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English-speaking Quebecker
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Total population

Mother tongue: 575,555 (7.7%)[1 ]
Home language: 744,430 (10%) [1 ]
Official Language Minority: 918,955 (12.9%)[2]

Regions with significant populations
Canada Canada Quebec Quebec

English, French


Roman Catholic (43%), Protestant (21%), Christian Orthodox (9%), Jewish (7%), Muslim (5%)

Related ethnic groups

English Canadian, Irish Canadian, Scottish Canadian, French Canadian, Italian Canadian, Greek Canadian, Arab Canadian, Chinese Canadian, African Canadian

English-speaking Quebeckers (also known as Anglo-Quebeckers, English Quebeckers, or Anglophone Quebeckers; in French Anglo-Québécois, Québécois Anglophone, or simply Anglo) refers to the English-speaking (anglophone) minority of the primarily French-speaking (francophone) province of Quebec, Canada. The English-speaking community in Quebec constitutes an official linguistic minority population under Canadian law.[3]

Unlike other minorities, English-speaking Quebeckers are not an ethnic group,[4] with large emigration to other provinces, intermarriage with francophones, and waves of immigration renewing the face of the community every generation. This makes estimating the population difficult. According to the 2006 Canadian census, 575,555 (7.7% of population) in Quebec declare English as their only mother tongue, 744,430 (10%) use mostly English as their home language, and 918,955 (12.9%) comprise the Official Language Minority, having English as their First Official language spoken.[2]



A large proportion of Quebec's English-speaking population resides in or near Montreal. Most reside on the Island of Montreal, particularly in the West Island and in the western half of Montreal's urban core, where there is a network of English-language educational, social, cultural, economic, and medical institutions.

The earliest English-speaking Quebeckers arrived in Montreal at the beginning of the British regime in the second half of the 18th century. American merchants, United Empire Loyalists and Anglo-Scot Protestants founded Quebec's public and private English-language institutions and would represent Quebec's elite merchant and financial classes up until the 1960s; the heritage of this era remains in neighbourhoods such as Westmount and the Golden Square Mile.

Saint Patrick's Day Parade in Montreal

Irish Quebeckers established their schools, churches and hospitals in the mid 19th century in tough, working class neighbourhoods such as Point St. Charles and Griffintown. Separate English-language confessional (Protestant and Catholic) school systems emerged and would be guaranteed in the British North America Act in 1867 thanks to D'Arcy McGee, a prominent Irish Montrealer. In 2000, these school boards were merged into English boards.

An English-speaking African-Canadian community grew in the 1860s with the coming of the railway industry centered in Montreal, settling in Little Burgundy and Saint-Henri.

The early 1900s brought waves of settlers from all over Europe. Jews from Poland, Romania and Russia established a large Jewish community, and integrated into the English-speaking "Protestant" schools and businesses. Italian immigrants would adopt the Catholic institutions of either the Irish or French-Canadian community. These and many other immigrant communities would initially settle along Saint Lawrence Boulevard (nicknamed "The Main"), before moving on to more prosperous suburbs such as Côte-Saint-Luc and Saint-Léonard.

In the 1950s, more immigration from Europe again changed the face of Montreal. Immigrants flocked to Montreal from all across Europe, bolstering the numbers of established cultural communities, with a Greek community planting strong roots in the English-speaking community.

Immigrants of today come from all over the world and are largely more secular than members of the established English-speaking communities. Also, a larger proportion are French-speaking than before. However, immigrants from English-speaking countries such as Britain, the United States, and Jamaica usually come with a knowledge of English; Asians account for the fastest growing segment of the population, with over 26,000 Asians coming to Quebec between 1996 and 2001 and having English as their first official language spoken in 2001; as a result, over a quarter of anglophones now come from visible minority groups.[2] Some First nation peoples such as the Mohawk, the Cree,[5] and Inuit[6] also use English in their day-to-day lives and use English-language health services based in Montreal[7]. These groups blend in easily in a community that defines itself increasingly as multicultural and bilingual. Its dwindling numbers, its large diversity, its mobility and access to mainstream North American society means that most anglophones in Quebec will identify themselves as Canadian or by their cultural group, and identify as "anglophone" only in the context of Quebec's French-speaking majority.[8]


Elsewhere in Quebec

Many American and Anglo-Scot merchants settled in Quebec City in the nineteenth century, but the majority of anglophones were working-class Irish immigrants. In the 1860s, the proportion of English-speakers reached a historic high of 40%.[9] The population gradually dwindled as Montreal replaced Quebec City as a center of commerce and industry. English-speakers now represent 1.9% of the total population in the Quebec metropolitan area.[10] The Morrin Centre[11] is a cultural hub for Quebec City's English-speaking community, linked together by media "institutions" such as the Chronicle-Telegraph[12], CBC Radio One[13] in Quebec City, and the La Maison Anglaise[14] bookstore.

All English-speaking communities outside the Montreal metropolitan area have been in decline for over a century. However, communities near Montreal, Ontario and the border whit USA are still large enough to constitute a sizeable yet shrinking minority in these regions.

In the late 18th century and the early 19th century, the Eastern Townships and the Chateauguay Valley were pioneered by English-speaking settlers who moved north from the United States; the first were Loyalists (Tories in the U.S.) wishing to remain British subjects after The American Revolution. Very few of these Loyalists were allowed to stay in the Eastern Townships and were in fact forced by the British to move from the lands that they were squatting on because the British desired to keep the Eastern Townships as an unpopulated buffer zone between the French Canadians and the Americans. By the end of the 1790s, American homesteaders were allowed to come northward to settle lands across the border. Immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland would further settle these regions in the mid 19th century, and pioneer the Outaouais region (Gatineau and Pontiac region) and many Laurentian communities. By the end of the nineteenth century, many grew into thriving small cities: Shawville, Hull, Lachute, Huntingdon, St. Johns (now Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu), Granby, Saint-Hyacinthe, Victoriaville, Drummondville, Magog, Sherbrooke, Sawyerville. Migration to larger cities in Canada (including Montreal) has since reduced the English-speaking population in these regions.

There has been English-speaking settlement or immigration to some degree in almost all areas of Quebec at one time or another. What remains today in many regions is only symbolic as anglophones have moved away or assimilated into the French-speaking community. English-speaking communities in the Gaspé Peninsula and the Lower North Shore remain.


Statistics Canada uses census data to keep track of minority language communities in Canada. It has recorded mother tongue (the first language learned as a child and still spoken) since 1921, home language (language spoken at home) since 1971, and first official language learned (English or French) since 1991. In addition, conversational knowledge of English and French is documented.[4]

A considerable number of census respondents in each category cite equal proficiency, knowledge, and use of different languages. In this case, census respondents are divided evenly among the language groups involved.

As allophone immigrants (mother tongue other than English or French) generally arrive with knowledge of either English or French and eventually integrate into these two linguistic groups, first official language learned is used to determine the Official Language minority population. It is used by the federal government and Quebec anglophone community organizations to determine the demand for minority language services.[2] Specifically, it classifies members of immigrant groups who learn English before French as English-speaking. Half of the people equally proficient since childhood in both English and French are placed into each linguistic community.

The English-speaking population has shown an accelerated decline in population between 1971 and 2001. During this interval, the number of mother tongue anglophones has decreased from 788,830 to 591,365 representing a drop in its share of the Quebec population from 13.1% to 8.3%. This was attributed partially to migration to other provinces and a low birth rate. Immigration from other countries and integration of allophones alleviated the impact of this trend. In 2001, one in three immigrants to Quebec was English-speaking and settled in Montreal. This made the decrease in home-language anglophones less pronounced, particularly in the Montreal area.[15]. This situation is rapidly changing as the vast majority of immigrants now adopt French as their first language: three quarters of linguistic transfers of allophones arriving between 2001 and 2006 allophones arriving have been towards French instead of English.[16].

The 2006 census showed an increase of the Anglophone population in Quebec[17]. The rise of 16,000 people (from 591,000 in 2001 to 607,000 in 2006) represents a growth rate of +2.7%, which is higher than that for the Francophone population (+2.0%) for the same period[18]. This increase is attributed to a much reduced net outmigration of Anglophones, with some 34,000 departures vs 26,000 arrivals (primarily from Ontario)[19].

Emigration to other Canadian provinces was perceived as the biggest challenge facing the continued presence of English-language communities in Quebec, particularly outside Montreal, during the 1976 to 2001 period. English-speakers accounted for half the out-migrants from Quebec as they are extremely mobile compared to their francophone neighbours because they share a language and cultural identity with most other Canadians and North Americans.[20] In a survey on the matter, English-speaking Quebecers cited limited economic prospects and politics (Quebec's language policies and the Quebec independence) as primary reasons for leaving.[21] These political factors are also cited as having led to fewer Canadians from other provinces settling in Quebec.[4]

Anglophones are also less likely to migrate within the province than Francophones and Allophones. This is due to a strong sense of belonging among those in the Montreal area, the relative lack of English-language services and institutions outside Montreal, and a weak sense of identification with Quebec.[21]

Despite a lull in this outflux during an economic boom and break from separatist governments in 2003, this outmigration had returned to established levels by 2006 and is projected to continue at these rates over the next five years. At the time, this forecast made researcher Jac Jedwab predict a continued long term decline of the community.[22].


English-language media tend to come from outside the province. Most local English-language media are based in the Montreal area.


The province's English-language television stations are CBMT (CBC), CFCF (CTV), CKMI (Global) and CJNT (independent multilingual). These stations are available on cable throughout the province.

Anglophones in the Outaouais region are served by English stations from Ottawa. Southern Quebec is also served by American network affiliates from Vermont and New York's North Country who actually depend on the Montreal market for most of their revenue. The Burlington, VT stations are WCAX (CBS), WVNY (ABC), WFFF-TV (Fox), and Vermont Public Television (PBS). The Plattsburgh, NY stations are WPTZ (NBC) and WCFE (PBS). These stations are carried on Montreal-area cable networks, along with other English and French language cable stations. (See Multichannel television in Canada.) Western Montreal carries more English-language programming to better serve the large English-speaking market.


English-language radio stations in Montreal include AM stations CKGM (sports), CJAD (news/talk) and CINW (oldies), and FM outlets CBME (CBC Radio One), CKUT (campus radio from McGill University), CFQR (Q92, adult contemporary), CJFM (Mix96, Hot AC), CBM (CBC Radio 2) and CHOM (Classic Rock). Listeners in Sherbrooke, Lennoxville and the Eastern Townships are served by CBC Radio One and CBC Radio 2 and the Bishop's University station CJMQ. CBC Radio One is also available in many other Quebec communities. Parts of the province also receive English-language signals from Ontario, New Brunswick, New York or New England. However, no community in the province besides Montreal has an English commercial station.

Newspapers and periodicals

Offices of The Gazette on Saint Catherine Street in Montreal

Quebec has two English-language daily newspapers: the large Montreal Gazette, and the small Sherbrooke Record, a local newspaper for the Eastern Townships. Many smaller communities in Quebec also have English-language weekly papers, including The Equity in Shawville, the Stanstead Journal in Stanstead, The First Informer in the Magdalen Islands, The Gleaner in Huntingdon, the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph in Quebec City, SPEC in the Gaspé region, the West Quebec Post in Buckingham, the Aylmer Bulletin in Aylmer, the Townships Sun in Lennoxville, the Suburban and the Chronicle in the West Island of Montreal and The LowDown to Hull and Back News in La Pêche. Montreal also has two English alternative weeklies, Hour and Mirror. Maisonneuve is a culturally literate bimonthly general-interest English-language magazine published in Montreal.


The politics of language has always played against issues of Quebec nationalism and Quebec separatism.English-speaking Quebecers maintain a strong Canadian identity, with about 90% opposing Quebec sovereignty in 1980 and 1995 referendums. Having no distinct political representation in Quebec, they tend to vote for the federalist Liberal Party of Canada federally and for the Quebec Liberal Party at the provincial level. In 2001, English-speaking Quebecers viewed provincial language legislation as the principal challenge facing their community and more generally look to the federal government to protect their individual and collective rights from provincial government limits on access to English education, health care, government services, and visibility on public signs.[23]

The Canadian constitution protects the language rights of English-speaking communities and individuals in Quebec. Since 1867, Quebec had full jurisdiction over schools, with only Section 93 of the Constitution Act, 1867 guaranteeing Protestant confessional boards the right to administer most English schools. Section 133 still allows French and English to be used in the Parliament of Canada and the Legislature of Quebec and makes both languages mandatory for the laws, records, and journals of those houses. It also gives any person the right to plead in either English or French in any of the Courts of Quebec. In 1982, Section 23 of the Constitution Act, 1982 guaranteed the right of Canadian citizens educated in English in Canada to attend English schools. This paved the way for the Constitutional Amendment, 1999 (Québec) passed unanimously by Parliament and the National Assembly of Quebec that transformed Protestant confessional into English linguistic school boards.[24] The federal government also maintains the Official Languages Act of 1988 that ensures equality between English and French in the federal civil service, that official minority language groups in Canada receive service in their language where numbers warrant, and that supports the development of communities of speakers of official languages when they constitute a minority in a province or territory.[25]

Provincial legislation has also delimited the language rights of English-speaking Quebecers and the role of their institutions since the Quiet Revolution as French-speaking Québécois sought to improve their economic prospects, assimilate immigrants into their community to maintain their population, and establish French as a language of business. Bill 63, introduced by the Union Nationale government in 1969, required that English schools provide all students with a working knowledge of French. In 1974 the Liberal government of Robert Bourassa passed Bill 22 and restricted access to English schools to children who could pass a language test. In 1977, the separatist Parti Québécois passed the more comprehensive Charter of the French Language (Bill 101). The law made French the language of the civil service and of business in private workplaces with over 50 employees, establishing the rights of all Quebecers to work in the official language of the province; it also favored a demographic shift towards more francophones in Quebec. The Charter was and still is seen as emancipatory and a protector of culture, and is immensely popular among francophone Quebecers.[26]

Other Charter provisions, though, deeply alienated English-speaking Quebecers. The Charter cut off access to English schools to all but children who had a parent who had received their education in English in Quebec. The Charter also eliminated the Constitutional guarantee to English legal proceedings, eliminated English translations of Quebec laws, and banned the use of languages other than French from commercial signs. The law has therefore polarized Quebec along linguistic lines to this day. Legal challenges by English-speaking Quebecers using provisions of the Canadian constitution and international law overturned these provisions, forcing the Quebec government to blunt these Charter provisions many times.

The Charter coupled with the looming 1980 Referendum on Sovereignty triggered an unexpected exodus of English-speaking Quebecers between 1976 and 1980, exacerbating the already existing demographic decline. Head offices that employed anglophones moved mostly to Toronto, taking their employees with them. Structural unemployment in the private sector with the mass hiring of francophones in an expanding civil service limited the economic opportunities of especially young non-bilingual anglophones in Quebec leading them to search for work elsewhere. Young highly educated anglophones, despite high rates of bilingualism and increased contact and openness to francophones, cite limited economic prospects caused by perceived linguistic discrimination and an unsatisfactory political climate as the major factors in their departure. By 2001, 50% of mother-tongue anglophones had left the province.[27]

Faced with increasing marginalization from the political process in Quebec, English-speaking community groups across the province banded together to form Alliance Quebec, a provincial lobby group that would advocate for English-language education, health, and social services. It was supported by the federal Commissioner of Official Languages and members worked with provincial administrations to maintain and increase access to English government services across the province.[28]

Sign laws governing language are a particular irritant to English-speaking Quebecers. When the original Charter provision requiring French only on commercial signs and from trade names was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1988, the Liberal government of Robert Bourrassa passed Bill 178 that made French the only language that could be used on outdoor commercial signs only. This required invoking the notwithstanding clause in the Canadian Constitution, which overrode the Supreme Court decision. Discontent with the Liberals led anglophones in Western Montreal to form the Equality Party in protest, which surprised many by electing 4 candidates in the 1989 provincial election.[29] Anglophone Quebecers would take the case to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, which in 1993 found that the laws banning the commercial display of languages other than French constituted a violation of the right to freedom of expression. As the sign law would have to be renewed in 1993, the Liberal government passed a law that mandated French on signs. As recommended by the Supreme Court, this law allowed other languages on the sign, as long as French was predominant.[30] Although this law stands up to Supreme Court challenges, many anglophones continue to find sign law regulations petty and irritating, wryly referring to the inspectorate that enforces the law as "tongue troopers" and "language cops".[31]

Regardless of legally recognized rights, the practice in long-established institutions has often been to provide more service than what rights alone would dictate. On the other hand, a long-term trend toward providing even less service than what rights call for has been observed, especially in cases when the service-providing entity is newly created; the only recourse being to sue for redress.

In addition to the rights guaranteed by the constitution of Canada, the various regulations outside the Charter recognize other linguistic rights of Quebec anglophones. Quebecers have the right to receive services in English from all public health care and social service institutions in Quebec, although there is considerable controversy as to whether this is in fact the case. The charter also permits bilingual status to cities, but only those with a majority of English mother-tongue residents; other cities are not required to provide services in English but usually do if a significant minority of the population is English-speaking. Ninety-three municipalities offer bilingual services in Quebec.

In 2002, Quebec's French Language Charter was amended with Bill 104, which aims to prevent education received in fully-private English schools or through temporary certificates from producing constitutional education rights. Several court cases are still pending.


In 2001, Quebec had 340 primary and secondary English-language schools administered by nine English-language school boards. As in French-language schools, elementary education goes from Kindergarten to Elementary 6 (K-6), while high school goes from Secondary 1 to 5 (grades 7-11). The curriculum is strictly controlled by the Ministère d'Education, Quebec's provincial education ministry, and is generally identical to that offered in the French-language public school system.

The exception is language education. French is taught as a second language in English schools from Grade 1 onwards, and English is taught as a second in French schools from grade 3 onwards. English schools in the Montreal area were pioneers in French immersion and bilingual education starting in the late 1960s. As a result, they offer a range of established bilingual and short- and long-immersion programs. Programs offering both French and English curricula as a first language have recently been approved by the Ministère d'Education and are increasingly popular. English immersion programs are not common in French-language public schools.

Some English-speaking Quebecers also opt to send their children to French-language schools. As a result, programs to integrate English-speaking children into a French-speaking milieu (particularly in English-speaking areas on the West Island) are increasingly popular in French school boards, and have used in French-language private school for years.

In an addition to the public system, many private schools provide instruction in English, including schools serving religious and cultural communities. Quebec subsidizes a large portion of the tuition on the condition that they teach the provincial curriculum; almost all private schools accept these conditions and the accompanying subsidy.

Access to English-language public and semi-private education is restricted by provincial law to children who have at least one parent educated in English in Canada. Temporary residents of Quebec and English-speaking immigrants whose children have special learning needs may apply to the Ministère d'Education for permission to enter these schools. (see Charter of the French Language). Access to private schools is open to anyone who can afford the tuition.

CEGEPs provide 3-year career certification programs or 2-year pre-University curricula following Grade 11 (Secondary 5) high school. Most CEGEPs are tuition-free; a few are subsidized private institutions. Core courses in English literature, humanities, and French represent about 25% of the curriculum. There are eight English-language CEGEPs, open to all Quebec residents.

English is also the language of instruction at three Quebec universities (McGill University, Concordia University and Bishop's University) that offer 3-year undergraduate programs for Quebec students graduating from CEGEP. They also offer standard 4-year programs to students from all over Canada, North America, and the world. For Quebec residents, 85% of tuition is subsidized by the provincial government. Canadian students pay differential tuition fees based on the Canadian average. Foreign students pay the full cost of their tuition, although Quebec has signed reciprocal agreements with some jurisdictions such as France, Belgium, Bavaria, and Catalonia allowing students to pay local Quebec tuition rates. Concordia offers instruction in French, and exams and assignments may be done in French at all universities.

Health Care

Montreal has several English-language hospitals that offer multilingual services, including service in French:

Outside Montreal, some hospitals also provide services in English.

  • Brome-Missisquoi-Perkins Hospital (Eastern Townships)
  • Pontiac Community Hospital (Shawville)

See also


  1. ^ a b 2006 Community Profiles - Quebec
  2. ^ a b c d Greater Montreal Community Development Initiative (GMCDI) (April 2009). "Demographics and the Long-term Development of the English-speaking Communities of the Greater Montreal Region" (PDF). Montreal: The Quebec Community Groups Network. Retrieved 2007-04-18.  
  3. ^ Department of justice Canada. "Constitutuion Acts 1867 to 1982". Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved 2006-11-16.  
  4. ^ a b c Stevenson, Garth (2004). "English-Speaking Québec: A Political History". in Gagnon, Alain G.. Québec: State and Society, Third Edition. Broadview Press. pp. 329–337. 1551115794.,M1.  
  5. ^ Cree School Board
  6. ^ Commission scolaire Kativik School Board - Nunavik
  7. ^ Welcome to RUIS, McGill Faculty of Medicine
  8. ^ Jedwab, Jack (November 2004). "Going Forward: The Evolution of Quebec’s English-Speaking Community". Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Government of Canada. Retrieved 2007-07-20.  
  9. ^ Morrin Centre. "Anglos in Québec". Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Retrieved 2007-03-15.  
  10. ^ "Voice of English-speaking Québec: A Portrait of the English-speaking Community in Quebec". Voice of English-speaking Québec. 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-15.  
  11. ^ [1] Retrieved on 2008-11-11
  12. ^ [2] Retrieved on 2008-11-11
  13. ^ [3] Retrieved on 2008-11-11
  14. ^ [4] Retrieved on 2008-11-11
  15. ^ Government of Canada Privy Council Office (2003-03-12). "Action Plan for Official Languages". Retrieved 2007-04-27.  
  16. ^ The Canadian Press (2007-12-04). "Quebec immigrants turning to French: census". CTV News. Retrieved 2008-01-22.  
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Jedwab, Jack (November 2004). "Going Forward: The Evolution of Quebec’s English-Speaking Community" (html). Commissioner of Official Languages. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  21. ^ a b Magnan, Marie-Odile (October 2005). "To stay or not to stay: Migrations of young Anglo-Quebecer" (PDF). Groupe sur la recherche sur le migration des jeunes. Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS): Urbanisation, Culture, et Société. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  22. ^ Jedwab, Jack (2007-01-15). "Quebec Turns Red Again When it Comes to Interprovincial Migration" (pdf). Association for Canadian Studies. Retrieved 2007-03-17.  
  23. ^ Jack Jedwab. [ "‘New’ and Not So New Anglos: An Analysis of Quebec Anglophone opinion on the province’s socio-political realities"] (PDF). Missisquoi Institute. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  24. ^ Young, David; Lawrence Bezeau (2003-02-28). [ "Moving From Denominational to Linguistic Education in Quebec"]. Canadian Journal of Educational Administration and Policy (24). Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  25. ^ Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (1988). "Official Languages Act". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  26. ^ Bélanger, Claude (2000). "The Language Laws of Quebec". Marianopolis College. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  27. ^ Magnan, Marie-Odile (2005). ""To Stay or not to Stay:" Migrations of Young Anglo-Quebecers" (PDF). Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS). Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  28. ^ CALDWELL, GARY (2005). "Alliance Québec". Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  29. ^ HUDON, R. (2007). "Bill 178". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  30. ^ HUDON, R. (2007). "Bill 86". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  
  31. ^ BLUE, RICKY (2005-08-28). "No jokes needed - Quebec's Tongue Troopers make fools of themselves". LOG CABIN CHRONICLES. Retrieved 2007-03-02.  


  • Rudin, Ronald (1984). The Forgotten Quebecers: A History of English-Speaking Quebec, 1759-1980.. Montreal: Institut Québécois de Recherche sur la Culture.. ISBN 2892240689.  

Statistics Canada. "Language Composition of Canada". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2006-11-10.  

Health Care

External links

English-speaking community organizations in Quebec
Other Links
  • Bill 199 Bill Charter of the French and English Languages (1992)


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