From time immemorial it has been understood that when there is a crisis, or in the aftermath of one, leaders are expected to be there to provide hope, offer comfort, demonstrate understanding, and show they are in control. 

Pierre Trudeau, the 15th prime minister of Canada, admired, even if not loved (Photo: Yousuf Karsh).

This is axiomatic, intuitively understood in all societies, an expectation bred in the bone of all human beings. 

Of course, for politicians in the democratic era, it is an opportunity as well as a duty.

Performative as it may seem, if they are seen at the site of a crisis, filling a sandbag, holding a baby while comforting its mom, or sitting head held high as rocks and bottles rain down – as Pierre Trudeau did at the St-Jean-Baptiste Day parade in Montreal in 1968 – they will be admired, even if they are not loved. 

If they shuffle off on holiday or to a more congenial event, or simply fail to show without explanation, they can expect to be accused of dereliction of duty, even reviled. 

So where was Alberta Premier Danielle Smith yesterday? 

Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Not at Edmonton City Hall in the aftermath of the frightening – although thankfully not deadly – shooting and firebombing Tuesday.

One would have thought this would be a great opportunity to speak about the need for peace in our society, how our differences ought not to divide us, and how attacks on symbols of democracy are attacks on us all. 

Nope. Not a word. No sign of her.

No sign of anyone else from the United Conservative Party Government, either. 

Not even a statement on the government’s official website, where there is always room for a spurious attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Rex Murphy, one of the Three Stooges of Canadian right-wing journalism (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

It’s not as if there was any risk. A suspect has been arrested and the Edmonton Police say they are certain he acted alone.

But City Hall was locked down tight yesterday, someone is bound to say. 

Well, so it was, but there’s still a street out front, isn’t there?

So where was Premier Smith, and what was she doing? 

Well, as it happened she was not that far away – just a short flight south in Calgary. 

But then, Ms. Smith doesn’t really like Edmonton City Hall at the best of times – and presumably even less so at the worst of times. 

When was the last time she visited the place in any capacity?

Did she even call Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi, who was in the building when the bullets and firebombs started flying? (Could be, I suppose. But if so, there’s no official indication of it.) 

If this had happened in Calgary, you can count on it Ms.Smith would have been at the Municipal Building with every member of her cabinet wearing cowboy hats and serious expressions. 

But Ms. Smith was not available for a reason that is entirely on brand.

The former right-wing Corus Radio broadcaster – freshly back from an out-of-province vacation during which she also ignored the state of the province’s shaky electrical system, its collapsing health care system, and the housing and homelessness crisis – was excitedly awaiting lunch with Tucker Carlson, the fired Fox News talking head and “leading voice of white grievance politics.” 

After lunch, she joined him on stage to chitchat about their shared enthusiasms in front of the Cowtown audience, some of whom had even paid for their own tickets.

She’d already had dinner with the social media bloviator and advocate of a U.S. invasion of Canada the night before and, by all accounts, a wonderful time was had by all.

Mr. Carlson was then off to Edmonton for more of the same, this time an evening on stage at Rogers Place where he was supposed to be joined by the Three Stooges of right-wing Canadian journalism, Conrad Black, Jordan Peterson, and Rex Murphy. 

Alas, Mr. Murphy couldn’t make it, and suspended lawyer John Carpay, famous for hiring a private dick to follow a judge, had to step in for him. 

Ms. Smith, characteristically, cheerfully tweeted a picture of herself with Dr. Peterson, Mr. Carlson and Lord Tubby in which she commented that “free speech means you don’t just have to talk to the mainstream media.” 

You can’t make this stuff up. If the National Post, the now moribund rag founded by Mr. Black in 1998 that congenially hosts Moe, Larry and Curly on a regular basis and depends on federal grants to survive, is not mainstream media, God only knows what is. 

Let’s not waste time troubling ourselves about what any of them had to say. It’s all far-right drivel and you can read plenty of accurate accounts on social media and in mainstream news right now. There are also video clips

There will be so much of it in the next few days that you’ll grow weary at the repetition. 

Meanwhile, though, people throughout Alberta are deeply concerned, and deserved to hear from their provincial leader, if only briefly, about what happened on Tuesday in Edmonton.

But their premier and the rest of her cabinet had better things to do. 

It is another sign, if we needed one, that Ms. Smith is a dangerously unserious politician who doesn’t even understand this simple obligation of leadership. 

She should return to broadcasting, or at least social media vlogging like Mr. Carlson in the post-Fox remnant of his career, as quickly as possible. 

We would all be happier.

Join the Conversation



  2. Having a speaking engagement with convicted criminals, such as Conrad Black, as well as these alt right fools, such as Tucker Carlson and Jordan Peterson, isn’t a good look for Danielle Smith and the UCP. The people that were in attendance were the easy to fool types. They took everything that was being said at this event, like it was the gospel, even though there lacked any facts. Justinflation? Inflation is a global thing, which Tucker Carlson doesn’t get. The sludge that we have in Alberta is getting less and less demand, as more economically viable types of oil keep permeating the market. Our oil sands have a very finite lifespan left, and Danielle Smith can’t change that. When decarbonization happens, the oilsands will be the first to go. Danielle Smith should be concerned about the drought we are facing, hospital wait times not being reduced, and other issues of concern, but she is wasting her time at this. If that incident at Edmonton’s City Hall happened in Danielle Smith’s riding of Brooks Medicine Hat, or in some other part of Alberta, where there is a Conservative/UCP stronghold, she’d be saying something about it really quickly, but since it’s not a Conservative/UCP stronghold, Danielle Smith doesn’t care.

  3. Lord Almost smiles like he just won a cherry pit spitting contest with his buddy Donald Trump.

  4. Never been more embarrassed as an Albertan in 40 years than last night as our PREMIER Danielle Smith stood proudly between two low IQ conspiracy limps, and a convicted criminal Conrad Black. Really outdid yourself this time, Donkey Danielle!

  5. For a person who went to such great lengths to grandstand over getting Turkish Tylenot for the kiddies, you’d might think she’d comment about the Grade One students who were endangered by the lone wolf gunman at Edmonton’s city hall. No. Nothing. Then again, that Turkish Tylenot was potentially toxic to certain newborns. Lest we forget the hundreds of children poisoned by E. Coli on her watch? Our premier’s concern for children seems to wax and wane like the January Wolf Moon.

    All citizens affected by this incident deserve acknowledgement from the premier, but none will get it until she is shamed into performative empathy, or fempathy, as I call it (faux empathy). Why fake empathy or even mild concern with the next election three years away? Oh, wait, there’s another election sooner, and Tucker Carlson has some valuable connections in that one.

    Power and politics over people: that is the Smith regime. Forget about the fourth estate as a pillar of democracy. We’re in the post-democracy era now in Alberta. Things are about to hit the fan.

  6. Holy Toledo! What a catch! How were they able to get Jordon Peterson? He is the 21st Century’s foremost expert on male masculinity!!!!!!!!!

  7. One of your commenters on Alberta Politics stated that rather than throw insults we should do something to stop the UCP/TBA. Who is this we? Are your readers, David, ready to be seen in public expressing their dismay? Who will lead the charge? While the UCP is absent regarding what happened at city hall, and indeed Edmonton is neglected and the UCP distain for Edmonton is palatable, still the people who support the UCP/TBA filled the Tucker/Danielle show. Their priorities are evident. Some think that most Albertans do not subscribe to Carlson and his ilk, but where were they? Why was there no organized protest? Have the people/public been silenced somehow? Media is all over promoting Trump/the UCP/TBA because the clickbait makes them money and we know that media is bought and paid for by those who support discord. The idea that this too shall pass may bring comfort to some. We are in for one wild ride because the disgruntled are not going away and by the time change comes, this time it will be too late. Read We Are Doomed Now What? by Scranton and the plethora of books that cry out, detail, and articulate our common plight as we live in time of plague when the mad lead the blind. Expect untold misery to intensify over the next months and then expect world conflict. Consider yourself fortunate if you are alive should this epoch end, but you will certainly be living in horrific circumstances, far beyond what is currently happening. So, I ask you and your readers, where and who do we contact to express our dismay and make our public stance? To reference Goethe the world is the universe’s insane asylum. Must it be so?

    1. You make contact by showing up and forcing them to try to control overt opposition. I guess now since Dani has sanctioned border blockades, maybe we should blockade the Calgary Airport. With bicycles and wheel chairs. One does live in hope! But I agree. What fools have been elected here? The biglyest!

    2. Brother if you legitimately think I only say these things privately, or somewhat anonymously on this blog, I’ve got a good chunk of the original Walterdale bridge for sale

  8. What a remarkable display of insouciance from our Premier. Not a care in the world about giving the credibility of her high office to an American who has advocated the violent overthrow and invasion of our nation. Does she really want to go there? This seems like an unhinged throwback to the Social Credit “Back to the Bible Hour.” That is where the Premier of the day wailed about the “50 big shots” on Bay Street (all Jews, don’t ya know) while pulling our collective pants down for the American oil wildcatters and a whole collection of other carpetbaggers from south of the border.

  9. Laugh, yes, you can call him a racist. You know you want to.

    And that unserious politician beat the snot out of the NDP with a couple months of preparation. And is showing well in her governance.

    Yet you think she should rush to be involved in a crisis photo. Typical progressive thought.

    1. So let me get this straight. You align yourself with Jordan “incell” Peterson, along with Conrad “I am a Lord of the Realm!” Black and Tucker Carlson? Boy you must be a man who is known by the company he keeps! Good for you!
      *chef’s kiss*

    2. Bret Larson: Danielle Smith and the UCP couldn’t win the election without lying. Now we are paying for it. There are people who refuse to learn about phony Conservatives and Reformers, and the damage they cause.

    3. She’s the worst premier we ever had, she has surrounded herself with bad advisors, and her bad governance is killing Albertans.

    4. Brett,

      Where ya been!?

      Also, which part of her governance are you talking about? The entire city of Edmonton bristling with rage at their intransigence? Tylenot? Getting repeatedly owned by the federal libs ? Changing the rules on MLA gifts ?

      Photo ops with benzo Peterson, lord F face of cross harbour ? Disgraced former television host who probably works for the cia and is a trust fund heir ?

      Maybe you think her so far extremely unpopular push to destroy the health care system ? Or you like she’s trying to steal your pension to give it to oil and gas companies that are no longer profitable ?

      R star ?

      Disgracing the office of the Premier by interfering in the operations of the public prosecutor??

      Should I keep going ?

      Enlighten me.

      Is it just, she hates the same people you hate ? Because that’s what it looks like to me. Welcome back, hope you enjoyed your break, you’re arguments are still those of a petulant child, full of ego, full of fury, signifying nothing.

    5. Bret Larson— stating the obvious is rather redundant, but since you seem to think it’s just us who comment here;
      —NPR: May 12 2022
      “Has Tucker Carlson created the most racist show in the history of cable news?
      —The Guardian July 27,2023
      ” TCarlson says being racist is not a crime…
      —Rolling Stone April 24 2023
      “….built his status at Fox news hawking racism, conspiracy theories….
      —CNN May 3, 2023
      “Tucker Carlson’s racist text messages shouldn’t be surprising ”

      ergo: if it looks like a rotten apple, sounds like a rotten apple, you have yourself a barrel full of rotten apples….

      “beat the snot out of the NDP and is doing well in her governance “, am I to ascertain that there was no TV, radio, internet service where you’ve been _______?Because if you actually believe that twaddle, I am honestly sorry for you.
      Hook, line and sinker.

  10. Ole Rex Murphy. Formerly of Cross-Canada Checkup (on the CBC) he has now taken to being the grump for hire at so many events.

    Sporting a somewhat short hair that was a far cry from his usual Three Stooges personae, he rambled on and on about how the young whippersnappers are ruining everything for the older folk. If life everywhere could only be like that back on the Rock, yada yada yada.

  11. I used to call him lord F**kface of cross harbour, lord tubby is a bit more printable I guess. Haha

      1. Hey nothing wrong with crossdressing if trump hadn’t pardoned him He’d still be a felon and I believe he’s still no longer a citizen so maybe we should deport his weak ass to crossharbour

  12. It is very puzzling Smith would not say something about what happened at City Hall in Edmonton. Surely she understands the importance of this as a symbolic decent nice gesture. Perhaps she was mentally still on vacation or busy preparing for her big show.

    Actually, a lot else has happened while she has been away, some of it warranting comment, a statement or even action too. Perhaps her supporters, who seem quick to condemn every trip Trudeau takes, were too busy doing that to notice how long she has been AWOL. Or maybe they, like some of us, were grateful she was gone, hoping things may run better without her.

    It is too bad her expected trio of right wing but mainstream journalists was not complete and she had to make a substitution. Rex Murphy seldom misses an opportunity to praise an Alberta Conservative leader. Perhaps he had another pressing engagement to accept an award for crankiest journalist of the year. If so, well deserved in my opinion.

  13. Awkward moment avoided: Jagmeet Singh bumps into Tucker Carlson in Edmonton coffee shop. NDP flyers spontaneously combust in Tucker’s grasp.

    1. Lefty: You are obviously familiar with the old joke about why people join different Canadian political parties: People join the Conservatives, it is said, to get drunk. They join the Liberals to get lucky. They join the NDP to get … LEAFLETS! DJC

  14. Playing (second) fiddle to a mercenary American rabble rouser while Edmonton burns is on brand for Premier. Sigh‍♂️

  15. Well after 30 seconds of pondering the headline photo? It came to mind, that anyone who would want these cast offs, needs to support them with a vote, likely in the hope that sentient beings don’t show up at the polls! Anything but these people would be a start!

  16. Great blog as always. Reminded me of something slightly off topic but another reflexive act leaders do across party lines. Did Pierre Poilivere ever comment on the passing of Ed Broadbent? I checked media at the time & found no comment or any media calling him out for not doing so.

    1. It could be that since Mr. Peepers tossed his specs into the trash bin he has trouble reading anything. Maybe his handlers forgot to tell him.

    2. James— a few hours after the expected notices were posted PP* posted on X- (Jan 11@ 3:38pm)

      “My condolences to the family and friends of Ed Broadbent.

      Canada owes a great deal to the selfless dedication of patriotic Canadians from all walks of life.

      *whether it was him or more likely his social media adviser SSkamski , you can make your own judgment on what that statement actually means. It left me with a twitch. In the meantime PP was on his way for his mysterious trip to Winnipeg, where shortly after leaving for Thunder Bay etc; another announcement by Heather Stefanson….(just another curious coincidence) .

      On P&P/, question put forward as to “when is he going to call out Danielle ” for what lunching with, (I’m being really polite,) questionable friends. But the gist of that was the same as when his caucus members lunched with AFD Christine Anderson. You know “,free speech, yada yada….In other words- so what?

  17. My goodness David – this picture almost gave me a heart attack. The reason I held firm is because I was scared to go to any emergency room where I would predictability die in the waiting room.
    This photo alone tells us clearly who the premier of Alberta is and what her objectives are.
    We know we have enough rednecks in this province to export freely but this is the all circus administration together in one shot.

  18. Absurdist PR politics and the public stage show itself is simply a crass display of the class solidarity that is devoted to furthering the interests of the economically privileged and powerful. Tucker Carlson represents and embodies those same class interests. For example,

    “The millionaire Swanson’s Foods heir from La Jolla, California, may present himself as the champion of the middle class in his broadcasts from a private studio near his home on an island in the middle of a pond in Maine. But that’s all a part of his economic populism scam, a facade in which he offers little discussion of the impact government policy has on the lives of Americans. Instead, Carlson presents an angrier and more apocalyptic update of Bill O’Reilly’s “culture war” schtick, subbing in references to the “ruling class” and “elites” for his Fox predecessor’s pin-headed “secular-progressives. For all his paens to the middle class, Carlson’s show is propped up by its symbiotic relationships with a handful of extremely wealthy men. Fox honchos Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have his back because they agree with his toxic rhetoric. Mike Lindell, the CEO of My Pillow, subsidizes the program with ads in order to build his own right-wing brand. And President Donald Trump turns to Carlson for advice while receiving political support from him.”

    2. “For his fans, the criticisms of him and the controversy drummed up by the show create the perception of Carlson (a rich white man who owns multiple homes and could inherit even more money) as an underdog.”

    3. “Putting over an ideological persona and conning the public is not easy. The task requires a thorough mastery of trickery and illusion or “kayfabe,” a carny-derived term for the extreme strain of method acting peculiar to the sport. Professional ideologues treat kayfabe with a devotion that requires denying the obvious. It’s a head game. When you know you’re faking and the audience knows you’re faking and you know the audience knows you know you’re faking —that’s kayfabe.”

    4. Confidence tricksters need a steady supply of suckers. That supply appears to be never ending.

    1. and he is so toxic with the racism and misogyny and fascism that even Fox had to let him go.

  19. Some people in Canada have ancestors who fought in the War of Independence on the English side. Their ancestors were not on the American side in the War of 1812, either. Take note, Tucker Carlson. Swanson’s dinners or chocolates? Better prepare. Your proposed invasion by mouthy millionaires won’t be a cake walk.

    1. Abs: Indeed, and never forget that the United Empire Loyalists were political refugees from the political violence of the American traitors. DJC

    2. I learned in school that the US Capitol building was burnt to the ground by the British in the War of 1812. My children learned, properly, that it was Canadians that did the burning – of course. Not really apposite, but the only other time the US Capitol has been invaded by a hostile force was January 6, 2021 (this time carrying a Confederate flag). The New Yorker did a great piece a while ago about the radicalism behind the American Revolution, and the more evolutionary development of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada, which may account for why things are more sane north of the Medicine Line. Anyway, I really hope that at some point Albertans remember that they are Canadians, and have a proud history themselves, and need not concern themselves with the nonsense down south.

      1. American Friend: While British soldiers and marines definitely burned the old capitol and the White House on Aug. 24, 1814, there is no evidence there was a single Canadian at any of the fires. That said, as I argued in 2018, we’ve been taking credit for it for so long we own it anyway. DJC

        1. Remind: the only Canadians who existed at that time were Canadien—as “Canada” referred to the mostly French-speaking population of the recently conquered New France, the upper, or upstream, part of which was not populated with english-speaking British-American refugees until the American Rebellion (as United Empire Loyalists and the British government called it) had been largely complete.

          The German branch of my own ancestry (which came to New England in the early 17th century, probably as a Protestant Puritan) crossed the Niagara River frontier in 1781, five years after the Rebellion began and two years before it ended, part of the 100,000 Loyalists who took refuge in the newly expanded British North America. It remains the largest single emigration event from the USA, tied with that of conscientious objectors (“draft dodgers”) of the Vietnam War.

          These Felkers (formerly Volker) settled on the Niagara Peninsula near St Catherines and doubtlessly saw plenty of bloody warfare during the American invasions during the War of 1812. I haven’t discovered that any of my ancestors participated in ad hoc courts martial which condemned the few American expat settlers who sided with the invaders (some were hung, some deported to Australia)—but I’m still digging.

          I have heard of some Canadien irregulars attending the burning of the American Capitol, but I rather doubt they accompanied regular British marines who arrived by naval vessels. Perhaps they came some other way, but I doubt it was overland since British troops did not occupy any other part of the USA—except for New Orleans for a little, embarrassing while (the War had actually ended by the time of the Battle of New Orleans—which happens to be the name of the very first song I learned on guitar, way back when Johnny Horton’s most famous number was still charting) but neither combatant had received the news yet. I think the notion is really wishful thinking, Canadians nowadays —and probably not long after the fiery event—are proud, or want to be, of burning down Washington for a few days in 1814, shortly before the War of 1812 was ended.

          As far as I can determine, the Felker line has died out. My father’s mother, one of three sisters, was a Felker who changed her name to my grandfather’s anglicized Scottish surname. I suspect the original name-change was an anglicization of the Saxon “Volker” and probably happened just before my ancestor embarked for the New world (and probably during a conversion to English Puritanism)—almost three centuries from New England to Upper Canada to Ontario.

          1. Scotty: My first relative in North America was also from Germany, coming over with a Hessian regiment to fight for the Crown in the Revolutionary War. He was demobbed back to Germany and turned around and came back to the States, thereafter coming to Canada in the 1790s and settling on the Canadian side of the Niagara River. DJC

  20. It is astonishing that there is not one UCP MLA with enough fortitude to protest this willful neglect by Danielle Smith of the issues that weigh heavily on Alberta’s families, doctors, teachers – well pretty well anyone with some real common sense (not the Pierre Poilievre’s kind).

  21. Lie down with dogs; get up with fleas. But who is giving the fleas to whom?
    Hard to tell with this lot.

  22. Embarrassing. What can one say about Rex Murphy. As a descendent of real Newfoundlanders those born before 1949 I find him to be an embarrassment to Newfoundland and he in no way is a good example of a Newfoundlander He does not represent the majority of Newfoundlanders in his opinions his speech his rhetoric his angry manner. Why is he always angry combative Why as my dad used to say is he off the wall out of his mind always ranting Mainlanders will look at him and think we Newfoundlanders are all like that Irrational picking fights How are we supposed to get a good job get ahead make a living when we my dad meant us his educated adult children go to the mainland to find work RM has done lots of damage over the years to Newfoundland with his crazy rants with over the top drawn out sentences which to me never make sense Signed old RN who came and stayed

  23. “Laugh at tyrants and the tragedy they inflict. Such men welcome our tears as evidence of subservience, but our laughter condemns them to ignominy.”
    Dean Koontz

  24. You can bet the idiots in Calgary believing every lie they were fed were mainly seniors and fools like Bret Larson. There is no question these Reform Party fools want us to become American with their criminal pals having the right to bare arms they don’t care who gets killed like we saw with how the COVID crisis was handled they didn’t give a damn. They also want American style health care system because they aren’t interested in running one properly it’s too complicated for these fools to run. Poilievre continues to prove what an idiot he is and if Canadians are dumb they to elect him we are really in trouble. This guy isn’t smart enough to run anything properly is he?

    1. Alan K Spiller ..
      City news had a picture from Calgary of one guy holding a lg Trump 2024 flag. The couple beside him were carrying a sign with an American flag and a AB51 logo and what looked like an Alberta crest.,on the bottom was a website for it. I looked it up to see what it was about.
      A group that since May* of last year was getting support from Fox news in their ‘progect’ of making Alberta the 51st state.
      * 2023 05 16
      What is the Alberta 51 project…

      All I will add, on behalf of my family and friends, is it you want to become American, just ‘ef off across the border and become one. We could enjoy our country alot more if it wasn’t for people like you, BEGONE!!

  25. And it was nice to see Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour without his Cardinal Richelieu Halloween getup. It’s been a long time since His Lordship and his wife, Barbara ‘Imelda Marcos’ Amiel, have gone out in public. No longer the toasts of London and New York, because Lord Tubby doesn’t have any shareholders to fleece anymore, they now must grift in the wake of Tucker Carlson. How the mighty have fallen, indeed.

    1. The Duck and Douchbag of Cold Water are long gone. Dani should get a clew! But I guess Tucker and Jordan will do for her purpose now!

  26. DJC, just one small issue on the opening pic. From Gage, to Webster or even Amy V/etiquette, there is impo absolutely no correlation between the three and the definition of a “gentlemen “.

    Criminal….or any combination of…
    And just one more thing that some people are not aware of, and imo has not been answered, was WHY did Jordan Peterson go to RUSSIA in 2020 to “detox “….(google)
    How very curious!

  27. Dani’s tweet on X…
    ” A packed house in Edmonton, Alberta ( *) to witness free debate, thought and expression. We need more of this from all sides. Thank You to the 3 Stooges for coming…..okay, so it was easier for me than naming them…
    Anyway, my sister noticed she was wearing M&M green, but not the sexy white boots, and also asked if that packed house was made up of all the homeless people they shuffled up into safe spaces??

    * specific, as in being broadcast to foreign places??

  28. Given the UCP’S overt antipathy towards the City of Edmonton, how long will it be before they introduce a bill to relocate the provincial capital to Calgary?

  29. What? talk about the violence in Edmonton? really. Dani was having her 15 seconds of glory with 3 over weight yesterday’s people, one a former inmate of an American prison. Part of being a politician is to know who to be seen with in public and who not to be seen with. Those guys were people you would not want to be seen with. Carlson is a very unpleansant individual who advocates for right wing, anti human rights causes, restrictions on the right to free speech, etc. If Dani believes this are the type of people she ought to be seen with, its time fo her to go. The woman has no taste. There is nothing they can do for her, politically and they aren’t going to invite her on a road show and split the money.

    Wonder what will happen if dani is faced with something even bigger. Voters ought to give it a thought. This is the sure sign the UPC doesn’t give a flying f..k about the citizens of Alberta. Perhaps dani and mtg could go on vacation somewhere and give their respective countries a break.

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