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Michael Bolen

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It's Time For Canada To Cut Off The Queen

Posted: 01/31/2014 10:21 am

 

God, the Queen must save.

That's the decree in a new report from a U.K. House of Commons committee tasked with overseeing the royal finances.

You see, Queen Liz's reserve fund is down to its last million pounds. The palaces are crumbling. The advisors are making an awful mess of the budget. And no matter how hard the royals try, they just can't seem to cut spending.

I say, let the Queen go bankrupt. It can't happen soon enough. The last thing the Commonwealth or Canada needs is a costly reminder of a period when an aristocratic elite ruled supreme -- especially in an age in which a plutocratic elite rules supreme. The royals, after all, were the original 1 per cent.

Of course, there is little actual risk of royal ruination. The Queen received £31 million pounds ($57 million) from the U.K. Treasury in 2012-13, as well as generating £11.6 million ($21 million) in "other" income. And the amount of funding the monarch receives is guaranteed to increase every year. In 2013-14 Elizabeth will receive £36.1 million ($67 million) from the British taxpayer. That's a lot of corgis.

But those are the government numbers. When you take other costs into consideration, such as security and her special tax status, estimates for the cost of the monarchy can jump to as high as £200 million ($368 million) per year.

In short, the Queen is still pretty flush. And Canada is doing its part to reward the royals for, well, being born.

The federal government doesn't contribute to paying for the Queen's fleet of Bentleys, Jaguars and Land Rovers, but it does cover the cost of royal visits. In 2011, we contributed $1.2 million (not including security) to help the royals rebrand via Will and Kate's official visit.

It seems the royals are well aware that the public is (or was) tiring of paying for Charles to play polo. The less-than-charming Prince was never particularly adept at doing the one thing that keeps the monarchy around -- posing for pretty photos that feed the public's voyeuristic obsession with wealth. Because, as Lorde says, "we'll never be royals" ourselves.

Hence the global campaign to recast the monarchy as new, attractive, glamorous and considerably less inbred. And much of the public has enthusiastically embraced Will, Kate and baby George.

But there are signs of dissent. Lorde scored the best song Grammy for "Royals" on Sunday. The track is an astute critique of our culture's obsession with the trappings of wealth and the lyrics tell the story of a change in the air.

"It don't run in our blood / That kind of luxe just ain't for us."

I was relieved to see that Lorde may be right. There are 138,000,000 Google hits for "Occupy Wall Street." "The Royal Baby"? 30,800,000.'

There's no reason Canadians should indulge in the curious human habit of celebrating the rich and powerful people who oppress us. The case is even stronger when it comes to the royals because they've done nothing to earn their status. At least Kim Kardashian has made some pretty noteworthy videos.

Blog continues below slideshow

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  • The coronation

    (FILES) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Prince Philip pose on the Queen's Coronation day, 02 June 1953, in Buckingham Palace, in London. Queen Elizabeth II was set Thursday 20 December 2007, to become the oldest monarch, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria amid signs the royal family is preparing for life after 81-year-old 'Lillibet'. Victoria died in 1901 aged 81 years and 243 days, and Elizabeth will mark passing the milestone with neither pomp nor ceremony, spending the day as usual with her husband of 60 years, Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Diamond Jubilee Floral Crown Installed In St. James's Park

    A woman admires a large floral crown made to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in St James's Park on May 29, 2012 in London, England. The four meter high floral crown took five weeks to construct and weighs approximately five tonnes; it was constructed in Cornwall using 13,500 individual plants. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

  • Imperial State Crown

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown walks through the Royal Gallery toward the Chamber of the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster during the State Opening of Parliament in London on May 9, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the coalition government's legislative programme in a speech delivered to Members of Parliament and Peers in the House of Lords. AFP PHOTO / POOL / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Order of the British Empire

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II attends a service for the Order of the British Empire, at St Paul's Cathedral in London, on March 7, 2012. The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order of the British Empire, and the Duke of Edinburgh is Grand Master of the Order. AFP PHOTO / LUKE MACGREGOR/POOL (Photo credit should read LUKE MACGREGOR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A crown for a State Dinner

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) smiles at the State Dinner with Irish President Mary McAleese (R) and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron at Dublin Castle in Dublin on May 18, 2011. Queen Elizabeth II extended her 'deep sympathy' to all those who have suffered in the turbulent intertwined history of Britain and Ireland, in the keynote speech on May 18 of her historic state visit. AFP PHOTO/PETER MUHLY (Photo credit should read PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • She even lends them out

    Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing the 1936 Cartier 'halo' tiara which was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth II walks out of the West Door of Westminster Abbey following her marriage to Britain's Prince William in London on April 29, 2011. AFP PHOTO / CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The royal crown visits Canada

    TORONTO, ON - JULY 05: Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech during a dinner at the Royal York Hotel on July 5, 2010 in Toronto, Canada. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are on an eight day tour of Canada starting in Halifax and finishing in Toronto. The trip is to celebrate the centenary of the Canadian Navy and to mark Canada Day. On July 6th, the royal couple will make their way to New York where the Queen will address the UN and visit Ground Zero. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

  • House of Lords address

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II speaks during her address to the house of Lords, during the State Opening of Parliament in Westminster, central London on May 25, 2010. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II set out the new coalition government's legislative programme on Tuesday in a ceremony of pomp and history following the closest general election for decades. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal/Pool (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Crown in a carriage

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, is driven in a horse drawn carriage, to the Houses of Parliament, for the State Opening of Parliament, in central London on May 25, 2010. Britain's Queen Elizabeth II set out the new coalition government's legislative programme on Tuesday in a ceremony of pomp and history following the closest general election for decades. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Birds-eye view

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves the Houses of Parliament after delivering her speech at the annual State Opening of Parliament on November 18, 2009 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the Government's legislative programme in a speech delivered from the Throne in The House of Lords. This new session of Parliament will only last until the general election which has to be called by June 3, 2010. (Photo by Toby Melville/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

  • A dash of crown colour

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth is pictured before an official diner with the Slovenian President at Brdo Castle on October 21, 2008. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are on a two-day official visit to Slovenia. AFP PHOTO Srdjan Zivulovic/pool (Photo credit should read SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A wedding day gift

    A diamonds and silver tiara given to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding day 20 November 1947 by Queen Mary is displayed 27 July 2007 in London.To mark the 60th anniversary of marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace will open its doors to the public for a special Summer Exhibition 28 July 2007 in which the wedding day in 1947 will re-created with archive footage and costumes on display. AFP PHOTO / SHAUN CURRY (Photo credit should read SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A wedding day gift

    London, UNITED KINGDOM: A diamonds and silver tiara given to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding day 20 November 1947 by Queen Mary is displayed 27 July 2007 in London.To mark the 60th anniversary of marriage of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Buckingham Palace will open its doors to the public for a special Summer Exhibition 28 July 2007 in which the wedding day in 1947 will re-created with archive footage and costumes on display. AFP PHOTO / SHAUN CURRY (Photo credit should read SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Crown solo

    LONDON - NOVEMBER 15: HRH Queen Elizabeth II's crown is transported from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the state opening on November 15, 2006 in London. The Queen officially opens the next session of Parliament which is to be Prime Minister, Tony Blair's last before he stands down as leader. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

  • Timeless sparkle

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II rides in a carriage 13 November 2002 as she leaves Buckingham Palace to travel to the House of Lords to outline the government's plans for the next year's legislation. AFP PHOTO POOL EPA/PA/KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH (Photo credit should read KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Another view

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is seen at the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament 23 November 2004, in London. The British government announced Tuesday a range of new measures to fight global terrorism and organised crime, as Queen Elizabeth II set out its new legislative agenda. (Photo credit should read RUSSELL BOYCE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Carries the crown

    LONDON - NOVEMBER 23: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she looks out of the window of her horse drawn carriage as she leaves the Houses of Parliament after delivering her annual speech at the State Opening of Parliament November 23, 2004 in London, England. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

  • With Bill Clinton

    US President Bill Clinton and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smile for the cameras during the group photo session at the Guildhall 04 June 1994 prior to a celebratory banquet for the 50th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. (Photo credit should read GERRY PENNY/AFP/Getty Images)

  • With the Bushes

    US President George Bush (R) talks to Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as they stand with First Lady Barbara Bush (L), 14 May 1991, in Washington, DC, as the queen and her husband Prince Philip arrive at the White House for a state dinner. (Photo credit should read J. DAVID AKE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A crown for Chretien

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses with (L-R) Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, South African President Nelson Mandela and New Zealand Prime Minister James Bolger late 10 November prior to a dinner with Commonwealth heads of government. The Queen hosted the dinner for the CHOGM heads in Auckland before leaving for home at the end a 10-day royal visit to New Zealand. (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)

  • Royal accessory

    French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing (R) chats with Queen Elizabeth II at a dining table of the French Embassy, in London, on June 25, 1976, during the last day of the official visit of the French President and his wife. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read ARCHIVE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen's speech regalia

    The Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in royal regalia, posed for this special Jubilee picture in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace, after she had delivered the traditional Queen's speech at the 1976 official State Opening of Parliament. She wears the Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State, also known as the Parliamentary Robe. Around her neck is the Jubilee Necklace of diamonds and pearls and the chain is the Collar of the Order of the Garter, Britain's premier order of Knighthood. Her gown is of white silk with bands of gold and silver embroidery. (Photo credit should read /AFP/Getty Images)

  • The crown is hers alone

    (FILES) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (L) accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd, 02 June 1953, after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. Queen Elizabeth II was set Thursday 20 December 2007, to become the oldest monarch, overtaking her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria amid signs the royal family is preparing for life after 81-year-old 'Lillibet'. Victoria died in 1901 aged 81 years and 243 days, and Elizabeth will mark passing the milestone with neither pomp nor ceremony, spending the day as usual with her husband of 60 years, Prince Philip. AFP PHOTO/FILES (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

We long ago decided that monarchical rule was barbarous and yet we cling to the scraps. Let's leave this part of the past where it belongs: in the dustbin of history.

I'm not saying Canada should try to amend the Constitution and become a republic. It's not worth the trouble. But we should stop paying for publicity tours. And let's use our coins and banknotes to celebrate people who've actually done something good for humanity. Let's stop glorifying the the descendants of a caste that has done so much to expand global misery and so little to expand the gene pool.

But Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are actually doing everything in their power to move us in the opposite direction. At every turn they seek to emphasize Canada's connection to the Queen and her brood. The government set aside a whopping $7.5 million to celebrate Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.

One angry Canadian's letter expressed it best: "I think she is quite capable of paying for her own birthday party."

As another Canadian pointed out, the money for the Jubilee would have been much better spent on health care or social housing.

But it seems, as "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" brilliantly observed, that when it comes to spending taxpayers' money, the Tories have a lot of in common with the royals.

We let it happen. Many of us actually encourage it. All because some perverse impulse drives us to respect authority even when it hasn't been earned.

When I was a teen, a strange twist of fate landed me at a private lunch with Prince Edward. I was terrified. I cut my salad with a knife and fork.

Now, Edward has made some lovely documentaries and struck me as a perfectly nice, if slightly old-fashioned, chap. But my awe of him was all out of proportion. I behaved like a frightened vassal. I feel nothing but embarrassment about it.

Today, I would take a pass and tell Eddie to buy lunch for someone less fortunate. Better yet, give up the public funding and come join the other 99 per cent.

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Loading Slideshow...
  • Elizabeth, Duchess of York (1900 - 2002) holding her baby, the future Queen Elizabeth II, May 1926. (Speaight/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth wearing a frilled bonnet and sitting on a woman's knee in an open carriage, March 1927. (T. Kimsey/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • A portrait of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, June 1927. (Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, circa 1930. (SSPL/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) picking flowers in a photograph taken by her father, King George VI, circa 1930. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Picture dated from the year 1933 of Princess Margaret (L), the younger sister of future Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R), in London, United Kingdom. (AFP/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth (left), later Queen Elizabeth II, riding her tricycle in a park, circa 1935. (Keystone/Getty Images)

  • Elizabeth, Duchess of York, at a railway station with her two daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret (1930-2002), circa 1935. Princess Elizabeth has one of the family's corgis on a leash. (Evening Standard/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, London, waving to the crowd shortly after their wedding at Westminster Abbey, 20th November 1947. (Central Press/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) during a visit to members of the public at their homes in Ilford, Essex, 25th October 1949. (William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth II at play with her infant son Prince Charles. The picture was taken in Princess Elizabeth's private sitting room at Buckingham Palace on April 9th, 1949. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain) with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and their baby son Prince Charles, July 1949. (Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • A suitably clothed Queen Elizabeth II, prepares to visit the coal face at Rothes Colliery in Kircaldy, Fifeshire, Scotland, 1st July 1953. (Central Press/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Prince Philip waves to the crowd, 02 June 1953 after being crowned solemnly at Westminter Abbey in London. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The cover of the second Picture Post Coronation Souvenir issue featuring the newly-crowned Queen Elizabeth II, 13th June 1953. (Picture Post/IPC Magazines/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth in front of a leper colony at Oji River Settlement in Nigeria on October 10, 1956. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II inspects men of the newly-renamed Queen's Own Nigeria Regiment, Royal West African Frontier Force, at Kaduna Airport, Nigeria, during her Commonwealth Tour, 2nd February 1956. (Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II in Sweden, 23rd June 1956. (M. McKeown/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • The young Queen of England, ELIZABETH II along with her husband PHILIP, Prince of Edinburgh (next to her) is greeting the young King FAYSAL II of Iraq at Victoria Station, London, United Kingdom. (Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles at Windsor Great Park, during a polo match, 1956. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II at Epsom Downs Racecourse for the Oaks Stakes, Surrey, 1960. (Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • An undated picture shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) standing next to her daughter Princess Anne. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor Park photographing her corgis in 1960, in England. (Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II using a Flying Doctor Service radio to address the people of Alice Springs, Australia during a visit to the town's flying doctor base, 18th March 1963. (Central Press/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on the steps of Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand before opening the island's Parliament, 18th February 1963. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit a farm on the Balmoral estate in Scotland, during their Silver Wedding anniversary year, September 1972. (Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth ll wearing a hood to protect her from the rain smiles during a visit to the Windsor Horse Show, Windsor, England in May of 1975. (Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II with a group of local children during her state visit to Mexico, 1975. (Serge Lemoine/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II having a grand picnic with the King of Tonga, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, in 1977. (Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth ll picks up a mango as she tours a market in the British Virgin Islands in October of 1977. (Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II chats to ladies in North London during the year of her Silver Jubilee, 6th July 1977. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II greets the crowds outside St Paul's Cathedral on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee, 7th June 1977. (Fox Photos/Getty Images)

  • Charles, Prince of Wales, bows and his bride, Lady Diana, curtsies to Queen Elizabeth as they leave St Paul's Cathedral, on July 29, 1981, after their marriage. (ARCHIVE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II inspects the Canadian Guard of Honour, 01 July 1992, before taking part in Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada. (CHRIS WILKINS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II walks at Saint James's Palace in London, United Kingdom on 05 September 1997 as she paid her respects to Diana, Princess of Wales, who will be buried 06 September. (JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The Duke of Edinburgh (L) and Queen Elizabeth view the thousands of flowers and tributes left outside Kensington Palace in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, 05 September 1977. (JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elisabeth II shakes hands with Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice) of the pop group 'Spice Girls' as (From L to R) Emma, Victoria, Mel C and Mel B (far right) look on, after their 01 December 1997 Royal Variety performance at London's Victoria Palace Theatre. (AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II visits RAF Marham 30 January 2002, on the first public engagement of her Jubilee year. (ANDREW PARSONS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II (R), the Countess of Wessex (2nd R), the Prince of Wales (2nd L) and Prince William (L) share a laugh during the Parade along the Mall in London, 04 June 2002, to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee. (JOHN GILES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh ride along The Mall in an open-top car as they return from a banquet at Guildhall in the City of London, 04 June 2002, to watch a parade outside Buckingham Palace. (JOHN GILES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip ride in the Golden State Carriage at the head of a parade from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee, June 4, 2002 along The Mall in London. (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles as she greets wellwishers on a Royal visit to Uxbridge in West London, England, June 25, 2002. (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

  • Queen Elizabeth II addresses the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, July 6, 2010, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses for an official photo with soldiers of the Grenadier Guards after presenting their new colours, in the garden of Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday May 11, 2010, London. (AP Photo/Anthony Devlin-pa)

  • HM Queen Elizabeth II leaves after unveiling a new statue of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother on the Mall on February 24, 2009 in London, England. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II stands by a cross bearing a poppy, during the service of remembrance, at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. The annual service is a memorial to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II reads the Queen's Speech to lawmakers in the House of Lords in London, Wednesday, May 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, Pool)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, left, inspect the horses in the parade ring before the Derby race at Epsom Derby, Epsom, southern England, Saturday June 2, 2012 the first official day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. (AP Photo/Ben Stansall, Pool)

  • Britain's Prince Charles, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William stand on the balcony at Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in central London Tuesday June 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Stefan Wermuth, Pool)

  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II departs St Paul's Cathedral, London with the Dean of St Paul's David Ison, left, following a service of thanksgiving on the last day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London, Tuesday, June 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, left, laughs as Britain's Queen Elizabeth II gestures while they watch part of a children's sports event during a visit to Vernon Park in Nottingham, central England, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Phil Noble, Pool)

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