Elizabeth May Introduces Open Science Private Member’s Bill

On Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in Parliament, Press Releases, Private Members Bills, Publications
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OTTAWA — Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands and Leader of the Green Party of Canada introduced her open science private member’s bill in the House of Commons today. The bill would make all publicly funded scientific research publicly accessible by law.

Ms. May stated: “My bill will ensure that no prime minister can ever bury government science again. While this problem is not new, the Harper years have seen a shocking burial of evidence into places where Canadians will never see it. The work our scientists do is too important to be hidden from view, simply because it is inconvenient to the Prime Minister’s agenda. The challenges we face require an open and transparent engagement with the facts.”

Lynne Quarmby Green Party Science critic and candidate for Burnaby North-Seymour added: “Democracy only works when everyone has the facts. When a government suppresses scientific evidence, especially from research that the public has funded, democracy is subverted. This is critically true for evidence that contradicts decisions driven by ideology. The private members bill tabled by Elizabeth May will ensure timely public access to publicly funded data.”

Ms. May concluded: “If we are going to survive this century, we need to move away from decision-based evidence-making and truly make evidence-based decisions. Public access to publicly funded science would help ensure that the government relies on the facts, not on ideology. Science is too important to democracy to be kept in a government vault.”

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  • Pierrette Gagnon

    <3, <3,+<3=Elizabeth May…on the ball, AGAIN!!!

  • montezaro

    One more reason why my vote goes to Greens.

  • Peter Breen

    Good stuff

  • Chris Armstrong

    Congratulations on your excellent commentary on the great importance of SCIENCE to and in Canada. As an ex Conservative, I have been appalled by PM Harper’s many disgraceful abuses of democracy, science and scientists, the environment, etc. His pre-election promise of “transparency” turned out to be an outright lie, and his behind closed doors, dictatorial reign has been very bad for Canada’s democratic principles. His omnibus bills are a disgrace.

    • Craig_Hubley

      If you refer to the Harper regime as “The Denialist Entity” then you can avoid giving the impression that it represents conservative or even Conservative voters. Many of whom like yourself realized the corruption and who Harper actually answers to (Enbridge, TransCanada, fracking and other denialists).

    • Cris Paunescu

      You probably didn’t hear this one:
      Canada ranks #7 in the WORLD for MOST OPEN GOVERNMENT!!!
      Kinda’ puts your statement (and May’s rants) to shame, doesn’t it…

      • Chris Armstrong

        Not at all, on BOTH ACCOUNTS ! Check: http://science blogs.com/confessions of a Science Librarian. Just a little of SH’s handiwork, that you apparently totally ignore.

        • Cris Paunescu

          Which part?

          Let’s not compare one man’s opinion with a global research result.

      • http://www.ecoinventions.ca/ Neil Lizotte

        How old is the report and who paid for it?

        • Cris Paunescu

          Try google, it’s amazing. And Canada had absolutely nothing to do with it – just to clear up your insinuation.

      • Alex Baradoy

        Open? Yes, open for business
        .

      • ThinkBeforeYouSpeak
        • Cris Paunescu

          From the article:

          “It is naive to think that you cross that 49th parallel and somehow we’re
          pure as the driven snow,” he said. “Canada does not have a great
          reputation when it comes to the enforcement of white-collar crime. If
          it’s not taken seriously by government, it won’t be taken seriously by
          the corporate sector.”

          There is absolutely no proof of “corruption”.

          You are – at best – naive.

      • Jo. Unrau

        Harper is destroying our country & democracy. You must be blind, deaf, & mentally deficient if you can’t see what he’s doing to Canada, & # 7 isn’t good.

        • Cris Paunescu

          Going past the insults, “destroying democracy”???
          Again (and more):

          World wide rank:

          #7 Most Open Government (first time ever)
          #5 Personal Freedom (first time ever)
          #2 Freedom of the Press (not sure if the first time or not, but we’ve never been number 1)

          We are also the best country in G7 to do business, a creditor nation for the first time in a century or so, the richest middle class in the world, etc.

          Please tell me again how Canada is doing worse.
          Don’t fall for Elizabeth May’s fear mongering, look at facts instead.

          • Atomix

            You need to cite your sources when making this sort of claim. I assume you are talking about http://data.worldjusticeproject.org/opengov/#/groups/CAN. I don’t know about this group, but the write up includes how much access Canadians have to our members of Congress, so it seems contrived. Also, though I could find vague explanations about how they compute the rankings, and the sub-rankings in the URL above, who they actually ask and how they crunch the data is not provided. So to me, this ranking is not credible. However, I like the idea and hope it’s a sincere organization and that the quality and openness of their own data improves so that such a ranking would be useful. Even if this ranking were true, the GP bill makes open access to science LAW, not the whim of the ruling party. Very good idea.

          • Cris Paunescu

            Thank you for a decent reply. I think this ranking is a lot more credible than – say – the UN finding Israel the worst country in the world for women’s rights, yes? (oh yeah, I have some serious issues with the UN…)

            We don’t know much about the system and all that, the people asked, but we don’t know about the people asked in the polls here in Canada. This is international, and a non profit organization so their data should be accurate.

            But I’m sad to see you actually fell for May’s crass political maneuvering – she knew very sell that Parliament goes on vacation today and the election follows, so her Bill doesn’t even make it to some more relevant record keeping. She just did it to continue her constant – and baseless – fear mongering.

          • Carol Bardeau

            Why don’t you go on the Harper website and extoll your ideas to those who may give a damn? We have a different agenda here because we’re familiar with the worn out crap we’ve been fed for so long.

          • Cris Paunescu

            I said this above – people like you complain Ms May is not allowed to participate in some debates…

            Why don’t you try to refute any of my statements instead of trying to suppress my comments (it’s called bullying, maybe? at least trying to limit my freedom of speech, yes?)

          • excusemebut2

            Cause its a troll.

          • excusemebut2

            Crawl back in your conbot denier hole Paunescu. No warming in 18 years… right.

          • Cris Paunescu

            Very nice reply, thank you. Are you a typical example of the AGW cult members?
            And no, there wasn’t any global temperature increase in 18 years and 4 months.

            On the other hand, maybe you can point out what your reply has to do with my post…

          • excusemebut2

            I was just demonstrating how misinformed and delusional you are, that has a lot to do with every bit of crap you post. Your 18 years four months is pure fiction. You have no understanding and no sense. Also accusing May of crass political maneuvering…..as a conbot that this calling the kettle black isn’t it, after the Harper flurry of bills lately introduced for no other reason than electioneering purposes.

          • excusemebut2

            AGW cult members TOO FUNNY…..let us talk about the denial cult, Paunescu you are part of this bunch of brilliant misguided people….and you have a nerve to comment on anything….at all…your credibility is ZIP>>>>>

            1) “The emissions that are being put in the air by that volcano are a thousand years’ worth of emissions that would come from all of the vehicles, all of the manufacturing in Europe.” Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) – Incoming Chairman, Energy & Natural Resources Committee, $733,144 from oil and gas industry in her career

            2) “We have 186 percent of normal snow pack. That’s global warming?” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), $489,933 from oil and gas industry in his career

            3) “Calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice the country, and I believe a disservice to the world.” Ex-Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), $977,624 from oil and gas for his 2012 Presidential Campaign

            4) “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,” Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), $1,463,788 from oil and gas industry in his career

            4) (tie) “I’m not a scientist,” Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), $1,783,169 from oil and gas industry in his career

            6) “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), $295,138 from oil and gas industry in his career

            7) “Anybody who’s ever studied any geology knows that over periods of time, long periods of time, that the climate changes, mmkay? I’m not sure anybody exactly knows why.” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), $129,305 from oil and gas industry in his career

            8) “I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think science does, either.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), on whether human activity causes climate change, $508,549 from oil and gas industry in his career

            9) “And the problem with climate change is there’s never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing.” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), $932,568 from oil and gas industry in his career

            10) “How long will it take for the sea level to rise two feet? I mean, think about it, if your ice cube melts in your glass it doesn’t overflow; it’s displacement. I mean, this is some of the things they’re talking about mathematically and scientifically don’t make sense.” Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), $118,100 from oil and gas industry in his career

          • Lucy1

            Troll….hired troll beware!

      • http://cfajohnson.com/ cfajohnson

        Where was it before harper?

      • Debbie Pineau

        7th, Really??? We should be close to No. 1 where we were before his dictatorship started. Who was he up against, the biggest dictators in the world?? It doesn’t mean much when the majority of the Canadian people know better and see exactly what him and his goons are made of. He can run around the world giving money away acting like the bigshot when the countries on the receiving end don’t get most of it and he’s making cuts to all the public services that Canadians depend on even our defence.

      • Lucy1

        Hired Troll!!!

  • massagrabber

    what oversight can be legally enforced (constitutional challenge to current & past Canadian paid for projects) When the government privatizes all the good stuff will an audit cause legal challenges by Judiciary executive (Minister of Justice) to return to the public purse all costs incurred or projects in it’s entirety or is that too much trouble?

  • Craig_Hubley

    Any response yet from The Denialist Entity?

  • http://www.glendonmellow.com/ Glendon Mellow

    This line:

    “Science is too important to democracy to be kept in a government vault.”

    Thank you Elizabeth May and the Green Party.

  • Concerned Alumni

    Thank you for caring so deeply about science based evidence! Now please let’s figure out who’s behind all that secret geo-engineering going on across our entire country!

  • nothingisimpossible

    A logical bill being introduced… no way this will fly, it’s not nonsensical enough.

    • jones50

      :o ) Too true. If posters on this and similar blogs would post facts rather than rhetoric, intentions like May’s would understood as beginnings to what we’d all better wake up to pretty damned soon.
      Thanks so much for lending a little humor . . . we need it in desperate times. I heard something at a meeting I attended on climate verses capitalism last week – “There is no time left for non-radical action” – yet so many still have their heads buried in the dirt and think the status quo is sustainable!

      • nothingisimpossible

        4 paragraphs… totally not ominous enough.
        Science is the search for truth. Under the current regime, “truth” is often inconvenient.

  • naturefirst

    Beautifully and succinctly said! Vital words for the survival of Canada and the planet; thank you for your voice!

  • D Jackson

    What will make Canada thrive? Canada with grow strong and prosper for future generations when political leaders, federally and provincially, stop selling this country down the road.

    In the past few years more corporate raiders have looked to this country with eyes to exploit our resources than ever before. Water, lumber, natural gas, bitumen, gold, copper, silver, asbestos, even our wildlife is not safe from this onslaught as their lives, are for sale as well. Lets not get into the international bankers that have manipulated their way into government and bypassed the Bank Of Canada to provide interest accruing financing in place of interest free government operating revenue ..the list goes on….

    Trade deals that the Harper Conservations have negotiated, or are trying to push through, are now selling our marketplace to foreign corporations that threaten local sourcing and industry with the Canadian government actually providing legal protection for this exploitation. The Canadian government is selling Canadian citizenship to foreign interests via ill conceived investor programs that are removing more wealth to off shore banking concerns than they are generating for Canadians.

    The biggest and baddest raiders of them all is of course Canadian politicians that believe making it cheap and easy for exploration to take place, will encourage investment and generate quick revenue for provincial and federal coffers, while never giving a second thought to the future livability of this country.

    Will science fix all of these concerns? would science fix some of these concerns?

    When Canadians sit at home watching the evening news and wonder about the direction Canada is taking on the international and domestic stage, quickly followed up with the thought…there’s nothing I can do…I’m just one person and its always been this way ..the rich get richer…. then all the science in the world will not save this country from itself.

    Only Canadians voters can protect this country from these threats by demanding and participating, federally and provincially in the process of having their desires and dreams represented by their elected members of government. If the government is not representing the long term sustainable welfare of your country, your welfare and the welfare of your family then do something about it.

    Elizabeth I admire and respect you…you are the only political member in the house whose words ring with truth and reason but my biggest fear is not that science is being discarded and the truth hidden, but apathetic Canadians that are willing to put up with political treason.

    • jsomerlea

      It is wonderful to see articles like the ones above and to realize that that there are many others in this country who feel the same disgust as I do when it comes to politicians and their corrupt agenda of “Win at all Costs”
      The article above where someone mentioned that Canada ranks 7th in the world when it comes to “transparency” must be a relative of Harper or maybe of Peter “Judas” MacKay. It was reported and which this fool did not mention is the fact that in Environment endeavors Canada was always a leader …Canada is now rated third from the bottom in environmental concerns…..Thanks to Harper and his puppet goons..
      There is 22000 toxic waste reservoirs in Canada and this legacy will grow and grow if HARPER is ever re-elected…..Thousands of Lakes and rivers in this great country that were once protected are no longer by HARPER and his GOONS….I could go on and on but there are brain dead puppets who will follow this clown to the Death Of the Planet…..and I am truly sick of listening to them rant and rave because they truly do not Care ……………… it’s called a” CREED of GREED and a CREED of ENTITLEMENT” Joghn Kenneth Galbraith was so right when he wrote

      “The modern Conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy, That is; The search for a superior moral justification for selfishness”…………..Amen

  • Gerald Chopik

    Great initiative. Thank you.

  • Darrell Cadieux

    From John Dupuis, one of Canada’s top research librarians. He has been compiling this list for years. He calls this a brief outline of the Harper government’s assault on science, environmentalism and anyone who stands in their way:

    http://scienceblogs.com/confessions/2013/05/20/the-canadian-war-on-science-a-long-unexaggerated-devastating-chronological-indictment/

  • Caroline Cameron

    As a former Environmental Engineer, now science teacher, I applaud you!!! Thank you! I show my students what a science-based decision looks like and then show them what the government is doing. They don’t understand how a government can have so little concern for their future.

    • Rob Bright

      Thank you for passing this on to your students, as any good teacher would!

  • Joel David Kettner

    I support this bill. I believe that a fairer distribution of wealth and health in Canada is dependent on a wider and deeper distribution of knowledge and enlightenment.
    Joel Kettner.
    Public health physician.

    • Cris Paunescu

      “Fairer distribution of wealth” you say? Some people believe “public health physicians” get paid a little too much – especially since they get paid from the private sector taxes. Care for a pay cut anytime soon?

      • Rainbow

        There are differences in how much money physicians make, depending on the type of work that they do and where they do it. You might not realize that there is a fair amount of unpaid work that physicians do, often spending evenings and weekends working on unpaid paperwork. You do not know how much money Dr. Kettner makes, nor what he does with that money.

      • Toddi Darbyshire

        In the interest of transparency, who pays you for your remarks on this Green Party site?

    • Johnny Kareem Gagnon

      A sane doctor , we need more of you’s

  • Cris Paunescu

    I just love seeing the comments below, so many people falling for the cheapest political maneuver know to politicians!

    If you people didn’t know, MPs go on vacation now, and most likely there won’t be any other sitting before the government announces the election.

    You see, if Elizabeth May had any real concern about this, she would have done that a long time ago (as she said herself, “this problems is not new “) and not now, when there is absolutely no chance for anything to happen.

    And of course, as she doesn’t have a single hope of getting anywhere politically (I really wonder if she’ll make it as MP again – remember she lost over 400,000 votes last election compared to the previous one), she will do everything in her power to criticize – justly or more often not – our current government.
    Forgetting that Canada ranks #7 in the world for Most Open Governement!

    Oh, as for “science based decisions” – I guess that only applies if Ms May happens to agree with the science.

    • Walter Lannon

      You are a damned fool, or worse.
      You would have fit in just fine in 1933 Germany.

      • Cris Paunescu

        Can you explain that? Or is this just an example of the leftist inclusivness? Yeah, people like you complain Ms May was not invited to the debates – so funny!

        • Walter Lannon

          If I have to explain 1933 Germany to you that means you really are an idiot and probably have not progressed beyond grade 3 yet.
          Try Google. You may learn something.

          • excusemebut2

            Paunescu has an inbred desire to display its ignorance. It uses Google, mind you only to prove its misguided weird ideas. Paunescu also would have a very hard time trying to comprehend why the communication methods of a corporation or union, (non public entities) would be (or SHOULD BE) different from government methods. To busy praying at the Harper altar.

    • djr417

      and what benefit would Canada gain by not making scientific studies public?

      • Cris Paunescu

        You are off the subject. This whole stuff is about “muzzling the scientists” – something the opposition at all levels is trying to paint the goverment with. They are all forgetting, of course, that every entity – business, political party, union, etc – has a communication policy. They have media representatives and all kinds of rules and regulations. See the CBC for the latest example.
        Also, all employers have a certain policy regarding employees badmouthing their employer – not acceptable. Try to go to the press and tell them your employer sucks, see how long before you get fired.
        It’s not about “research based evidence” – as Ms May only accepts what she agrees with, like her statement about the Pope today – it’s about certain scientists trying to make government policy instead of just doing their jobs.

  • http://styrohome.blogspot.ca/ ergodesk

    Not sure how we will die from CLIMATE Change, Bad Air or Drowning?

  • http://coastalcruising.tv Brian David Harding

    Well done again, Elizabeth May! In a time when so many new facts are surfacing regarding public health and the environment, it seems impossible to imagine why governments are hiding or suppressing scientific findings to protect their administrations – instead of the people they were elected to protect! In a civil society, private member’s bills would not be necessary and yet here we are trying to protect ourselves from our governments! May I ask what your position is on climate modification projects that we hear about? https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=95&v=L5is16A8pfw

  • Tim Landon

    What Chris Armstrong said!!

  • Mark Smith

    First off, congrats. And about time. One correction: “The private members bill tabled by Elizabeth May will ensure timely public access to publicly funded data” should read “publicly funded RESEARCH” not data. Data is the stuff that is collected about you and me: our age, sex, occupation, income, criminal history etc and is stored in places like Stats Can, Revenue Canada, the Justice Dept, the RCMP, you get the idea. You are not going to provide timely access to that stuff… ever! What you can do is provide timely access to the RESEARCH that uses that data. Cheers!

    • Cris Paunescu

      Classic! Next time you post your support try and find out what the issue is about. (Temperature and wind speed, or the chemical compositions of aspirin is also data).
      Thanks for the laugh…

  • Johnny Kareem Gagnon

    The poisons nations face are from a perpetual resourced pandemic based on destructive doctrines , covenants and agendas by global cartels

  • Wayne F.

    This falls under “Things that used to be a given…”.
    Another part of what has made us uniquely Canadian: making our environment an important focus. Pioneering in areas such as Experimental Lakes, taking leadership in initiatives such as Kyoto.

    Another casualty of HarperCon.

    Time to reclaim our heritage. Thank you again, Elizabeth.

  • Dani Belle

    As a former biologist for the federal government, I could not be happier with this move. I, and many others, have lost their jobs under Harper. He made us silent (both in fear of losing funding, or losing our jobs). I have lost both and am glad to see you take this seriously. We didn’t know how bad it could get until it did. Time to change that.

  • fhaedra

    Sad that we should need a bill to ensure the research results and evidence-based discoveries made by our scientists will be shared with the public instead of either buried or skewed to suit a self-serving government agenda, but I am grateful to Ms May and the Green Party for having introduced it. Restore rational thought and conscience to the House of Commons. Unshackle our scientists. Canada can be progressive again if we want it to be so. Soon.

  • Andy

    The politicization of science denies the right to analyse anything truthfully. With that in mind one emphasizes “belief” more than “knowledge.”

  • Allan Bowman

    Wonderful, after enduring the Ottawa luddites and their dogmatic anti-science brain deadery (coined word) this is a beautiful and much needed bill. The US, unlike Canada has made public research freely available, and free to its citizens for decades. I hope her bill includes free of charge else the Conservatives will simply put a price tag on everything so that nobody can afford it.

  • Ross

    Well done Elizabeth. Continue the great work!

  • KL Higgins

    I strongly agree and hope that partisan politics don’t get in the way of such an important bill. Well put!

  • jimawa

    Elizabeth – I agree with all publically-funded science being made available to the public, but there need to be a few safeguards for health research. For example, in the North, where there are fewer people (a little over 100,000 for all three territories together), health research results can easily be traced to a particular community, or issue (suicide, violence, alcoholism, diet) even though individuals’ identities are protected. There are currently many safeguards in place to protect health information as researchers have dealt with this for a long time – so it should not be difficult. Traditional Knowledge research needs also be afforded special safeguards due to intellectual property rights of the Aboriginal people and communities who provide it. Again, a lot of work has been done on this and it should not be difficult to implement. If these sorts of safeguards are in place, I am 100% behind making publically-funded research publically available. Timeframes are also an important aspect – many funding programs in my domain state that the data need to be posted publically after 2 or 3 years (to give the researchers time to publish their results and not be “scooped” – you can see an analogy here with journalists for example, albeit with different timeframes). The problem is that there is little incentive for scientists to do so, and few consequences if they do not. One thing that is gaining headway is the publication of datasets in journals, and that these start to be recognized during career development (tenure boards, and promotions, for example). We need to keep pressure on recognition of datasets. In terms of consequences of non-publication of datasets, I believe that more funding programs should withhold future funding (e.g., new research or studies) until these data are published publically. In my field, I am seeing researchers turn to mining old datasets sometimes going back decades to see what change is occurring over time (e.g., climate change). The availability of these datasets is what made such research possible. Good luck!

  • Neb

    I am very happy to have been around when Elizabeth May was. So many great things, thoughts, ideas… Just a big BRAVO!

  • Norm Hutton
  • Norm Hutton

    Ms May’s Private Members Bill will get nowhere. The House will go to summer break before the second reading. . Too late! Maybe try again in thre fall.

  • Valentine

    This would be a very important step to a better Canada (how disturbing that we have to legislate to gain access to what is essentially ours… access to the truth!)….. but it is not enough. Not only must we ensure that science is not buried ever again, we must also ensure that no PM ever again has the power to sign any agreements that undermine the sovereignty of this country, it’s Constitution or Charter of rights nor should he be able to sign any agreement that limits the ability of Canadians to govern themselves. No agreement should ever interfere with any laws or regulations we deem necessary to ensure good health, protect our environment, and promote a healthy economy for all Canadians.

  • http://creativeharmonicsolutions.com/ Bob

    This is refreshing to see a member of parliament doing something for who are supposed to be the boss (the people). Thank you Elizabeth May. I was appalled to see the war declared from Harper on science. The book The War on Science by Chris Turner talks in great detail to how Harper is dismantling Canada science. Harper has a great chance to go down in history for the worst Prime Minister in history. The only issue with this bill is that Harper has a dictatorship and it may be voted out very quickly. It is rare for a MP to vote the way the people want. Just look at the police state bill C51 that should have met its death on the first vote.

  • Lucy1

    http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2013-2014/the-silence-of-the-labs
    Silence of the Labs by W5 *(documentary) indicates the silencing of researchers, their research, and censoring all info (has to go through the government now and then if wanted to sent to the public via media).

    • Lucy1

      5th Estate – sorry not W5

  • Lucy1

    Watch Silence of the Labs by W5 – will talk about the very stuff that this woman is trying to assist with.

  • Lucy1

    Watch Chris Rock movie – Head of State – depicts what is happening to Canada…haters of the Harper are turning to Trudeau as their savior..but in reality its a political move and Trudeau is the lesser or so people think of two evils.

  • Blashy

    That is a great bill of which you have 100% of my support.

    It is weird though that you show yourself as being this big defender of science and yet you believe in homeopathy, pseudo-science that WiFi and GMOs are dangerous and yet the overwhelming scientific consensus on both (over 95%) is that they are not and that homeopath is pure quackery. Yet the GP turns around and is happy to use the 97% consensus on climate change to push for reduced emissions (which is a good thing).

    That’s clearly ideological positioning and not policies based on reason and science.

  • bookersbay

    It is Truth.., Science funded by Municipal, Provincial, or Federal governments should be freely available to “ALL” individuals.. To ‘Not’ do so, is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.. Public Monies should not be mixed into “Corporately-Funded” research, and then buried in Secrecy because of ‘partial’ funding by Corporate Entities…

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