitumen is, to all intents and purposes, non existent with bitumen and I urge everyone to google Kalamazoo oil spill and learn about what Enbridge called “not a major spill” is like now, 6 1/2 years later.

      For reasons that escape me neither Kinder Morgan nor thr Trudeau, Notley and Clark group don’t want to talk about this and here’s where you really act surprised, neither does Enbridge!

      There is, however, a world record and you were there! Never before in the field of government/oil company solemn faced, three piece suit lying through the teeth and avoiding the nasty bits, has so much raw, steamy bullshit been pumped into the media and the general airstream with such an adverse reaction that even though the oil industry owns the three governments involved and Canada’s largest newspaper chain they are not just losing what little credibility they have, they’ve completely exhausred their supply of BS before the battle is in full swing. “




  30.  
    Reinier

    Is the Alberta NDP really NDP or is it Conservative left?




  31.  
    Troy

    Great points Rafe, however,it is sad how many people support what you are saying, but are afraid to repeat it publicly or in their own social circles out of fear they will somehow be seen as “too” radical. It is not radical to want to preserve the world for future generations. It is not radical to want positive, progressive change. Dont be afraid…




    •  

      Troy – when you are an old fart like me, one foot in the grave, the other on a banana peel, you have greater things to fear than political pissants like Trudeau, Notley and Clark.

      Regrettably, I’m no longer fit enough to march but I intend to make every sffort to be subject to any legal ramifications that flow from the non violent actions I beg all British Columbians to take whenever possible. I am not a particularly courageous man but I’m quite prepared to go to jail if that’s how Trudeau, Notley, and Clark want to treat British Columbians who only insist upon the right to preserve and protect what God gave then in trust for future generations.

      I urge upon all British Columbians to fight gack against this rapacious and destructive trio and you could do no better than hearken to these words from someone who knew something about defending rights and princioles

      “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
      Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

      Bless you all

      Rafe




  32.  
    gragor

    Ralph. If we’re going to ship Uranium through Tarberta we have to insist that is is safely contained in a ‘World Class’ ® pipeline system as a highly concentrated slurry.

    Sure starter. It won’t be a problem because Pipelines Never Spill and Never do any Damage. ®

    ® Registered trademarks of the Government of Alberta




  33.  

    Rafe, you are officially BC’s resident badass with that wonderful column..you said what so many of us are thinking, and, being on Vancouver Island I can really appreciate what is so clearly at stake..what I don’t understand is why the party I refuse to belong to but always vote for is keeping silent about this traitor to the principles we supposedly adhere to…at the very least, Notley should be booted out of the NDP and have to sit out her remaining time as Premier of Alberta as an independent…Peter Lougheed is starting to look prescient…




  34.  
    Jamie

    Thank you Rafe, and if I can refer to your last sentence (which oddly has a capital ‘Y’ on ‘you’), she’s pissed me off exactly that much.




  35.  
    Sandra Harris

    So well stated Rafe! Thank you! When do we start holding these greedy corporations and their bought ‘n paid for political sewer rats legally accountable for ecocide/environmental terrorism and crimes against humanity? ‘They’ are risking my grandchildren’s futures and the futures of all children on this planet… all life! I’m also a very pissed of British Columbian!! We are all disposable commodities to the morally bankrupt elites and the puppet politicians.




  36.  
    Glenda

    Could not agree more





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