MPP calls members of Opposition 'Chicken Littles': arts community recognized her efforts.

graphic community 3By Staff

May 8th, 2021


Last chance:

The Gazette, wanting to support local artistic efforts, is offering a prize for the best name that can be found for this sweet little bird.

The prize will be a $50 gift card or a donation of $50 to the Burlington Food Bank.

The contest ends at the close of Mother’s Day.

Send your suggestions to

On April 21st, Jane McKenna rose in the Ontario Legislature and spoke to the current pandemic. She portrayed members of the opposition as “chicken littles” who needlessly and inaccurately exaggerated the seriousness and impacts of the pandemic for political advantage. For a politician who has demonstrated a remarkable degree of tone-deaf insensitivity in the past, her performance was a high (or low) mark.

McKenna in the legislature

MPP Jane McKenna in her best dark blue Conservative suit calling the Opposition “Chicken Little”

Sometimes, when faced with leaders who betray a complete lack of awareness and social conscience, it is best to turn indignation into humour, or farce or satire to better isolate and scorn the behaviour. The ‘Chicken Post’ is such an attempt. It responds to callous indifference by shining the light of humour. It “belittles” (pun intended) one who should have known and acted far better.

Those are the views of one, pen in hand, Burlingtonian.

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna stood up in the Legislature and laid out the fact about the Covid19 pandemic.  That is where we learned of the Chicken Little speech she gave.  It lasts just over a minute.  Scroll down the link and click on the video. Get there and Have a listen.

Others with a different artistic bent wanted to help the MPP visualize what she had the temerity to say in the Legislature. They doubled down on their artistic talents and sent a little chicken to Jane McKenna.

rubber chicken 1

A chicken on a respirator in need of a name.

This lovely piece of local art should be donated to the Historical Society once Ms McKenna has displayed it in her constituency office and had it photographed for use on her election signs come June of 2022.

The Gazette, wanting to support local artistic efforts, is offering a prize for the best name that can be found for this sweet little bird.

The prize will be a $50 gift card or a donation of $50 to the Burlington Food Bank.

The contest ends at the close of Mother’s Day.

Send your suggestions to



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Rapid testing available now to help keep workers safe in small and medium-sized businesses

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 8th, 2021



The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. The program will screen for asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to keep workers and their families safe and businesses open.

More than 760,000 rapid test kits have already shipped to 28 chambers and more than 50 others have expressed interest in participating.

rapid testing kit

Rapid testing kit – Non-chamber members with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in the initiative.

“With the success of the StaySafe Rapid Testing Pilot in Waterloo Region, expanding rapid testing to small and medium-sized businesses across the province will help keep people working and safe,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“Adding rapid antigen testing to the arsenal of protections for small and medium-sized businesses, especially in regions with hot spots, is one more important step towards keeping businesses open and economic recovery.”

“The rollout of the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative through local chambers of commerce will make rapid tests accessible for more employees of small and medium-sized businesses,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “This initiative is providing Ontario’s hardworking business owners with more tools to prevent outbreaks and will ensure their employees can stay on the job with the best protection possible.”

“Our government’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians. As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, testing remains a key component of Ontario’s pandemic response,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“By supporting the use of rapid antigen tests by more businesses, our government is helping to provide an additional layer of protection for workers and their families.”

Ontario has already begun delivering rapid testing kits through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program to workplaces for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, the supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. As of April 30, about 7.6 million rapid antigen tests had been sent through the program to nearly 1,500 workplaces.

This includes nearly 200 essential industry sites, most of them in hot spot areas.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

rapid test - finer prick

Simple finger prick – with results in 15 minutes,

Making COVID-19 rapid tests accessible to all small and medium-sized businesses is part of a greater strategy to decrease the impact of COVID-19 on the people of Ontario and the economy. This includes stay-at-home measures, paid sick days, education campaigns on how to stay safe, significant testing and tracing capacity, and a robust vaccination distribution plan to make sure that every Ontarian who wants to be vaccinated will be vaccinated.

Quick Facts
• To contact participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade about the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative, visit the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

• Non-chamber members with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in the initiative.

• The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative applies to businesses allowed to be open under current orders.

• The StaySafe COVID-19 Rapid Screening Pilot program in Waterloo Region is a collaboration among the Government of Ontario, Health Canada, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and participating member chambers, and Communitech.

• There are more ways for organizations to easily find out how to access rapid antigen tests. Visit to find out more.

• A COVID-19 rapid screening test can be performed anywhere (e.g., on-site, at the place of employment) and does not require shipping a specimen to a lab for processing. It takes about 15 minutes to yield a result.

• Rapid antigen point-of-care testing does not replace public health measures, such as symptom screening, physical distancing, masking and hand hygiene. Any positive results from a rapid antigen point-of-care test must be confirmed with laboratory-based chain reaction (PCR) testing.

• Employees can self-swab using a COVID-19 rapid test under the supervision of a trained employee or business owner.

• Frequent screening with rapid antigen tests increases the chances of early identification of cases in otherwise asymptomatic individuals.

• Organizations participating in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program can now search for a service provider offering point-of-care rapid testing services through a directory on the Ontario Together website. Service providers offering point-of-care COVID-19 testing services can also apply to be listed.

• Ontario has also released guidance for individuals or organizations that choose to participate in COVID-19 testing that falls outside of the public health care system, to ensure there is appropriate oversight and consumer protection and that public resources are supporting public health initiatives.



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Get involved and have your say on what your community should look like when your grandchildren are adults

graphic community 2By Pepper Parr

May 8th, 2021



The look and feel of the Burlington we live in today is the result of decisions made decades ago.

The Regional government is running a series of public meetings to give the public an opportunity to have their say.

Regional boundaries

What do the four municipalities in the Region want their communities to look like ?

The Provincial Growth Plan mandates that Halton plan for 1.1 million residents and 500,000 jobs by 2051. Halton is reviewing the Regional Official Plan to meet this direction and remain responsive to our community’s needs.

As part of this review, the Region has developed different Growth Concepts outlining how and where Halton could grow by the year 2051. They have also prepared Regional Official Plan Amendment (ROPA) 48, which is being considered by Regional Council. ROPA 48 provides direction on how to accommodate future growth in existing urban areas.

Conserving the environment and making room for foreigners with environmental training is part of a new Conservation Halton initiative funded by a Trillium Grant

Is this part of the Burlington you want?

• Take the short questionnaire: Visit to provide your input.

• Attend a virtual Public Information Centre (PIC): Each PIC includes a presentation from Regional planning staff, a question and answer period, and breakout rooms for discussion. Recordings will be posted to

• Discuss the Growth Concepts with a Regional planner: To book a virtual meeting for yourself or a small group, please visit or call 905-825-6000, ext. 7772.

Fairview 2 x 20 storey

Those new to the Region are going to have to live somewhere – is this the kind of development we should have?

2021 Virtual Public Information Centres (PICs)
Join one of the Region’s virtual Public Information Centres (PICs) online or by phone!

Halton Hills: Tuesday, May 4 at 7 p.m.
Milton: Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
Burlington: Tuesday, May 11 at 7 p.m.
Oakville: Thursday, May 13 at 7 p.m.
North Aldershot: Monday, May 17 at 7 p.m.
Region-wide: Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m.

How to join
Online: Visit on the date of the PIC to join.
By phone: Call 1-855-703-8985 (toll-free).
• Meeting ID: 970 665 2261
• Passcode: 858099 (if requested)


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Bentivegna cautions council colleagues about taking on budget issues without input from finance

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 8th, 2021



Angelo - not getting it -deferal

Ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna cautioning his colleagues.

It was a day that ward 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna will remember for some time and you can be pretty certain that he will be mentioning it often during the 2022 municipal election – assuming of course that he runs for a second term.

Bentivegna has positioned himself as the man who watches the numbers – the vast majority of his questions are related to the level of sending by this council.

And this is a tax and spend council.

Last week Council went through a report from Parks and Recreation who operate the Tyandaga Golf course with a suggestion that it was time to look at a different model for the operation of the golf course.

The Gazette reports on that discussion in a separate news article.

The gist of what Rob Axiak, who has the golf course file, was putting forward the argument that it was time for the financing model to become one that is tax payer supported – meaning that there would be a tax supported contribution to the operation of the golf course. It would not rely on just tee time fees.

Tyandaga golf club

The Tyandada golf course cannot earn enough to cover all the costs – support from taxpayers is being suggested.

Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison, who knows the Tyandaga part of the city very well – used to represent that part of the city – wants to see a couple of hundred million dollars home on the land. His thinking appears to be aligned with that of the city manager.

The Tyandada golf course cannot earn enough to cover all the costs – support from taxpayers is being suggested.

Later there was another in depth discussion about the fees that are part of the controversial private tree bylaw – controversial to those who apply to cut down a tree on their property.

The golf course was not the only thing council seemed to be prepared to add to things the public would pay for.

Council Sharman set out an example where removing three mature trees from a property would result in a cost of $16,000.

It was suggested that this too could become a tax supported program – the argument being that everyone benefits from the privately owned trees in the city.

The story behind the private tree bylaw will be covered soon.

Angelo B

Bentivegna doesn’t want to be part of a tax and spend council.

Bentivegna doesn’t want to be part of a tax and spend council.

Both proposals are expected to be heard at the Council meeting on May 18th at which point those ideas could become a bylaw requiring the finance department to find a way to add this spend into the 2022 budget.

Councillor Bentivegna argued that the spending would normally be part of the creation of a budget and setting the tax rate was instead being debated without input from the finance department.


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Ford of Canada donates $100,000 worth of hand sanitizers to Food for Life

graphic community 5By Staff

May 7th, 2021



Ford of Canada has donated more than $100,000 worth of hand sanitizer that will be distributed to Food for Life partner organizations through the Halton and Hamilton region.

The sanitizer will benefit more than 80 of Food for Life’s Community Partners.

Ford sanitizer 1

Food for Life feeds people – now they can help their partners ensure that their staff and premises are kept clean.

“Supporting our local communities has always been a part of what we do at Ford of Canada,” said Bev Goodman, president, and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. “We’re pleased to be donating $100,000-worth of hand sanitizer to an organization like Food for Life who will distribute it where it’s needed most, across more than 80 community groups that it serves.”

The distribution of hand sanitizer to partner organizations ensures that community members not only have access to healthy food, but that they also have access to much-needed, and often costly, Personal Protective Equipment.

Ford sanitizer 4

Sanitizer arriving at the Food for Life warehouse

“Ford’s donation to Food for Life is a testament to the generous and cooperative nature of our community,” said Graham Hill, Executive Director of Food for Life. “We are honoured and thankful that Ford of Canada entrusted the team at Food for Life to ensure this sanitizer reaches the organizations who need it most.”

This most recent donation is not the first time Ford has stepped up to address food security across the region; each year a number of Ford employees support Food for Life by volunteering their time for food sorts as well as other activities.

Food for Life is a community leader in ensuring everyone has access to healthy food. GOOD food, impacting lives.

If you or someone you know requires food, please contact Food for Life at 905.635.1106 or email


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John Street between Maria Street and James Street will be closed for a week

notices100x100By Staff

May 7, 2021


road closedRoad closure: John Street – May 10 to 14, 2021

John Street between Maria Street and James Street will be closed

Monday, May 10 at 7 a.m. to Friday, May 14 at 6 p.m. for sewer and watermain installation.

Local access will be maintained and through traffic will be detoured around the block.

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42% of Halton residents have had at least one vaccination dose

News 100 redBy Staff

May 7th, 2021



As of Thursday, May 6, 2021, 218,614 doses have been administered in Halton to priority populations identified by the Province.

This represents about 42 per cent of Halton’s population who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccination status dashboard on the Region’s web site –  – is updated Monday to Friday between 12 and 2 p.m.

Information on eligible residents and appointment dates is set out below.


Schedule for Vaccine Booking Eligibility_Age Groups_MAY6_IG 3

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Police service in Burlington - what you get for the $100.81 per $100,00 of assessment on your tax bill

Crime 100By Staff

May 6th, 2021


Part 1 of a two part article.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner took part, virtually, in a delegation that told the public much more than they have heard from a police chief in some time.

10 burlington structure

The short version of what the Regional Police do in Burlington.

Inspector Bob Gourlay who runs the Burlington detachment of the Regional Police took council through a slide deck with all kinds of data which the Chief commented on at length later in the delegation.

This will be a two part article – the slide deck now and then what the Chief had to say.


Burlington was where Chief Tanner started his career as a police officer.  He went on to serve in Belleville, Kingston and returning to Burlington as Halton Region Chief of Police in 2012.

1 Burl compliment

Many of the police resources are at headquarters which are in Oakville. Burlington has a full compliment including DUST, DRT, Criminal Investigation, high school and public school liaison officers.

2 B&E

Break and Enter into homes is down – people are working from home keeps the thieves away.



4 Inter persona intimate calls

The data points to the difficulty some people are having in dealing with the pandemic. Cooped up in a house where the relationships between the occupants are not that good is a recipe for a lot of personal pain.

5 drugs

The calls police get on drug matters tends to be related to the legal retailers and the product they are selling.

6 ride

With traffic on the roads (QEW excepted) roadside tests are lower.

7 motor vehicle

Fewer cars on the road – fewer collisions.

8 traffic complaints

Data is consistent over the two year period.

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Hospital President assures public we will 'cross the finish line together'

News 100 blueBy Eric Vandewall

May 6th, 2021



This week, I would like to offer a message of hope in these uncertain times, and a call for kindness and compassion.

These past 14 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The long, difficult road we have all travelled has transformed our lives in ways we could ever imagine.

Eric Vandewall

JBH President Eric Vandewall

Without question, we have all made difficult sacrifices, from in-person connections suddenly ending, sports and activities cancelled indefinitely, and having to adjust to new health and safety provisions intended to protect us. So much anxiety comes from not knowing if the worst is yet to come, or when we will be able to put this pandemic behind us. Those feelings and experiences can have a significant impact on our health and wellbeing.

This week is Mental Health Week. Now, more than ever, please check in on each other and take some time to reflect on your own mental health. A kind gesture goes a long way in making someone’s day better. Let other people know that you are thinking about them, send them a reassuring message, and use kind and inclusive language. Also, know that it is OK not to be OK. If you are struggling, it is vital to open up to someone who you trust or seek out mental health supports available, including virtual supports.

Finally, I would like to offer some hope. Over the past few days, there has been a slight downward trend in not only the number of daily new COVID-19 cases but also in daily COVID-19 critical care hospitalization occupancy rates. While this is early positive news for all of us, and in particular, for our amazing staff and physicians at the hospital, please remember that hospitals in many parts of the province remain under considerable stress. Halton Region continues to see the highest number of cases now since the beginning of the pandemic.

The situation remains precarious, yet hopeful. In terms of our hospital’s capacity, today JBH is at 83% capacity. We are currently caring for 17 patients with confirmed COVID-19 as well as presumed and resolved cases – 12 of the confirmed COVID-19 patients are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The most important thing we can all do to continue to drive daily case numbers down, is to continue to follow public health measures, follow the lockdown guidelines, and get your COVID- 19 vaccination when it’s your turn. I ask you to continue to wash your hands, wear a mask and maintain physical distance.

Together, we will get through this. The road behind us has been a long one, and I can promise you that with your help, we will all cross the finish line together.


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It is getting dangerous out there - staff are at risk and getting hurt

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 6th, 2021



Council went into a Closed Session yesterday on six different items; one of which related to a person (believed to be a staff member) who could be named- thus the need for privacy.

There are reports that a city employee was harassed, or injured while doing their job.

There is basically no information but the city has suspended its Park Ambassador program.

Someone was hurt.

Staff put forward all kinds of information on city policy related to workplace violence.

bylaw options


Earlier today Regional Police Chief Tanner told council during a virtual delegation that the police would not be getting involved in matters relating to how people in the parks behaved.

Everyone was walking away from the issue and saying that it was going to be up to the public to be cautious and tell the bylaw people that they saw a problem y calling the Covid hot line that few people even know exists.

The number is 905-825-4722: write it on the palm of your hand or the cuff of your shirt because things are getting nasty out there.

The best the city seems to be able to do is issue a communication to the public.

Amber Rushton

Amber Rushton

Amber Rushton, a city staff member that Tim Commisso once said he could not do without, provided some data that normally comes from the Public Health Unit.  She has commented in the past on her difficulties with them.

Rushton was providing data on the damage and the impact the Covid variants were having on the transmission and level of infections.

The last line of the statement she read out is truly troubling: “Mental health tribulations, civil unrest, anti-government movements, social isolation strains = short term crisis + Long Term Community Recovery.”

In my experience as a reporter I have never heard a civil servant make a statement like that in public.  I bounced that off people who have deep civil service experience – their experience was the same.  Rushton was not wrong; however the solution to the issues she highlighted are not better public communication.

ashton data

Denise Beard -stern

Denise Beard: in the seven years we have covered Ms Beard and her work at city hall we have never seen her as concerned and disturbed as she was today.

Denise Beard, one of the Parks and Recreation managers said “there was a violent incident that came up in the Closed session of Council” that took place yesterday.

A bylaw department staffer said that “no one thought this would happen – there is a lot of animosity out there”

When the idea of creating the Park Ambassadors positions someone said they were going to be on site to help people enjoy a “Disney like experience”.

Ward 2 Councilor Lisa Kearns said the public needs to be warned about what not to expect in the parks and asked “why is nothing being done about the way people are congregating in the parks. This is getting dangerous.”

Stolte May 5

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte

Councillor Stolte wanted to know: “How do we communicate this to the public adding that “we need to land a message that explains what we can and what we cannot do to protect the public.”

It is going to take more than more signs – a change in public behavior is what city hall is asking for.

City manager Tim Commisso added that “that’s the crux of what we face” adding “the public is not aware” and that this is another opportunity to look at our communication plans.

Kwab Ako-Adjei, Director of Communications for the city said his people are working with the bylaw staff on a communications plan adding that there would be massive blow back from the public.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward told council that she had a meeting with police and bylaw people and met with the communications people to develop some initial material for members of Council and their staff.

The solution seems to be that the onus is for individuals to follow the guidelines – which at this point is to Stay at Home – that rule is in place until May 20th.

This is an important story.  It impacts everyone who lives in Burlington and gets out to enjoy the parks and get some fresh air.  When a staff member with significant field experience uses words like “Civil unrest, anti-government movements” and points out that “short term crises” = Long Term Community Recovery we need to pay close atention

Unfortunately not everyone in Burlington reads the Gazette – would you make a point of sharing this story with ten people in the city you know.  The message is critical – we are in serious trouble.


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What electronic games do Canadians play most?

sportsgold 100x100By David Burke

May 6th, 2021



Nowadays, the choice of games that are available to players can satisfy everyone’s needs.

pic for Burke PAIDFrom shooters and sports games to puzzles and online slots, the worldwide market is full of options. And Canada being among the 10 biggest gaming markets in the world, let’s take a look at the most popular video games played in the Great White North.


When Fortnite was released in 2017, it took the world by storm. Canadian amateurs and professionals also flocked to this free-to-play battle royale video game. While Fortnite Battle Royale became a cultural phenomenon, there are two other modes that players can opt for, Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite Creative.

PAID Casino tops

Online wagering has a growing market share. It appears to be what people are looking for.

Moreover, the game’s art style, gameplay, and progression system were well-received by the critics. Its popularity is further increased by various promotions like Fortnite-themed clothing, Fortnite-based Nerf blasters, and even Funko Pop! figurines, as well as the fact that it can be played on various platforms, including Microsoft Windows, macOS, Nintendo Switch, PS4 and PS5, and Xbox One and Series X/S.

PlayerUnknown’s Battleground
Another multiplayer battle royale game that is popular in Canada is PlayerUnknown’s Battleground. Also known as PUBG, it is one of the best-selling and most-played games in the world. Available on iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Stadia, the game’s objective is to get rid of other players and be the last surviving player or team. The safe area is decreased over time, just like in Fortnite. While PUBG has been banned in certain countries like Pakistan and India for being too violent and addictive, it is widely available to Canadians.

Apex Legends
After the success that PUBG and Fortnite had, EA decided to try its hand in the battle royale arena as well. In 2019, Apex Legends was released on Windows, Xbox One, and PS4 to positive reviews. The Nintendo Switch version followed in March 2021 while Android and iOS versions are expected to be released in 2022. Playing in teams of two or three, participants look for weapons and supplies that will help them defeat their opponents.

Dota 2
In terms of online multiplayer battle arena games, Dota 2 is dominating the field despite the fact that it came out in 2013. Almost a decade later and Canadians are still crazy about this game. What is more, Dota 2 is very popular, although it is only available on Windows, Linux, and macOS. The game requires plenty of strategizing as the goal is to destroy the other team’s base, aka the Ancient. Each team consists of five players whose characters have unique skills and abilities that need to be used together in order to win.

League of Legends
Released in 2009 for Microsoft Windows, League of Legends is also a multiplayer online battle arena game that has gained a cult following. Since then, the macOS version was also released in 2013. Similar to Dota 2, there are two teams of five players that battle each other, collect experience points, and purchase items to defeat their opponents. League of Legends is often considered to be the largest e-sport on the planet, as there are 12 leagues on the international competitive scene.

Although released in 2011, Minecraft has consistently been among the most popular games of the past decade and is currently the best-selling video game of all time. This sandbox game lets players explore and build a blocky, pixelated world. Minecraft has a few game modes, including survival mode where players have to build shelters as well as survive mob attacks, falls, suffocation, drowning, starvation, and other events. Creative, adventure, spectator, and hardcore modes are also available.

Online casino games
In addition to classic video games, online casino games are also popular in Canada. And since there is a wide variety of out-of-the-state casinos in the country, it’s always advisable to look for review websites like CasinoTopsOnline that list the best online casinos in Canada. That way players can find not only reputable spots for playing but also a huge array of games available. From baccarat and roulette to live poker and online slots that come in various themes, Canadians turn to these games as they are not only fun but a way to earn some money as well. Plus, the winnings are not taxed.

On the other hand, there are also players looking for something more casual, which is why online Mahjong is also a popular game. The reasons are quite simple – it is free, it doesn’t require any special gaming equipment, and anyone with basic computer skills can play it. Based on the famous Chinese board game, there are different levels that allow players to progress and keep it interesting.

baackgammon boards

Some of the Backgammon boards are works of art reflecting their long history.

Finally, backgammon is another game that has many fans in Canada. About 5,000 years old, this game has been adapted so that it can easily be played online for free. Strategizing is key to winning, no matter which version players choose. Furthermore, certain aspects of the game can be changed in order to suit the player. There is also the option of playing against the computer, which can help players hone their skills.

From MMORPGs through online casinos, and all the way to board games, Canadians enjoy all sorts of games. Did your favorite make the list?

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Tax Levy bylaw sets out what you have to pay and when payment is due. Deferral payment plan in place

budget 2021By Staff

May 6th, 2021



City Council approved the 2021 Tax Levy Bylaw at its meeting on May 5, 2021.

The bylaw allows the City to bill 2021 property taxes and set payment due dates for final tax bills on June 22 and Sept. 22, 2021. Final tax bills will be mailed in late May.

The 2021 Tax Levy Bylaw reflects the budget processes of both the City and Halton Region. The province provides the education tax rates.

Tax levy 2020-2021

City of Burlington 2020 and 2021 Urban Residential Property Taxes per $100,000 Current Value Assessment (CVA)

COVID-19 Property Tax Relief
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact, on March 3, 2021 Burlington City Council approved a 2021 COVID-19 Property Tax Deferral Payment Plan program. The application-based program provides relief to residents and businesses that continue to face financial hardship due to the pandemic.

deferred tax graphicEligible property owners who are unable to pay property taxes by the regularly scheduled tax due dates can apply to defer taxes under a pre-authorized payment plan. Those eligible may include unpaid balances from March 1, 2020 onward in the deferral plan and can choose which month they would like to start the monthly payments. The remaining options for start dates are June 1, or July 1. Equal monthly withdrawals will be made that will allow for the property taxes to be paid in full by Dec. 1, 2021.

Property owners enrolled in this payment plan will not be subject to penalty and interest charges as long as payments are made.
Please visit tax for more information or email to register.

Quick Facts
• The City of Burlington collects property taxes for the city, Halton Region and the Halton district school boards. The total combined tax levy for all three entities is approximately $439 million.

The city’s levy is $182 million; the city collects $141 million on behalf of Halton Region; and $116 million on behalf of the Halton district school boards. The taxes levied for Halton Region and the Halton district school boards are remitted to them.

• Burlington City Council approved an increase to the Low-Income Seniors Property Tax Rebate. For eligible property owners, the rebate has increased from $525 to $550 for the 2021 tax year.

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CX - what does it mean? Your Customer Experience - city hall wants to change its culture and begin serving the people who pay the bills.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 6th, 2021



It was a bold statement that has been some time coming and it will be a few years before the Customer Experience is complete.

The opening statement in the presentation made to Council was that: “We are an empowered team, building lifelong relationships and trust, through outstanding customer service and innovative solutions.

The purpose is to put in place a Customer Relations Management (CRM) service that puts the people who rely on city hall first. For Burlington this is a massive shift – and at this point there is no guarantee that they will be able to pull it off.

They are giving it a lot more than the old college try.

Why even have a plan?
There are too many people who are just not happy with the levels of service. Parks and Recreation is seen as a problem area, Building permits is described as a daily disaster that can’t continue.

City manager Tim  Commisso, along with Executive Director Sheila Jones, have set out to change that with full council support.

The city administration knew that the level of service it had to deliver needed improvement.

The first cut of the customer service plan a number of months ago got a terrible reception – Councillors were not happy with the way the CRM team set up their email service.

Back to the drawing boards – the approach that Council saw Wednesday was a complete culture shift – which included collecting data that would help staff determine where the stress point in terms of communicating were.

They were in reality everywhere.

Angela Morgan got pulled as City Clerk and named as the lead for the CRM change.

Four stars and a heart

Get used to seeing that four star rating delivered with a heart – it is the logo for the Customer experience – now known as CX

There were five workshops in fall of 2020 involving 56 staff.  The drive is to centralize everything with CRM being the engine that does the delivering.
The size of the challenge was set out in five slides that identified where the work had to be done

Create Trust and confidence

Manage change

Enhance digit experience

Report on progress

Operationalize the CRM system

11 timeline

The timeline has CX implemented and working before the 2022 election. The \Mayor sees it as part of the platform that will get her re-elected.

The timeline doesn’t leave a lot of room for mistakes.  Pulling everything together with a timeline driven to some degree by an election is not the smartest approach.  Is the schedule set by the administration or the political needs of a council ?

3 full org look

It is almost as if there is a whole new department that will determine how all the other departments focus on the public and the service delivered to them. A couple of Council members had concerns over the degree of cultural change and the leadership and pressed the city manager to be sure he was fully on side,


Council was told that in order to ensure “that organization-wide, City staff  must clearly understand the CX Program’s role and value and are engaged early on to improve customer-facing initiatives.  If the CX Program is to be a trusted partner and advisor to all City services in the delivery of outstanding customer experiences greater cross-departmental collaboration on providing great CX are going to require a Customer-centric mindset.

These are heady statements – they were delivered with great enthusiasm – they began to sound like political campaign promises – which is what they were.

When fully implemented CRM will involve every nook and cranny of the city.

5 connections

Every nook and cranny of the city administration has been pulled into CRM.

The benefits and impact of the CX (that’s Customer Experience) will be an increase in the knowledge and application of CX practices across the City.  CX Program initiatives are viewed as opportunities for the organization and key stakeholders to feel comfortable, confident and committed. Leading practices for effective change management will lead to a structured approach to change, including individual change journeys•

The plan will be to communicate early, well and often through multiple channels with excitement and anticipation for CRM System implementation being evident everywhere.

Heady stuff indeed.

Digital CX is easy, simple, intuitive and accessible.  The CX Program will advocate for digital transformation and partner with Corporate Communications, IT Services and other stakeholders to provide outstanding digital services for the customer, including a modern City website that delivers outstanding digital CX

The ability to collect data and use that data to determine just what it is the public wants could and should lead to better servicd.

Council saw some data that supported that view

6 usage data

What do people want to know?  Mayor Meed Ward was surprised at the number of people who wanted to know more about their taxes.

9 request by type

City staff had to learn just what it was the pubic wants when they call city hall.  The graph set out below answers that question.  Information first and then service.

8 calls blue info grn serv

7 telephone


More to come on this story.


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Business license applications and portable sign use is lower - city is easing up on the enforcement side - smart move

News 100 blueBy Staff

May 6th, 2021



The level of service delivered by Staff is determined by city council.

With the day to day operation of the city in the hands of the Emergency Control Group who, from time to time, make a change in a service level due to the pandemic. The changes are brought to Council where they are approved or modified.

On Wednesday two services were revised.  The acquiring and paying for a business license and the use of portable signs.

The Enforcement Focus priorities at this time are:

Boston Fish sign BIG

Typical portable sign – the fish and chip shop went out of business

• COVID (Masks, Physical, ROA)
• Swimming Pool Enclosure
• Property Standards (safety only)
• Vital Services

• Taxi
• Firearms
• Fireworks (sales & storage)
• Fortification

The Licensing team administers new licenses/renewals and the By-law team ensures compliance. Late fees can be added to a license renewal fee if payment is not paid/received on or before the expiry date.

Business licensing is not an enforcement priority due to the current pandemic. This has impacted our service response to the customer, as well as the overall budget. Renewal notices have been sent to all businesses but due to the pandemic the majority of businesses have not responded. Businesses have been struggling due to the pandemic and the Provincial Orders over the last year.

Financial Implications:

• Below highlights the revenues and their impact on the budget. These figures represent Business License (new applications and renewals) and exclude other related licenses i.e. lottery.

business license revenue May5-21

There are typically 1100 licenses (new applications and renewals) on a yearly basis.

• We are seeing additional requests to cancel portable sign permits due businesses having to close due to the Provincial lockdown orders.
• To support these requests we have allowed the cancellation of the permits but do not provide a refund, as per the sign by-law.
• As an alternative we allow the client to apply the credit to a later session.
• This is a temporary process put in place at the beginning of COVID.
• Portable Sign revenue:

portable sign revenue

There are typically 600 portable signs on a yearly basis

The current Rates and Fees By-law 92-2020 under section 7 states:

“The fees and charges imposed by the City, as outlined in Schedule “A” to this by-law may be increased, decreased or waived completely by the Director to whose department the fee or charge relates, subject to any approved corporate policy.”

The practice of waving late fees and crediting portable sign permits is seen as reasonable as per the Rates and Fees by-law.

Provide the Director of Building and By-Law and/or their designate, the delegated authority to make business decisions, such as deferring renewal licenses. This will assist the business community during the pandemic and post recovery.

Direct the Director of Building and By-Law and/or their designate, to continue to report the financial implications through the Chief Financial Officer as part of the ongoing financial COVID-19 impacts.


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40 km/h for ward 2 - then maybe for all of Burlington - with rumblings of a 30 km/h rule in the minds of some Councillors

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2021



If you thought the private tree bylaw was a hoot – wait till you get the full story on the plans and some council member thoughts on the speed limits for Burlington Streets.

A Staff Direction was tabled, debated and sent along to Council – every ember of Council voted for it.  It reads:

Direct the Director of Transportation Services to prepare for the approval of Council, the necessary by-laws amending Traffic By-law 86-2007 to include provisions for Designated Speed Limit Areas; and Approve a 40km/h speed limit for all streets within the area bordered by Lakeshore Road, Brant Street, Baldwin Street and Maple Avenue

This goes to council on the 18th

Among the reasons for this are: Improve integrated city mobility.

Ward 2 streets speed limits

Map of the area that will limit speed to 40 kph

While the Staff Direction focuses on ward 2, the intention of several members of council was to eventually make it city wide with consideration being given to a 30 kp/h rule.

Speed limits within Ontario municipalities are regulated by the Highway Traffic Act (HTA). Included amongst the many things prescribed within the HTA is a default speed limit of 50 km/h on roadways without the presence of speed limit signs. Roads with a speed limit other than 50 km/h require a Council approved by-law and for signs to be posted to reflect that speed.

Traffic By-law 86-2007 contains a Rate of Speed Schedule listing all Burlington roads with a speed limit other than 50 km/h. Changes to the Rate of Speed Schedule are occasionally required. These changes are typically based on the recommendations of staff and are accompanied by an amending by-law for the consideration of Council.

How does a community get a speed reduction for their streets?  Just ask said Jeff Black,  Manager of Traffic Operations and Signals.

Speed Limit Policy

Burlington’s Speed Limit Policy is a corporate policy intended to guide the review and establishment of speed limits on Burlington roads. The current version of the policy was approved in 2012 and includes a methodology based on the Canadian Guidelines for Establishing Posted Speed Limits developed by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC).

The use of these guidelines when reviewing existing speed limits has created consistency and has ultimately led to the reduction of speed limits on hundreds of roadways throughout the city since it was adopted. Further, these guidelines support the concept of integrated mobility as it takes into consideration the safety and risk of all road users.

Designated Speed Limit Areas
Recent amendments to the HTA allow municipalities to set a speed limit other than 50 km/h on roadways within a designated area, often a neighbourhood with defined boundaries. Once designated and assigned a speed limit (such as 40 km/h), all roadways within that area will have the speed limit specified. Speed limit signs are then only required at entry/exit points to the defined area.

The benefits of this method of establishing reduced speed limits include a reduction of the number of signs required to post a speed limit as well as creating consistency throughout a given neighbourhood with a goal to increase compliance by drivers.

The introduction of an ‘area-wide’ method of setting speed limits aligns well with the City’s approach to reviewing speed limits and the ever-increasing number of roadways in residential areas with a 40 km/h speed limit.

Recognizing that Designated Speed Limit Areas may be applicable to other neighbourhoods throughout the city as a method of reducing speed limits, staff have incorporated it into the updated Speed Limit Policy that is being recommended for approval by Council.  The policy is appended to the end of the article; more on that below.

Proposed Designated Speed Limit Area
Transportation Services staff have received a request to investigate the speed limits on roads within Ward 2 between Caroline Street and Birch Avenue, west of Brant Street with a view to create consistency with existing sections of road in the neighbourhood posted at 40 km/h.

In light of the recent HTA amendments and the authority now given to municipalities to designate areas for a reduced speed limit, staff broadened the study area to include roads north of Lakeshore Road, west of Brant Street, south of Baldwin Street and east of Maple Avenue/hydro corridor. Attachment 1 illustrates the study area and the streets with an existing 40 km/h speed limit.

Vito 2 Sept 2019

Vito Tolone, Director of Transportation Services is going to have to stick handle this one. He’s done it before.

A further review of speed limits on the 50 km/h roads was conducted by staff using the speed limit review methodology identified within the current Speed Limit Policy. The results revealed most roads met the criteria for a 40 km/h speed limit, based primarily on the short block length, spacing of existing stop signs, presence of on-street parking and the high number of driveway accesses.

Given these results and taking into consideration the number of roads currently posted at 40 km/h, staff recommend the implementation of the city’s first designated speed limit area.

speed limit signs

Imagine signs like this with a 30 km/h wording – everywhere in the city.

If approved by Council, staff will provide an amending by-law for the approval of Council that incorporates designated speed limit areas and includes the above described area in Ward 2.

Implementation will also include installing signs at entry and exit points to the designated neighbourhood.

Speed Limit Policy Update
The inclusion of Designated Speed Limit Areas into the city’s Speed Limit Policy has provided staff with the opportunity to update the overall policy.

In general, staff are not recommending any significant changes to the policy that would lead to speed limit modifications in the field.  Council might not go along with the staff position.  If the comments made by Councillor Stolte get any traction a 30 km/h rule might get put in place.

To put something this controversial on the table a year before council members can begin their re-election campaigns suggest there are some tin ears on this council

The updates to the policy have been made to align it with corporate policy authoring guidelines, remove references to technical or procedural elements, strengthen policy statements related to where speed limits are to be reduced throughout the city (i.e. schools and parks) and to update references to applicable legislation.

Options Considered
Given the prescriptive nature of the Highway Traffic Act, there are not many options available with respect to establishing speed limits. The Designated Speed Limit Areas recommended in this report is an alternative to the traditional street-by-street method of setting speed limits.

“As part of the process of implementing a speed limit change, staff routinely provide notification to residents affected by the change.”

Can you imagine the blow back from those notices?

Assuming Council approves the plans for ward 2 on the 18th, it was approved unanimously at Standing Committee, hear is what the policy change will look like. It would get reviewed on  May 1, 2026

“This policy provides guidance in the review and implementation of speed limits on roadways under City of Burlington jurisdiction.

Policy Statement:
“The City of Burlington recognizes the importance of reviewing and establishing speed limits on roadways that are safe, appropriate and consistent. In doing so, the following citywide speed limit policies shall be in effect:

Mohawk GArdens Public school

Slower in school locations

Speed Limit on Roads with School Frontage
“Local and collector roads containing school frontage will have a speed limit of 40 km/h

“Arterial roads with school frontage will have reduced speed limit during school times identified by signs and/or flashing beacons

Speed Limit on Roads with Parks
“Roads containing parks with playgrounds, play fields or other equipment utilized primarily by children will have a speed limit of 40 km/h

Reduced Speed Limit Areas
“Specific areas may be designated for a reduced speed limit through a by-law approved by Council.

Speed Limit Review Methodology
“City staff will use the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) guidelines, attached as Appendix A when reviewing speed limits on roads.

Speed Limit Signage
“Signs will adhere to the regulations of the Highway Traffic Act and the guidelines provided in the Ontario Traffic Manual.

“Speed limits will be set in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act The Rates of Speed schedule of the city’s Traffic By-law will contain a consolidation of roads and their speed limit and may be amended periodically through a by-law passed by Council.

“This policy applies to the review of speed limits on roadways under the City’s jurisdiction by staff within the Transportation Services Department.

Burlington crest - with city reference“The objectives of this policy are to formalize and document citywide speed limit practices and to establish a methodology for the review and implementation of speed limits that is consistent and representative of the function of a particular roadway.”

Pretty clear policy – now change that 40 km/h to 30 km/h and tell us what you think about that idea ?  If this comes about it will make the private tree bylaw look like very small potatoes.

Stand by.

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Parks and Recrearion move fast to get signage in place as part of controlling movement of people in public places

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2021



Have the people at Parks and Recreation taken dancing lessons?

Spencer Smith sign

We should know by next weekend if the signs are going to make a difference

They have had to pivot on almost every project they have on the go.

sign spencer smith 3

The sign is certainly in the right place.

When the Gazette reported that there were large numbers of people gathering inappropriately we mentioned that there were no signs in place.

We reported that story on Monday (it did great things for our readership) – this afternoon we got a response from Chris Glenn who sent us three pictures of signs that are in place in the park.

Chris Glenn reported: “The signage is in place at SSP and other locations. Included a couple examples below.

The park ambassadors and other compliance monitoring / enforcement options are being discussed with council this week, primarily at the EICS meeting under the COVID verbal update. Will know more after this discussion.”

They are scrambling but they are on top of it.  Realize that much of the communication between staff members is by cell phone from their homes.

sign spencer smith COVID

The message is certainly clear enough. Add a couple of bylaw control officer ans the small crowds will disappear.

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Stolte and Kearns want to see streets made much friendlier to people during the summer - asking staff to come back with ideas

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr
May 4th, 2021
It was a last minute motion put on the agenda by Councillors Stolte and Kearns.  The wanted it know that it was a joint motion in response to the number of people who were outside walking the streets and getting needed exercise and fresh air.
The motion read:
Direct the Executive Director of Community Planning, Regulation and Mobility and the Director of Transportation Services to explore options to increase the ability for physical distancing and safe passage in response to Covid-19 for the area of Brant Street (Caroline Street to Lakeshore Road) for Saturdays and Sundays, from July 3 September 5, 2021 with a recommendation and report back to the June 8, 2021 Community Planning Regulation and Mobility Committee.
Stolte and Kearns - budget book

The two of them cooked up their motion; asking council to waive the rules and have it heard immediately.


Community feedback has been significant in response to overcrowding on Brant Street downtown sidewalks south of Caroline Street to Lakeshore Road due to increased local resident use, outdoor retail/curbside queueing, and flow through of Spencer Smith Park users.
Options should be an interim response to public health concerns directly related to the ongoing relevance of Covid-19 community transmissions. Options are intended to manage physical distancing requirements in response to observed increases of non-vehicular usage of the City’s municipal assets. Under no circumstances should any modified use be an invitation to congregate in the expanded space. For further clarity, there will be no advertisement, event coordination, sponsorship opportunities or promotional efforts made to draw crowds.
Whatever Staff have to say will be heard at Council on My 18th.
Related news story:



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Has the public stopped listening to those elected to lead? What happens when that happens?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2021



Fortino signs

Signs appear everywhere in the supermarket. The private sector gets the message – why isn’t city hall getting the message?

When I walk into the Fortinos on Guelph Line I am met with a small cluster of signs telling me that I need to keep a six foot distance between other people in the store.

When I walk into the Fortinos in Hamilton at McNabb and Main, there is a young man asking me if I have experienced any Covid19 symptoms – when I say no – he directs me to the hand sanitizer to get a squirt.

For the hundreds of people who were in Spencer Smith Park on the weekend – there apparently wasn’t a single sign nor were there any visible bylaw enforcement people on hand.

What happened to the Parks and Recreation plan to have Ambassadors on hand, they would be traveling in pairs, to explain the rules and to “educate” people, for, if the signs we are seeing on people’s lawns is any indication, there is a lot of educating to be done.
City council will be meeting today – and if they stay true to past practices there will be comments from the Mayor on how necessary it is for people to Stay at Home.

People don’t want to stay at home and it would appear that they don’t want to listen anymore either.

Would it be a stretch to suggest that they no longer trust the Public Health Units or the elected officials either.


Nothing telling these people hat congregating like this is not permitted.

That would suggest we are experiencing a breakdown in the trust the elected must have if they are to effectively lead. While this is a stretch: this is the kind of situation that leads to anarchy.

There is a plan, or rather there was a plan to have city staff on the ground as it were to observe and explain to people.

Will those young men and woman who chose the municipal sector to create careers that involved public service feel safe approaching people and asking them to respect the rules?

What if one of the visitors to our city strikes a city employee? Of course they will be charged if we can find and identify them. The immediate result will have either the police or one of the ten bylaw enforcement officers escorting the Ambassadors.

This is not a pretty picture.

Why are we in this situation? What clues did we miss? Do the people with the signs on their lawns not talk to their Councillors?

We have not heard a word from the ward 2 Councillor. Why?

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

“When the going gets tough; the tough get going” Time for the Mayor to get tough.

If there was ever an occasion for the Mayor to go into a closed session with her Councillors, all the members of the city’s leadership team as well as the Executive Directors to have so hard discussions – this would be one of them.

Some kind of a statement from the Emergency Control Group is also called for.

We are heading into a season that will include a lot of hot summer weather which will attract thousands.

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Public opposition to the 'lock downs' is showing up on lawn signs - it is going to take more than pleas from the MAyor to curb this one,

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 3rd, 2021



If we were wondering how deeply felt the opposition to the current Stay at Home order is – the signs appearing on Burlington lawns might be a hint.

lockdown sign 1

Sign on a Burlington lawn

The Gazette published pictures of the way people chose t gather at Spencer Smith Park on the weekend.

Then we heard about the signs – there are two that we are aware of in the city.

The organization behind the signs has a web site – this is a cute one.

It is going to take a significantly different approach to change the way people behave – Council will have its hands full with this one.

Asked for comment earlier today, the Parks and Recreation department has yet to respond; they handle park related issues.



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Cougars prospect camp dates are announced - first come, first served

sportsred 100x100By Staff

May 3rd, 2021


No one is certain as to when the hockey season will start – but the Burlington Cougars are going ahead with their Player Prospect Camp.

The rules will be a little different: Covid19 protocols are in place and will be strictly adhered to.

hockey player cougar 1

Showing the coaching staff what you have going for you when the skates are laced up.

The Player Prospect program has been a great success in recent years helping players to develop and showcase their on-ice skills with the assistance of the Burlington Cougars coaching staff.

Registration for the 2021 camp will be on a first-come first-serve basis if roster spots become limited due to COVID-19 guidelines. If registration(s) occur and you are unable to attend due to these circumstances and/or if we are limited in our capacities due to these guidelines, a 100% refund will be issued.

Please contact us directly if you have any specific questions or concerns. The health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and community are of the utmost importance to the Burlington Cougars organization and we are utilizing all resources at our disposal to be align with these strictures.

Summer 2021 Program Details

Friday, June 11, 2021: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Saturday, June 12, 2021: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Sunday, June 13, 2021: 11:00am – 12:30pm

All sessions will take place at Appleby Ice Centre in Burlington (1201 Appleby Line, Burlington, ON)


We are currently accepting registration and payment for our 2021 Prospect Camp. Please complete the forms below to initiate your registration. All registrants must complete the

Click here to complete the COVID-19 Questionnaire.

This form must be completed by each player prior to admission,  participants will have to complete this questionnaire each day.


Contact Burlington Cougars Head Coach and General Manager, Mark Jooris, for more information regarding the 2021 Burlington Cougars Prospect Camp – (905) 467-9119.

COST: Players – $367.25 ($325+HST)

Payment for Burlington Cougars Prospect Camp 2021 can be made by cheque or e-transfer. Cheques can be made payable to ‘Burlington Cougars.’ E-transfer payments can be sent to You will receive a confirmation email once we process your payment.

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