Hamilton·Hamilton Votes

Here are the 13 people who want to replace Matthew Green in Ward 3

Ward 3 is one of the most interesting races this election, with 13 people vying for a ward without an incumbent.
There are 13 people running in Ward 3. (City of Hamilton)

Ward 3 is one of the most interesting races this election, with 13 people vying for a ward without an incumbent.

The ward is located in the central lower city. It's a ward with some of the greatest challenges when it comes to poverty, and also the area experiencing the steepest gentrification.

Matthew Green represented it from 2014 to 2018. He was Hamilton's first black city councillor, and the most open about his views when it came to diversity and social justice. Green plans to vie for the Hamilton Centre federal NDP nomination next year to replace David Christopherson, who is retiring. In the meantime, he's serving as executive director for the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

The 13-candidate slate includes diversity and some deep knowledge of the ward and municipal government. The election is Oct. 22.

Other ward profiles:

Here's a look at who's running:

Milena Balta

Milena Balta. (Milena Balta)

Occupation: Business owner in Ward 3 since 1986; BBM Business Systems.

Where do you live?: I lived in Ward 3 when I came to Hamilton. Now I am located on the east mountain. I have family living in Ward 3.

Past experience: Running a small business is always challenging, especially today. Rotary president and being involved in fundraising as well as community support. My Rotary club provides two bursaries per school in five Hamilton schools. One bursary is college and the other for university. I have taken courses all my life, management, human resources, communication and degree.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

Infrastructure, affordable and low income housing, safety and security of the residents and creating mentoring and counselling centre.

Do you support LRT?:

I support express BLAST network transit using new technology electric buses and connecting the whole Hamilton including suburbs.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I have extensive small business experience and also charity involvement; past president and 20 years member of Rotary; NTEC — Nikola Tesla Educational Corporation, director and heavily involved in fundraising and supporting community.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I grew up extremely poor and had Grade 8 education. Spent all my life pursuing higher education on a part time basis. while raising three children and working full-time.

Alain Bureau

Alain Bureau. (Alain Bureau)

Age: 58.

Occupation: Co-owner of a web-based business.

Where do you live?: Ward 3 near Sherman and Main.

Past experience: I have extensive involvement in our community, past and current, that covers many areas a candidate needs to experience and understand before entering city hall. My wide-ranging professional experience in finance, healthcare and law covers that same premise as does my personal life experience.

To truly represent an understanding of our community, one has to walk our streets, have meaningful conversations, and work alongside a multitude of different people, groups, organizations and stakeholders. I am grassroots, not politically aligned, and devolve from community.

In the past four years, I have been involved in over 30 different community initiatives or organizations in Hamilton, as well as have delegated to city council chambers. I am experienced with the results of actions that residents, community groups and stakeholders undertake. This has given me a much broader understanding of the connections of the many challenges and opportunities we face.

What are the top issues facing your ward?

The highest priority issues in my platform are deeply related to each other: healthy and safe communities, growth and prosperity, engagement and participation.

Healthy and safe communities, whether that be a parkette, recreation centre down the street for a parent and children to walk to, interact, play and simply be outdoors, and live in decent and affordable housing. All this depends on specific needs by residents and families which are numerous and varied in our ward.

Growth and prosperity also contribute to this priority by offering opportunity to all in our community, in the form of a good paying full time job or the ability to pursue a dream of opening a small business. As we know, small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy, and also addresses the municipal tax burden being mostly shouldered by residential property taxes. By increasing commercial and industrial activity in our ward we help rebalance the tax burden away from residential property owners.

Engagement and participation is key for our municipal representatives to be truly responsive to community needs and understanding of the issues our residents face every day. I have personally experienced this in my extensive involvement in community affairs and activities. This speaks to direct democratic input and accountability of those who hold office. By creating a space for all residents to express their concerns, exchange ideas, have conversations and together come to an understanding of what we need as a whole to move forward. Diversity and inclusion starts by being a safe and healthy place where we can engage and participate to respond to each others needs for growth, personal or economic, and benefit as a community from the outcome of a prosperous ward and city for all.

Beyond our ward but very much related to our ward is our "built environment" and infrastructure which I believe to be our city's main priority. This is essentially what a municipal government is about. Our current infrastructure deficit is well over $3 billion, yes, BILLION; increasing at $200 million per year.

Infrastructure deficit is the result of a steady decline in infrastructure spending combined with an increase in cost of building additional infrastructure. This results in lack of infrastructure maintenance, leading to poor roads, bad transit, reduced safety, inadequate sewers, and more.

This "elephant in the room" is quasi-insurmountable if we do not review what was done in the past, what is being done today, and what will be done in the future to reduce the weight of this burden.

Do you support LRT?:

Yes. After much research, discussions and consultations I have understood the merits of this billion dollar investment in our city. I have championed this project in our community and have chaired the Hamilton LRT Advocacy group (@yesLRT) since its inception almost four years ago.

Like hundreds of stakeholders, community groups, institutions and organizations I fully support this incredible opportunity for our growing mid-size city to move towards a sustainable forward- thinking ambitious city. The LRT will also refurbish our aging underground utilities, including water mains, sewers, and new optic fiber.

The project itself will address many of our current aging infrastructure issues and position our community for the future as well as help mitigate our municipal infrastructure deficit. The LRT will create many opportunities to improve the HSR system and develop transit oriented hubs that will increase employment, residential and commercial possibilities and grow our tax base.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am running because I share a vision with many other Ward 3 residents and stakeholders to create the necessary space that fosters dialogue and discussion among residents, community organizations and businesses, and the municipal government.

We must actively seek to shape our future and create a fair, equitable and inclusive community for all. Having been and continuing to be an action-oriented person sets me apart from some candidates who have anecdotal and limited experience in our community. My role in the local community is recognized as a "super connector". This said, I do not speak for others but rather wish to support them in their actions.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I believe that municipal government is about pragmatic solutions to concrete problems we all face. It's about what's going on in all our everyday lives.

As for me and what I like: Gardening. Food and flowers. Skydiving (When are we going, Fred?). French speaker – bonjour voisins! Supporter of Premier League Soccer – go #ForgeFC!

And I love our neighbourhood and our community. Hamilton is the best place to be!

Steven Paul Denault​

Steven Paul Denault. (Steven Paul Denault)

Occupation: Broker product and service developer. Busy with large multinational in Hamilton.

Where do you live?: Live and work in Ward 3.

Past experience: I have held many positions, through out my life, in many avenues. I believe I bring a new prosperity for Hamilton in setting an agenda that will work for the betterment of our community.  See details of this on my website. Google Steven Paul Denault Ward 3.

What are the top three issues facing your ward?

Higher than normal taxes. Affordable housing, especially for millennials. LRT is a big issue. This should've been on the ballot for all of us to decide. I'm very very disappointed in our elected people.  We could use this billion dollars that we will still receive from the province, for such thing as affordable housing. This should've be available for roads and services. Provide a better transit system throughout Hamilton. Why not bring trolley buses back to Hamilton. This would reduce the cost of this project. As these buses run on the electrical grid. They're environmentally friendly. With a token of the cost as LRT. From Eastgate to McMaster? 

Why are you the right person for the job?

This is for the voters to decide.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I'm honest, and financed my own campaign. 

Laura Farr

Laura Farr. (Laura Farr)

Age: 35.

Occupation: Assistant to the elected officials, City of Hamilton. (On leave.)

Where do you live?: In Landsdale, near Wentworth and Cannon.

Past experience: For the last ten years I have worked for the elected officials of Hamilton from Bernie Morelli and Brian McHattie to Tom Jackson and Fred Eisenberger (and most of them in between). I have a proven record of helping residents resolve their issues from garbage pickups to the complicated "round hole, square peg" situations. I know the ins and outs of council and how to get things done at city hall and have been in leadership roles in the Gibson Landsdale Community Planning Team and sit on the board of Core Kids (formerly Wever Core), and am a member of the Rotary Club of Hamilton.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

One of the highest priorities for Ward 3 in Hamilton is to be flexible and innovative in finding solutions for our neighbours who are facing growing insecurity and being "priced out" of the neighbourhood. Citywide (and everywhere in North America) we need to make the roads safe for everyone — driver, cyclist, pedestrian, no matter if you are eight or 80. The other day my son and I were nearly hit by a distracted driver. On our street, we take our lawn chairs out and sit on the road to make drivers slow down. We all deserve to be safe. Communication from City Hall is also something that can be open and transparent. I am also committing to monthly town halls, rotating through the hubs/neighbourhoods. 

Do you support LRT?

Yes. No one since the project started in 2006 has ever shown a viable alternative that will transport more people than a bus, fix our aging infrastructure on Main and King, and attract investment. A sticking point I have is that our current agreement with the provincial government for the $1 billion is only for LRT project in its current form. Premier Ford has verbally said otherwise, but there is nothing in writing, and his government has a $6 billion project budget deficit. It makes me uneasy without having that in writing.

Why are you the right person for the job?:

For 10 years now, I have worked hard and with integrity to listen and help people that are trying to navigate city hall. I live and breathe the city level of things, and believe that our city services should work for people. I always say we are a city of half a degree of separation on a good day — chances are I have helped you or someone you know in the past. I know from being at city hall that city services and communications can be done better, and I am the person to get that done. 

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

Coun. Jason Farr and I are not related, and I've worked for the city longer than him! I started at Pinky Lewis recreation centre nearly 18 years ago, moving to city hall in 2008. I also play underwater hockey and was a competitive dancer for many years. 

Tony Lemma

Tony Lemma. (Tony Lemma)

Age: 55.

Occupation: Community advocate.

Where do you live?: In Ward 3 on the east side of Gage Park, also known as the Delta West area.

Past experience: 


  • Part of the implementation of the City's Neighbourhood Action Strategy Action Plan.
  • Community member at CityHousing Hamilton board of directors.
  • Executive member of Crown Point Community Planning Team. 
  • Community member on the Hamilton Media Advisory Committee. 
  • Crisis intervention worker at John Howard Society of Hamilton. 
  • Team member of Hamilton 123 Ranked Ballot Initiative. 

Employment (most recent):

  • Community connector — Light Rail Transit, Metrolinx Ontario/City of Hamilton, Hamilton.
  • Crisis intervention, front desk and administration – John Howard Society, Hamilton.
  • Crew leader assistant — Census 2016, Statistics Canada, Hamilton. 
  • Customer service — Recreation, City of Hamilton, Hamilton. 
  • IT office clerk — Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Burlington. 
  • Legal assistant — Real Estate, Litigation & Landlord/Tenant, area law firms, Hamilton. 

What are the top issues facing your ward?: 

  • Access to housing that is universally affordable.
  • Urban planning and renewal for the next century that results in a balance between urban space for community living and industrial lands for employment.
  • Transportation that accommodates many modes on our streets: pedestrian, cycling, public transit, and vehicles.

Do you support LRT?

What's important are the voices of Ward 3 residents. They must be heard as we navigate the new provincial political realities. As councillor, I will abide by the decisions of our last council. However, if the matter is to be revisited I will listen to the voices of the residents and look to another option for a rapid transit system down the corridor. 

Why are you the right person for the job? 

I know people are fed up with partisan politics. Our last councillor had a different approach. Being overly ambitious politically and advancing the agenda of a political party, is not good representation of the ward. I'm not here to tell residents what to think. I'm here to listen and bring a completely new approach. As a civically engaged resident, I know what would make Ward 3 great for all. If we collectively (all of us) listen to one another on the issues that matter, we can have meaningful conversations and bring real change. In seeking feedback from residents on the issues that matter, I will be creating a mandate from residents for residents. I will strive to replace the existing culture of political entitlement with achievement and I will bring measurable results in my first term that will make Ward 3 proud to have elected me as their councillor.

Something you'd like voters to know about you: 

I am passionate about democratic renewal and about finding smarter solutions. I believe smarter solutions can be found by listening to you, the constituents, who have a shared interest in the well-being of our ward and our city. I am also proud of the capacity that I have built to be your Ward 3 councillor.

Nrinder Nann

Nrinder Nann. (Nrinder Nann)

Age: 41.

Occupation: Holistic nutritionist and leadership coach.

Where do you live? Ward 3.

Past experience:

  • I am the former manager of community development for the City of Toronto. I managed a team of 17 community developers and a budget in the multi-millions.
  • I have hands-on, direct and comprehensive experience working in municipal government.
  • I have direct experience working with residents, businesses and developers to create community hubs, which bring much needed health and social services to under resourced communities.
  • Managed Matthew Green's municipal campaign.
  • Have run a small business both from my home and through my work with the Kitchen Collective.
  • I know how to navigate bureaucracy and get complex projects done.
  • I also worked as the director of education for largest union local in North America with (at the time) 320,000 health care service members.
  • I trained top leadership, designed and delivered curriculum to members.
  • As an educator, I have learned how to listen and how to work through very difficult conversations to bring about consensus.
  • I'm a mom AND a small business owner, so in short, I have no time to waste and I know how to get stuff done. I know how to organize an office, manage employees and ensure that details don't get lost.

What are the top issues facing your ward?

Safety, affordability, transit and environment.

SAFETY: Safety is the number one thing I keep hearing on the doors. People are very concerned about speeding on main streets and also cut through traffic on side streets. Everyone is affected by it, but especially so for children, seniors, cyclists, and people with mobility issues.

And rather than looking at traffic calming as 'the loudest voices get the speed hump' - I'd like to engage residents, businesses and city staff in finding real, long term solutions to these issues. Develop a plan and ensure it is implemented in a way that residents know what to expect.

People also feel "unsafe" in terms of their personal safety. I'm hearing about a lot of petty theft, car break-ins, backyard, porch and alley garage thefts. I think there's a lot we can do around lighting that could help. Encouraging neighbours to leave porch lights on. Looking at city street lighting to see if it's adequate. Looking to LED lighting for alley ways. Bringing back Neighbourhood Watch programs.

AFFORDABILITY: Number two is Housing Affordability. The massive gains Hamilton has seen in recent years in property prices has put a really strong pressure on rents. They've gone up, but incomes are not. This is a problem across the GTHA, but especially in Ward 3 where many incomes are fixed to pensions or disability assistance.

I will advocate that all new developments retain a certain percentage of units as affordable housing.

I will explore what other cities have offered in terms of loan and grant programs for home-owners who create new rental units at fixed affordable rent rates.

I will use my office and resources to crack down on slumlords who leave so many of our residents in unsafe and undignified living situations.

TRANSIT: Our city has fallen behind on its commitment to the 10-year transit strategy. I will advocate that we get back on track as quickly as possible.

I will advocate that we phase out area rating and tier new money towards properly funding our transit system.

As Hamilton's population grows and ages, the need for accessible, reliable and comprehensive transit grows by the minute.

Ward 3 has one of highest proportion of workers using public transit for their daily commutes to and from work, we need to stay on track to focus on transit connectivity, allowing new transit solutions like LRT and robust cycling infrastructure to better connect Ward 3 with other parts of the core.  

ENVIRONMENT: Air and water quality are huge issues for our city. I will advocate for tougher enforcement of negligent pollutors​. I will advocate for lead pipe replacement to be accelerated, especially in schools. I will work with staff and regulators to get our composting facility working again. I will advocate for the installation of city wide recycling receptacles on our streets and in our parks.

Do you support LRT?:

Yes, I am a supporter of the LRT. Given that Ward 3 has one of highest proportion of workers using public transit for their daily commutes to and from work, we need to stay on track to focus on transit connectivity, allowing new transit solutions like LRT and robust cycling infrastructure to better connect Ward 3 with other parts of the core.  I am also a supporter of the opportunities that the LRT will bring for the development of more affordable housing units, and the upgrading of aging infrastructure across the route.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I'm running because I believe in courageous politics — in government that values and encourages resident engagement.

As a mom, I am keenly aware of street safety and resourcing parents, children and families to thrive.

As a healthcare provider, I know just how important it is to ensure we are focused on healthy communities as part of people's well-being.

As a small business owner, I know how much they add to livability of our local neighbourhoods. I also know that a living wage is doable for businesses and that we have establishments leading the way to ensuring we have decent local jobs close to where people live. Neighbourhoods thrive when we can work and play close to where we live.

As a community organizer, I know the power of engagement and empowerment. When people have the opportunity to have their concerns and needs heard, become informed about facts and options, and are part of finding solutions, we build a better and safer city for all and with future generations in mind.

I'm running because I believe sincerely that I am uniquely qualified to do this job. I have direct experience in municipal government and managing very complex projects with many competing interests. I also have decades of experience in education and leadership development. I'm a proven team builder and community builder.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I really want Ward 3 residents to know that my door is always open, that I will be responsive and thorough when they need something, and that as a matter of principle I will always seek community input on the bigger decisions that we face.

Stephen Rowe

Stephen Rowe. (Stephen Rowe)

Age: 51.

Occupation: International logistics professional.

Where do you live? My family and I have lived in Ward 3 for over 30 years. The last 25 of those, we proudly call the Keith neighbourhood home.

Past experience: Eight years as a member of the Keith Neighbourhood Hub leadership. Founding Board of directors member of the Eva Rothwell Centre. 20 plus years of direct community involvement. 25 plus years of professional experience dealing with all levels of governments and major corporations in developing policies and procedures. 25 plus years professional experience in operating large complex budgets.

What are the top issues facing your ward?

Community safety:

The ward can be safer. In a survey of Keith neighbourhood residents, 96 per cent of respondents felt safe in their neighbourhood. We need to roll that feeling out to all of Ward 3. If that means safer streets, then we get to work on what needs to be done. If it means a better working relationship with police, then we do that too.

Precarious employment and job creation:

Unfortunately, Ward 3 is home to some of the most disadvantaged communities in the city and some of the most precarious employment. It doesn't have to be that way. We have a wealth of assets that should make Ward 3 a prime location to create good paying, clean jobs. All we need is a champion to take on that cause and work to ensure those jobs. This will lessen the tax burden on residents, aid social and economic causes and bring prosperity back to the Ward. I want to continue to be that champion as your Ward 3 city councillor.

Do you support LRT?:

While I wish that the current city council had have had the courage to add the issue of LRT to this election ballot, so that everyone could have their voice heard, it didn't happen. 

It would be tough to ignore the $1 billion dollar investment into the city. Along with the LRT, I am comfortable in knowing that there are several millions of dollars worth of infrastructure that will be addressed along the LRT corridor.  This infrastructure was going to need to be addressed, in the near future, adding to the current infrastructure deficit faced by the city.  With LRT, the future dollars for the infrastructure along the LRT corridor can now be reallocated to infrastructure needs elsewhere.

However, if LRT is to happen in the city, there must be more attention paid to lessening the harm caused by those displaced or interrupted by its construction. Also, whether the LRT is controlled by the HSR or not, there must also be a simultaneous effort to revamp the current HSR. Buses used for concurrent, or inefficient, routes need to be looked at for reallocation to increase the current transit system without having to increase taxes or fares.

Why are you the right person for the job?

My 20 plus years experience, both in the corporate world and in direct community involvement, has given me the tools and the skills to move Ward 3 forward while making sure that no one is forgotten. No one issue is the answer to making a city great. A well-balanced understanding and agenda, and a history of working collaboratively and cooperatively to find the best benefits is what is needed.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

After living, working and playing in Ward 3 for 30 years I want to continue give back, to the City of Hamilton, as Ward 3 city councillor. See how at gowithrowe.com

Amanda Salonen

Amanda Salonen. (Amanda Salonen)

Age: 40.

Occupation: Palliative care nurse. I previously worked as a nurse in mental health and addictions (in geriatric, ER, acute, tertiary, and forensic in patient hospital settings).

Where do you live?: I live in Ward 3, and have lived here for 30 of my 40 years.

Past experience: I have been a nurse for 14 years.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

  • Affordable housing.
  • Support for seniors and lone parent families.
  • Public safety.
  • Bringing in small business.
  • Accommodating and helping residents adapt to local infrastructure changes without any displacement.
  • Regular and consistent meetings where residents can attend to voice their views to their councillor.

Do you support LRT?: No, I do not. Our HSR ridership is down and I believe that Hamilton needs to implement the BLAST network. The priority need is to add feeder lines to rural/amalgamated areas to bring riders in to the main lines, so that they are utilized at capacity. The promised money from the provincial government should be spent on our infrastructure, with our foremost priority being our water delivery and treatment.  As you may know, elements of Hamilton's water system are between 70 and 100 years old.  Due to these issues, people have suffered damage to their homes and property as well as the damage done to our public roads, which has lead to millions spent on repairs.   

Why are you the right person for the job?

I'm a nurse and a single mom. I'm not a politician. I'm compassionate, responsive, a good critical thinker, an advocate and a caregiver. I am adept at weighing which intervention will promote the best outcome. I am aware of what at the local infrastructure level will benefit people when looking at the social determinants of health. I've been here for thirty years and seen much evolve in Ward 3, good and bad.  I'm a genuine stakeholder as I live and work in our ward.  My son has gone to school in our ward. Ward 3 residents are  my friends, family, and neighbours. I will listen to you, and count it a blessing to be the one to advocate for you — you are why I'm running for office. This isn't a stepping stone to higher office for me, it's an opportunity to do right by my home and my people.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:

I'm proud to live in Ward 3.  I'm a season seat holder and love our Ticats. Gage Park is an absolute treasure. As a teenager I'd walk down Delaware and Maplewood Avenue and think that when I grow up and buy a house, this is where I will chose to make my home. I started school for nursing when my son was an infant. It was a struggle to save a little each biweekly pay, but after five years I bought my first and forever home on Maplewood Avenue. Since childhood I've just wanted to be right here.

Dan Smith

Dan Smith. (Dan Smith)

Age: 48.

Occupation: property manager.

Where do you live?: Ward 3 near Sherman and Main.

Past experience: I am one of the founders of Skydragon Community Development Co-op. This required leadership skills to develop. Skydragon was a grassroots effort to help with downtown renewal. Not only did we restore a building that was on the verge of being torn down but we brought attention to the Lister Block through our magazine we published and events at our building at 27 King William such as our rock the block party. I have done auditing of businesses before and am skilled at finance.

What are the top issues facing your ward?: Urban decay, traffic calming and parking are some of the main issues.

Do you support LRT?: Yes.

Why are you the right person for the job?  

I have the best skill set to bring to city hall. I have worked as an engineer, taught finance at McMaster, we need someone that can understand projects and the financing behind them. I have also lived in the city and ward long enough to understand the problems.

Something you'd like voters to know about you:  

I have lived in Hamilton since 1985 and Ward 3 since 2005.  If elected, I would like to work with grass roots organizations to help improve areas where we have development needs such as along Barton and King Streets.

Kristeen Sprague

Kristeen Sprague

Age: 38.

Occupation: Volunteer radio host.

Where do you live?: In the north end of Ward 3.

Past experience: I have sat on many community advisory boards, including the LGTBQ advisory board to the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Pride Committee, and the volunteer board of Hamilton's chapter of the tenants' rights association, ACORN.

What are the top issues facing your ward?:

I think the three major issues facing Ward 3 are: improvements to road surfaces (especially Cannon, Barton, and Burlington Streets); access to mental health and addiction support for residents; and access to community support and resources for families, the elderly, and other groups that face accessibility challenges, poverty, and/or oppression.

Do you support LRT?

The LRT Is a complicated issue, but it is interesting because it marries so much of what is at stake in our ward.  On the one hand, it can provide a more "green" mode of transit. On the other hand, it also displaces residents of our ward who are forced out of their affordable homes to make way for the infrastructure.  If the LRT can be an opportunity to use locally produced steel from workers in our community, provide unionized jobs under ATU Local 107, and remain under municipal control, it can be a benefit to our community.  But can't ignore the challenges it poses to our residents.

Why are you the right person for the job?

I am the right person for the job because I have lived in the ward for more than 15 years, and I share struggles that many residents face. I have lived on social assistance, and have been forced to go to the food bank from time-to-time. I am eager to listen to the struggles and ideas of everyday people in the ward.  My combination of experience and willingness to listen to community members sets me apart from other candidates.

Something you'd like voters to know about you: I want our community to grow and improve in a way that doesn't leave low-income and working class people behind.

No response: Ned Kuruc, Brendan Kavanaugh, Keith Beck.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca


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