GUELPH POLITICAST #75 - Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington

19Apr

Guelph's status as a volunteer friendly community is almost as renown as our environmental stewardship and our musical devotion. April is that time of year to remind us of who helps make a community, and that is the people who give up their own free time to give back to that community, and who better to share that point of view that the people of the Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington?

This week on the Guelph Politicast, I'm joined by Christine Oldfield, Executive Director and Kim Cusimano, Communications & Program Coordinator of the Volunteer Centre. They took time out of their busy schedules to talk about volunteering in the Royal City, how the Volunteer Centre fits into it in the grand scheme, and about National Volunteer Week, which not-coincidentally is next week.

In this week's Politicast, we will lean on Oldfield and Cusimano's experience to learn why Guelph is such a great place to volunteer, the Centre's upcoming commemorations of not just National Volunteer Week, but Canada's 150th birthday, and how the Centre will soon be launching a rebranding effort to continue their good work: connecting volunteers to volunteer opportunities of all types and sizes across the City of Guelph.

So if you'd like, volunteer to download this week's Guelph Politicast and learn more about volunteering!

National Volunteer Week is April 23-29 this year, and there are many ways you can get involved including the Time to Give Breakfast, which takes place on Friday April 28 at 7:30 am at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre. You can interact with the Volunteer Centre through its website, Facebook, and Twitter feeds.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - April 13, 2017

16Apr

This week on Open Sources Guelph we talk to the man who's the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada! You know, if those other 13 people in the race get out of his way. We are happy on this week's show to be able to talk to Rick Peterson, the bilingual maverick businessman that's making a serious play to be the head of Canada's blue team. Before that though, we'll address the maverick foreign policy of "45" and the maverick action of Guelph's city council to put the kibosh on online voting.

This Thursday, April 13, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Regime of Consciousness. Despite his stance of "America First" and his vehement Twitter tirades against getting involved, President Donald Trump launched a cruise missile attack on Syria following a poison gas attack on civilians perpetrated by the government of Bashar al-Asaad. So what happened? What happened to make Trump do a total 180 on his foreign policy (such as it is)? Good question, but so is the question of why all of Trump's top foreign policy advisors are giving a different message on the matter? And if the missile attack is part of a new policy, where's the rest of the policy?

2) Hope Votes. In a surprise move at last week's Committee-of-the-Whole, Guelph's city council decided to put the kibosh on internet voting for the 2018 due to concerns about the integrity of the voters' list. Administered by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) there's evidently a lot of people that are on the list that shouldn't be, an opportunity that's easy to exploit for unscrupulous people looking to throw an election. At the same time, there's an accessibility argument for online voting, and the fact that nearly one-third of the ballots cast in the last election were done so online. So what is the City going to do? Can we balance security and accessibility?

3) Rick Rolled. There are two people in the Conservative Leadership race with a business background and no previous federal political experience. One is an accomplished Canadian businessman, a venture capitalist that has helped small and medium sized businesses grow and develop, and has some crazy business-minded ideas about how to shake up the country and its right leaning party. And the other is Kevin O'Leary. Yes, Peterson is only businessman in this race that actually seems serious about the race, and we'll talk to him about his ideas to spur economic growth in Canada, how he plans to make the Conservative Party more appealing to women and urban dwellers, and why he's Maxime Bernier's second choice for the leadership.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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Open Sources Guelph - April 6, 2017

9Apr

It's another week on Open Sources Guelph, and there's a lot of Canadian political news to get to. First, a couple of exclusives! We'll have a first hand account of the the latest Conservative leadership debate this past weekend, plus an interview with one of the people running for the NDP leadership race (albeit the topic is a very specific issue). In the back half of the show, we'll talk about changing the rules of the game in the House of Commons and why everybody's so mad about all the money other people are making.

This Thursday, April 6, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) The Debate Escape. The 14 candidates for the Conservative Party leadership gathered Sunday to debate at the Eglinton Theatre. Did we say 14? Because only 13 showed up. Yes, Kevin O'Leary had to "spend time with his wife" (and talking about American healthcare on MSNBC apparently), so it was a baker's dozen on stage in Toronto, and the round lead by former Finance Minister Joe Oliver showed all shades of blue as social conservatives took on fiscal conservatives who took on Red Tories who took on centrist pragmatics. And unlike previous leadership debates, a member of the Open Sources team was there to observe and report.

2) Nathan For You. When he's not being the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, or running for the leadership of the New Democrats, Nathan Cullen is going across the country to promote electoral reform. So naturally one of his stops was Guelph, the birthplace of fighting for electoral reform in Canada (it seems). ER is the issue that won't go away for Justin Trudeau, and Cullen is going to keep pushing it for the next two months as the report prepared by a special parliamentary committee comes up for a vote at the end of May. Cullen is trying to rally support from the voters themselves, so we asked Cullen about that and the seemingly undying demand for reform in an exclusive interview during his Guelph stop.

3) House Rules. Meanwhile there's another kind of reform being discussed on Parliament Hill that hasn't received a lot of attention, and it concerns what government does in the House once they've been elected. Amongst the recommended changes are the elimination of the Friday session, electronic voting in the House, and the power for the Speaker to split omnibus bills. Some of that is not particularly earth-shattering, but then there's the other stuff like cutting down time for debate, longer wait times for answers to the opposition's written questions, and limiting filibusters in committee. So are the Liberals grabbin' for more power, or can they make a case that this will improve our democracy?

4) Nickels and Dimes. Two big compensation stories made the news this week, on the one hand Bombardier executives stirred up anger as they cut jobs, beg for federal bailouts, miss important deadlines, and yet cut huge multimillion dollar bonuses for themselves. Meanwhile, the Government of Ontario released the numbers from the annual "Sunshine List" highlighting all the provincial employees that make $100,000 or more. People seem to get pretty riled up about public administrators making six figures, but they get downright angry about businessmen giving themselves millions of dollars of corporate welfare. We'll talk about why money matters.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #74 - The Central Student Association

5Apr

Today is the last day for University of Guelph students to vote in a run-off election for next year's President of the Central Student Association. It's no small position, but getting undergrad students to vote for the person representing them to the university admin, the provincial and federal governments, and on all matter of student issues is no small feat itself. Fortunately, next year's slate of Vice-Presidents is already in place.

On this week's Guelph Politicast, we bring together VP Student Experience Emily Vance, VP Academic Becca Cheskes, and VP External Kayla Weller. All three were handily elected in the main CSA election back in mid-March, and, as you'll hear, they're all eager to get down to business. This will be an interesting year for the CSA. The recent decision to go from a co-operative governance structure to a more traditional hierarchical one did not come without controversy, but where others see controversy, Vance, Cheskes and Weller see opportunity.

The three talk about what their goals and challenges are for the next year on this week's podcast. Obviously, they're going to be at the forefront of explaining the changes to Guelph Transit to their fellow students, and they'll be on-hand this summer as the renovations begin on the second floor of the University Centre. Along with that, there's the existential problems of increasing tuition, increasing fees, increasing textbook prices, class sizes, and stress. Mental health is a big issues that also comes up in conversation, as does the controversy around Jay Rojas, who lost the presidency last month by just over 100 votes despite being the only candidate.

So let's talk to the VEEPs and all their wonderful ideas and expectations for the year ahead. For students, this is a great chance to get to know your new representatives, and for everyone else, you can remember back to a simpler time when the political world was full of possibilities, just like every episode of the Guelph Poltiicast!

If you're so inclined, you can keep up with the CSA by-election here, and you can keep up to date will CSA goings on here.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - March 31, 2017

3Apr

On this week's Open Sources Guelph we have to embrace the inevitable. A long-await return appearance on the show of a much discussed politician... Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield! After having to bail last minute last week, Longfield graciously offered to appear live and in-person on this Thrusday's show to talk about the budget and other Ottawa-related stuff. Speaking of which, we'll also discuss the government's long-awaited plan to legalize marijuana, and while we're on the topic of drugs, we may need to take some after we check in with Donald Trump and see what he's been doing and saying lately. 

This Thursday, March 30, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Lloyd Christmas. After last week's unfortunate scheduling snafu with a last minute vote, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield makes good on his word and pops in to Open Sources - in person - to talk about all the things we couldn't talk with him about last week. What's will all the new innovation spending? What's in it for Guelph? Why is Canada dumping more than $100 million into Skynet? We'll talk about our own budget issues, plus we'll ask Longfield about the feedback he's gotten so far, his upcoming town hall with Jane Philpott on mental health being held at the University of Guelph, and whether or not he intends to meet Nathan Cullen at the Guelph Civic Museum tonight.

2) Art of the Real. It's been a while since we addressed the 45th President of the United States, and that's purposeful, but with so much going on, it's hard to ignore the goings on of Donald Trump and his White House of Champions. Following last week's epic loss on healthcare, Trump once again told senators that a deal on the matter was going to be easy to achieve if, you know, someone has any ideas. Meanwhile, Trump can't shake allegations of Russian collusion because we keep hearing about all these secret meetings his closest advisers have been having with people close to Vladimir Putin. Is there no relief from Trumpmania?

3) The Money Pot. After several years between the promise and action, it seems that the Government of Canada is finally ready to get rolling on legalizing marijuana, and around 4/20 no less. Sadly, the House of Commons will not be in sessions in the latter half of April, and the plans for a rollout of legalization are not even official yet, but many activists are saying it's long past time for arrangements to be made, especially as local law enforcement seems to on a daily basis rouse another pot business trying to walk a fine line during this nebulous legal period between prohibition and legalization. Are the Liberals actually going to deliver this time, or is this going to end up being more lip service?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #73 - Brad McInerney, Kazoofest

28Mar

Kazoo, noun, "a small, simple musical instrument consisting of a hollow pipe with a hole in it, over which is a thin covering that vibrates and produces a buzzing sound when the player sings or hums into the pipe." For Guelphites that like local music and grassroots art though, Kazoo means something very different. It means the start of the local festival season, and maybe some of the best music you've never heard of. 

The guest on this week's Guelph Politicast is Brad McInerny, the festival director and music programmer for Kazoofest. It wasn't so long ago that McInerny *was* Kazoofest, as in he was the one that directed and programmed all aspects of it, albeit with the assistance of a group of dedicated volunteers, but as the festival and the programming grew, so did the demands, and now Kazoo is a growing non-profit with a board and volunteer staff all directing the massive five day effort that includes music, multimedia shows, a Night Market and a Print Expo.

But while Kazoofest this year will once again feature a lot of great programming, including a reunion of Guelph legends The Constantines, this is not a podcast about that. Instead, I wanted to talk to McInerny about the demands and responsibilities of organizing a festival like Kazoo, how Kazoo stands among a growing and expanding field of arts and music festivals, and whether or not there's a ceiling for his local, grassroots events. In other words, how big can Kazoo get? Kazoofest may not be a part of the City's "Fab Five", but there's no doubt its influence, or appeal, especially since it seems from the outside to keep getting bigger.

One note of disclosure though, I am on the board of directors for Ed Video Media Arts Centre, which is a partner of Kazoofest. 

So let's breakout our kazoos and talk about some local arts on this week's Guelph Politicast.

Kazoofest unfolds next week from Wednesday April 5 to Sunday April 9, for the full schedule and list of events go to their website, or or by following Kazoo on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - March 23, 2017

27Mar

Now going three weeks strong without a branded Trump topic (you just can't get away from this guy), Open Sources Guelph comes at you this Thursday with 100 per cent Can Con (and 75 per cent Con Con). First up, we'll look at the now victorious new leader of the Alberta PCs and the big job he has ahead of him, and then we'll talk about the dirty tricks employed in the federal Conservative race, which, surprisingly, were not the figment of one candidate's imagination. Then we'll look at this year's federal budget with out local Member of Parliament, and discuss the concerning mess over at our favourite media punching bag. 

This Thursday, March 23, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Land of Kenney. He did it! After months of campaigning, Jason Kenney has been elected to the position of Alberta's Progressive Conservative leader. His mission, that he has chosen to accept, is to unite the right and overthrow the reign of NDP Premier Rachel Notley, but is it as easy as all that? Kenney has to not just build up his own third place party now, but he has to convince the Official Opposition Wildrose to abandon its own political ambitions to join with a party its members continually rebuke. Is uniting the right even possible, and does Kenney, whose realm has mainly been federal, have the juice to do it?

2) Dismembers Only. Speaking of the federal Conservatives, a controversy came to light exposing a major problem with the leadership race, and a not unfamiliar one too. Although it was originally written off as a flight of fancy by Kevin O'Leary, borrowing heavily from the Trump playbook, it turned out he was right, someone was signing up fake members of the Conservative Party. Fingers pointed at Maxime Bernier, one of the other frontrunners of the campaign, but so far it's not yet known which campaign or campaigns are behind the fraudulent sign-ups. So what the heck is wrong with some Conservatives? Did they learn nothing from robocalls?

3) The Money Grit. The federal Liberals dropped their second budget on Wednesday, and in advance it was widely expected to widen the gulf of the deficit, yet at the same time not have much, or any really, new spending aside from previously promised infrastructure cash. So what are the Liberals promising with this new budget? What will the effect on the country be? Is their bold strategy of deficit spending bearing fruit? We will be talking to one of those Liberals, Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield, and discuss the goals of the 2017 budget and how they might impact us here in the Royal City.

4) The Alt-Slight. It's been a rough couple of weeks for Rebel Media, the upstart rightwing media outlet making its play to be the Breitbart of Canada. First, Lauren Southern, a precocious B.C. university student that Ezra Levant made a star on his network, left the Rebel because, well, it seemed like Levant was not letting her be as racist as she wanted to be(?) which is weird because Vice co-founder Garth McInnis was being as anti-Semitic as he wanted to be. So much so he had drawn the attention of Israeli media during the Rebel's field trip there. We'll talk about whether the centre (right) can hold as the Rebel pulls itself apart, and why, as Faith Goldie seems to think, we need a new Crusade in the Middle East.

*Note: Due to a last minute vote in the House, Lloyd Longfield was unable to join us. He sends his regrets and he hopes to join us on a future episode.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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GUELPH POLITICAST #72 - Guelph’s Spectacular Spider-Man

22Mar

Who is Spider-Man? Depending on who you ask, they'll say Peter Parker. Or Miles Morales. Some might even say Dr. Octopus; there was a comic book story where he and Spider-Man swapped bodies you see. But in the Royal City, Spider-Man is Brandon Bott. He is Guelph's Spectacular Spider-Man!

Brandon Bott is Spider-Man, at least in Guelph anyway. You may have seen him around, hanging out at the Dragon at Old Quebec Street, or zooming by on his eBike at the Santa Claus Parade, or at any one of the numerous comic conventions around our area, but if it's Guelph, and if its Spider-Man, then it's probably Brendan. So you may be asking yourself "why?" and so did I come to think of it. There are a number of cosplayers out there branding themselves - Toronto Batman, Brampton Iron Man, K-W Deadpool - but why Guelph? And why Spider-Man?

Those are two of the questions I asked of Brandon. As a fellow nerd, I was also interested in talking to him about his cosplay skills, the characters he likes to play, and where he want to take his love for all things nerdy and costume-related in the future. For now, Brandon seems to just be fond of getting the good vibrations he elicits from Spider-fans, young and old, inseeing their favourite hero on the streets of Guelph. But in the midst of all the fun he's having, Brandon still takes the rights and responsibility of being a real-life Spider-Man seriously. 

What's a little less serious is this week's Guelph Politicast, as we take a break from serious issues, and get seriously nerdy.

You will be able to see Guelph's Spider-Man at Kitchener Comic Con, which takes place on April 1 and 2. You can learn more about it at KCC '17 website here. As for Brandon, you can check him out at his Facebook page, and follow him on Twitter.

 The theme music for the Guelph Politicast is from the KPM Klassics collection by Syd Dale.

The host for the Guelph Politicast is Podbean. Find more episodes of the Politicast here.

Remember that the Politicast Podbean channel is also the host for podcast versions of Open Sources Guelph. The previous Thursday's episode of Open Sources will be posted on Mondays.

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Open Sources Guelph - March 16, 2017

20Mar

This week Open Sources Guelph is going 14 days without mentioning "45", that is unless he does something Earth-shatteringly stupid before showtime. In lieu of talking about orange-coloured drama, we'll look within our own borders for news worthy discussion topics, and we'll bring in a new friend to talk about the very important issue of protecting whistleblowers. After that, we'll look at the guy who's giving the senate a bad(der) name, and the slate of by-elections to fill high-profile vacant seats in the House of Commons. We'll wrap up the show with something European was we mediate whatever's going on between Turkey and the Netherlands.

This Thursday, March 16, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Whistle Blown. Whistleblowers. We depend on them to keep us in the loop when big governments or corporations don't want us to, but there's actually very little protection for them should they decide to come forward as they face harassment, legal action, and other threats of retaliation for speaking out. A House of Commons Government Operations Committee is currently looking at the matter, and Democracy Watch is hitting hard to make sure that the federal government acts where other levels have failed. Duff Conacher, the co-founder of Democracy Watch, will joins us by phone from Ottawa to talk about this important issue and why the government, till now, hasn't done enough.

2) Senator Disaster. It looks like it's the end of the line for Senator Don Meredith as his senate colleagues have law clerks combing through the Constitution to find a way to get rid of him once and for all. You know, from the Red Chamber. Meredith is accused of grooming a 16-year-old young woman to be his mistress when she came of age, and while the senate could just vote to suspend, they're actually looking at putting him out of a job before he... embarrasses the senate further (we guess). Sadly, we know we're going to be paying for Meredith until the day he dies, but is this evidence of accountability in the upper chamber, or is it too little too late?

3) By-Reflection. You've probably haven't heard a lot about them, but there are five federal by-elections currently in progress across the country, and they're out to cover some pretty big vacancies in the House of Commons. The old seats of Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, Stéphane Dion, John McCallum, and Mauril Bélanger are all up for proverbial bids, and while the the power of Parliament isn't at stake, this will be a pretty big test of the public's acceptance and/or dismissal of Justin Trudeau's reign thus far. The most drama so far has been the nomination Emmanuella Lambropoulos in Saint-Laurent, who overcame establishment Liberals to seize the nominee, but is there anything really substantively at stake?

4) Danish Turkey. And you thought tensions between the U.S. and Mexico were bad? Last week, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the Netherlands of "Nazism" for barring two Turkish government officials from entering the country to campaign with the country's Turkish minority  ahead of this week's national election. It's tricky, Danish Turks aren't exactly uniformly behind current Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Rutte's already in trouble with the crushing wave of nationalism led the populist Geert Wilders. Turkey meanwhile is having a referendum on April 16 to give its president greater powers, and is looking to rally support from Turks living abroad. If you're still confused, we'll try and sort out the implications, and talk about the results of the Netherlands vote.

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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Open Sources Guelph - March 9, 2017

13Mar

In order to reaffirm that there's a world of politics beyond whatever zaniness that comes out of the Twitter feed of the President of the United States, this week's Open Sources Guelph is proudly Trump-Free. So what will we talk about instead? Well, there are two federal leadership races in progress here in Canada, and the left-wing one has finally decided to make it an actual election by having more than one guy throw his hat into the ring. Then, in the back half of the show, we'll look at the growing trend of hate here in Canada, one form that the government's getting blowback for trying to do something about, and another that the government is considering taking action on. 

This Thursday, March 9, at 5 pm, Scotty Hertz and Adam A. Donaldson will discuss:

1) Feel the Other Bern. Apparently unwilling to cede the crackpot caucus to either Kevin O'Leary and Kellie Leitch, libertarian and Quebecois rep to the Conservative leadership race Maxime Bernier posted to Twitter a meme from The Matrix about "taking the red pill." On it's own, that's a dated and boring reference, but here's the thing: "the red pill" has become a co-opted term for the mens rights movement. Probably not the message you want to send in this charged climate (see later in the show). In the meantime, Brad Trost has come up with a great idea to thin the herd: offer refunds! Will anyone take him up on it? It's about as likely as a Trost victory. We'll update the race.

2) In the Niki of Time. And speaking of races, the NDP finally have one. Manitoba MP Niki Ashton became the fourth person to join the NDP leadership race after Peter Julian, as well as Charlie Angus and Guy Caron, who both just recently joined the race themselves. Ashton has vowed to fight austerity and injustice, Caron is talking about establishing a basic income, and Angus is going to "fight like hell" to take the progressive wing back from the Liberals. Observers are saying its about dang time for the NDP to put some skin in the game, but can any among the "fantastic four" reclaim the momentum of the party and take it to government status?

3) Wavin' (Ironic) Flags. So you're at a rally against a non-binding motion for the federal government to condemn Islamophobia, and what do you do? How about you sing a song popularized by a Somali immigrant to Canada that just so happens to be a Muslim? The outrage against M-103 continued to boil in protests in Toronto and Montreal on the weekend, and though the official line is that people are concerned about losing free speech rights, what the protestors seem to be more concerned about is encroaching Sharia Law and other paranoia about radical Islam taking over the world. Are we seeing the rise of Canada's alt-right, and is the way to combat this rise to actually combat it? Like physically?

4) Box the Trolls? Ask any number of female politicians what it's like to stand for something in the era of social media, and they will tell you it's not good. Sandra Jansen ran for the leadership of the Alberta PCs but was more or less harassed out of the race. Cathy Bennett, Newfoundland and Labrador’s finance minister, was told to do the world a favour and kill herself. Conservative MP Michelle Rempel was sent a creepy anonymous note about her attire. So what are these politicians to do? Well, the federal Liberals are looking at ways to help MPs and their staff deal with all kinds of misogynist, racist and otherwise offending treatment, but can you legislate this kind of thing, and what is the cause of all this hatred?

Open Sources is live on CFRU 93.3 fm and cfru.ca at 5 pm on Thursday.

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