Hollywood Treatment

Hollywood Treatment Date: 4.22.17
Title: Lemoncella Cocktail
Author: Rene Natan
Treatment By: Bryan Erik
Mission Statement:
Lemoncella Cocktail is a thrilling crime novel, one that succeeds due not just to the many plot twists, but also the charming, believable characters. These feel like real people, so a reader is all the more engaged in their plight.
Of course, all novels undergo many changes on the long road to being adapted into a feature film. This is especially true of densely-plotted, 400-page novels. In the treatment below, much of Lemoncella Cocktail’s plotting has been condensed, with scenes combined, reordered or cut. Additionally, the ending was altered – while it works in the book, film audiences would find it anti-climactic if the main villain is apprehended by someone other than the protagonists for a different crime, and if secondary villains then take center stage for the climax.
That said, all efforts were made to stay true to the spirit of Lemoncella Cocktail. The below treatment can be used as a pitching tool, or to have an experienced screenwriter create a screenplay, the ultimate tool in hooking producers, financiers and acting and directing talent. Either way, Lemoncella Cocktail will get the shot it deserves to thrill and charm audiences on the big screen.
Logline:
An aimless young man saves a teen from drowning, and gets drawn into the war between Canada’s law enforcement and a ruthless arms dealer.
Treatment:
It’s a late summer evening in Grand Bend, Ontario. PATRICK CARTER (25, a modern Marlboro Man) drives along a rural road. His clunker of a pickup sputters and dies. He groans, muttering that now he’s not just broke and jobless – he’s got no wheels. Patrick continues his journey on foot. Hours later, Patrick hears someone crying out from a nearby river – followed by a splash. Patrick races to the river and sees a teen drowning in the rapids. He dives in and saves the girl – SAM (14, thin as a willow). As Sam recovers
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on the bank, she looks around fearfully for her attackers and suggests they hurry back to her grandma’s cottage.
As they arrive, Sam’s grandma JESSICA MCLEOD (60s, intelligent hazel eyes behind metal-framed glasses), little brother JUSTIN (5) and small-town policeman GARY HUSTON (50s) come out in worry. Patrick wants to leave, but Jessica welcomes him inside and serves him food, and Gary tries to question him. They come to an agreement to leave it until the morning.
In the morning, Justin wakes Patrick up in the guest bedroom. Patrick’s annoyed – he’s never liked kids. However, Justin’s curiosity gets him talking a bit – Patrick quit high school after his mom died. Patrick learns that Justin and Samantha are summering here with their grandma, as they do every year, in the tiny, quaint village of Aurora.
Gary takes Patrick and the family to the local station – which is teeming with police officers and other agents. Canadian Security Intelligence Service Agent ANDRE DES PRES (30s, with dark hair and tortoiseshell Glasses) holds a meeting, establishing what they know so far: Sam received a note she thought was from her boyfriend, asking her to meet by the river. Two men came out of hiding and threw her in the rapids. Patrick Carter was in the right place at the right time to save her. Des Pres says the crime raises deep concern for not just Sam and her family, but also the country itself. However, he can’t disclose details.
Des Pres interviews Jessica and Justin. Jessica reveals that her son – Sam and Justin’s father – moved out west with his wife for an oil industry job. Jessica takes care of the kids more than their actual parents do. Des Pres asks Justin about Sam and her boyfriend, and conversation leads to Justin’s eldest sister – Amelia – and her boyfriend. Amelia recently left for university in Toronto, where she dates a man with a corvette. Wheels appear to be turning in Des Pres’ head.
After the interview, Des Pres’ secretary LUCIEN advises him that the press has arrived. Des Pres tells him to spread a cover story – they’re here scouting potential locations for an action movie, incognito due to the high profiles of the talent involved. Spotting Patrick, Des Pres tells him to be on guard: there’s a small possibility that the criminals will contact him to find out if he can identify them as a witness.
Inside a transport company storehouse in the outskirts of Greater Toronto, ARNOLD CALANDER (60s) berates his thuggish employees NAT and ARCHIE for failing to kill the girl, and picking up a witness. He says he’s teaming them up with a person with a bit of tact – and points to MARTHA STEIGER (33, overweight in a too-tight, too-short dress). Martha flirts with Arnold – there’s clearly some history here – but he rebuffs her. He’s too worried about the mess his son Oscar has gotten into by expanding the family business from drug smuggling to the weapons trade. Arnold orders Martha and Nat to travel to the village and eliminate both the girl and the Good Samaritan.
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Martha and Nat canvass the village but don’t get any helpful answers. She’s upset that she’s being involved in murder, all because Arnold’s idiot son was careless with his girlfriend. Martha wishes she could leave Arnold, but after working for him – and having an affair with him – for more than a decade, she knows too much for him to just let her leave. They have a stroke of luck – Nat recognizes Patrick. After following him home, they head off for a celebratory drink to plot their next moves.
Shortly after Martha and Nat leave, Des Pres and Lucien visit Patrick. They deliver a generous reward check from Jessica, who is quite wealthy. Patrick grins – he can afford to buy a new truck now. They also show a video of the McLeods’ eldest daughter – AMELIA (19, a pretty, petite brunette). In the video she’s laughing, and she looks quite similar to Sam. Des Pres says that the criminals attacked the wrong sister. Amelia happens to be dating a man involved in a weapons deal. Des Pres has a proposition for Patrick: since he’s a bartender, they want him to go undercover at a night club that is suspected to be used by individuals in the weapons trade to hold preliminary meetings. They’ll create a fake identity for Patrick – but he has to concurrently study online and get his high school diploma. Patrick agrees since he needs a job anyway. Lucien says one of their undercover agents will introduce herself to Patrick at the bar by placing a certain order. For now, however, Patrick should move to his new apartment.
Patrick explores his new place – it looks like a married couple lives here. He sees a framed photo of him and his “wife”… and FLASHES BACK to when he’s 13. Young Patrick passes a similar photo of his parents as he enters the home. He finds his father severely beating his mother. When Patrick calls 911, his father attacks. Patrick stabs him in the chest with a kitchen knife in self-defense.
Back in the present, Patrick works in the Shining Star nightclub. A beautiful blonde waitress, EMY WALKER (32), orders from him, identifying herself as the undercover CSIS agent. Later in the evening, Patrick sees Emy hurrying out, with another man seeming to pursue her. Patrick is about to follow, but runs into his boss in the club and gets delayed.
Amelia, the eldest McLeod daughter, tries to buy a ticket at a Toronto railway station – but her credit card gets declined. In desperation, she seeks out help from her roommate ROSE, who rebuffs her – she doesn’t want to be mixed up in Amelia’s trouble. Amelia asks if she can at least place a phone call to her grandma.
Patrick cooks in his new kitchen. He FLASHES BACK again, remembering his mother comatose in the hospital when he was a teen. After her death, Patrick attends mandatory counseling. The COUNSELOR tells Patrick that he’s scarred for life – violence in a family is almost always hereditary, so the same patterns will likely repeat if Patrick has a family.
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Back in the present, Patrick is disturbed from his reverie by a call from Jessica. She asks if he can do a favor and pick up Amelia. A while later, Patrick parks his new, used pickup before a Toronto apartment building. Amelia scurries out of the alley and into the car. She refuses to engage in conversation with him.
Patrick parks the pickup near Jessica’s cottage and brings Amelia inside. Jessica is relieved to see her granddaughter, while Justin clings to Patrick, much to his annoyance. Samantha has been moved out west to her parents for her safety. Jessica gets Amelia to tell her story: she’s been dating an older guy with money, Oscar. However, he started acting strangely and having many late night phone calls. Suspecting him of cheating, she followed him out one night. Amelia overheard Oscar in negotiations for an arms deal. She fled, but accidentally left personal property behind. While hiding, she overheard Oscar assuring his business associates that Amelia was as good as dead.
Patrick visits the temporary local headquarters for Des Pres’ CSIS task force. He reports Amelia’s return, but Des Pres is already aware – the McLeod property is under surveillance. Des Pres berates Patrick for endangering his undercover role by interacting with the McLeods so obviously. Des Pres also reports that Emy Walker is missing; he reveals that she lives in the same building as Patrick and asks him to keep an eye out.
Arnold gets a call from Martha and Nat, who confess they found Patrick, but then lost him when he moved out of his place. He screams at them and fires them. Arnold’s son OSCAR (31, short, chubby and prematurely balding, always chain-smoking menthol cigarettes) says he’s gotten a tip on Amelia’s location. He’s going to send some of his men – professionals, unlike Nat and Martha, who are now liabilities.
Two armed, MASKED MEN storm the McLeod cottage at night. Jessica stalls them as best she can – allowing Amelia to escape from the upstairs balcony.
A short while later, Des Pres and Lucien arrive in an undercover van – a mobile HQ. They’re too late to catch the masked men. Des Pres decides to station an agent on the property from now on. He also questions about who knew Amelia was back. The list is short: Patrick and family friend/local cop Gary Huston.
Patrick deals with CSIS paperwork when someone knocks on his door: Emy Walker. She’s laying low because she walked in on a meeting in the Shining Star basement. She didn’t hear anything actionable, but someone followed her out. Emy is stressed and paranoid and plans on moving apartments; she asks if she can temporarily stash belongings at Patrick’s. He agrees, and invites her in for brunch.
As they dine together, Patrick introduces Emy to a cocktail he’s created – it’s a passion of his. Emy reveals that she’s an agent because it’s a family tradition, and she had to do her father’s bidding. However, she doesn’t think she’s cut out for the stresses of the job. Patrick says he also has issues with the job – Des Pres wants him to apply for a gun
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permit, but Patrick says he’ll never kill anyone again. He won’t go into further detail, changing the conversation to how pleased he’s been by the online high school courses. He’s discovered that after all these years, he actually enjoys learning.
Later, as Patrick works on a history course, he gets a call from Jessica: someone is holding Amelia for ransom. She begs Patrick to come over, and he says he’ll ask Des Pres if that’s allowed.
Patrick arrives at the McLeod cottage, joining Des Pres and Lucien who are already there. Des Pres comments that he also has an agent tracking Gary Huston. Jessica can’t believe such an old family friend would betray her. The ransom call comes in, and Jessica takes it, writing down instructions. The call is too short for the agents to trace.
Des Pres outfits Jessica with a GPS necklace, and promises that they’ll follow just out of sight and monitor her at all times with a drone. Jessica heads to the ransom rendezvous point, where she finds a note with further directions. She follows them to an abandoned barn, and calls out, but no one answers. Des Pres and Lucien storm the barn – and find two men who were recently shot to death. We recognize one as Nat.
Meanwhile, Patrick babysits Justin at the cottage. Emy arrives and updates him on the developments. She also admits that she looked at his file, and knows about what happened between him and his parents. Patrick is shocked, since the records are supposed to be sealed. However, he starts to open up, revealing how much damage the counseling did, and how he hasn’t trusted himself to have a close relationship or consider starting a family ever since. Emy’s heart breaks for him, and she does her best to comfort him.
To give Jessica some time to recover from her ordeal, Patrick and Emy take Justin on a zoo trip and enjoy their time with the boy. Emy lets Patrick in on what she’s heard: one of the dead men, Nat Smith, drives trucks for a transport company. CSIS also suspects that Amelia and her captor – a woman, based on the foot prints – fled the barn before or shortly after the double murder. Conversation turns more personal, and Emy confesses that she wants to quit her job. She just doesn’t know how to face her father.
Patrick attends a meeting at the CSIS task force HQ. Des Pres says that in monitoring Gary Huston, they’ve learned he’ll be meeting someone in the Shining Star club that night. They’ll have multiple agents undercover, with Patrick tending bar, disguised so Gary doesn’t recognize him.
At the Shining Star, Patrick observes Gary enter the club and sit in a back corner. Patrick also notices a muscular man, LUKE, observing Gary and moving in. However, another older MAN approaches Gary first – and the agents spring their trap, escorting Gary and the older man out. Luke quickly disappears.
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The next morning, Patrick shows up at HQ and asks Des Pres if they got the wrong guy. Des Pres looks surprised, and asks how Patrick knew. Patrick says you learn to size people up quickly as a bartender. The older man who approached Gary looked lonely. The muscular man who got away, however, looked like a wrestler on a grim mission. Des Pres says they’ll get a composite sketch of the muscular man from Patrick. He reveals that Gary doesn’t know much – he was approached by an intermediary whose name he never learned, and given ten thousand in cash. However, they’ve learned that one of the dead men from the barn and another female employee of Arnold Calander’s transport company had been snooping around the village, asking questions about Amelia and the Good Samaritan. They’re going to start investigating Arnold and his female employee.
Meanwhile, Martha drives to a remote cabin on the shores of Lake Huron. She wonders what to do with a delirious Amelia, who’s in the back seat. Martha FLASHES BACK to a few nights ago….
Martha and Nat are parked in the McLeod cottage’s neighborhood, wondering if they should kidnap Amelia and bring her to Arnold to get back in his good graces. They then see a car drive up to the cottage, and two masked men get out and storm inside. Martha and Nat watch Amelia flee out of the second floor balcony. They follow and abduct her.
Nat and Martha keep Amelia in the dilapidated bar, even as she’s running a fever. They agree that it will be more lucrative to ransom her than bring her to Arnold. After Martha plants the ransom instructions and returns to the barn, however, she’s been followed by two goons working for Oscar: CHARLIE (20s) and RON AMALDI (late teens). A shootout ensues – Nat kills Charlie and wounds Ron, before succumbing to wounds himself. Martha grabs Amelia and flees.
Des Pres gets a visit from MR. WALKER – Emy’s retired, nosy father who misses his glory days. Mr. Walker’s angry that Emy hasn’t been promoted in years, and even more angry about rumors that she’s dating a nobody – a high-school dropout bartender. Des Pres sees Mr. Walker out as efficiently as he can without ruffling too many feathers.
Des Pres returns to work, learning from Lucien that the second body in the barn has been identified: Charlie Amaldi. They’re interrupted, however, by the younger Walker. Emy tenders her resignation. Des Pres talks her into giving it a few more weeks.
In the remote wilderness, Martha pulls an unresponsive, feverish Amelia out of her vehicle. Martha’s upset, telling Amelia that she has to disappear because of the girl. The girl has to disappear too. But Martha can’t bring herself to dump Amelia into the frigid waters of Lake Huron. Instead, she leaves Amelia where she lays and drives off.
Patrick, working on his online courses, gets a call from Emy asking him out. Patrick reveals that he promised Des Pres he wouldn’t meet up with Emy anymore, so long as the case was ongoing. Emy arrives at a compromise: Skype. They video chat, talking about
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their past loves. Patrick admits he doesn’t think he and Emy could work out – the social gap is too big.
Patrick responds to summons from Des Pres, who reveals that they’re running surveillance on Oscar Calander, son of Arnold Calander and owner of a corvette – and thus, the potential arms-dealer ex-boyfriend of Amelia. Des Pres shows surveillance photos of Oscar meeting with associates… and Patrick is able to identify one, Luke, as the man in the night club.
Late at night, as Des Pres keeps working, Lucien runs in with news: the McLeod parents out west, and their daughter Sam, have been killed in a chartered plane accident. Local authorities are not ruling out foul play. With a heavy heart, Des Pres calls Patrick and Emy and asks them to meet him at Jessica’s cottage.
Oscar, meanwhile, drives with Luke as his passenger. Oscar is exultant over the plane crash – he’s finally tying up loose ends. He agrees to Luke’s terms: $20k per head to kill Amelia, Martha and Patrick. The two of them visit Ron Amaldi, recovering in his mum’s house from a gunshot wound. Ron reveals what happened: he and his older brother Charlie, sent by Oscar, tracked Martha and Nat to the barn. Nat opened fire unexpectedly, and Ron was barely able to flee with his life.
Patrick enters the McLeod home to find Emy cooking with Jessica. He makes cocktails for everyone – another original recipe. A somber Des Pres and Lucien arrive shortly thereafter, asking Patrick to take Justin somewhere. Patrick takes Justin driving on an empty road, letting him steer the wheel. Des Pres reveals the grim news to Jessica, who faints. When she recovers, Des Pres says they have a lead – a plane mechanic with ties to criminal elements in Toronto.
Amelia wakes up in a hospital, disoriented. A nurse tells her that a farmer brought her in. Ontario Police will come by to question her, now that she’s up. When the nurse leaves, the frightened Amelia steals out of the hospital.
At a bus station, Amelia learns from a newspaper that her parents and sister have died. She’s devastated. A sympathetic waitress from the station café comforts her, and Amelia pretends to be a friend of the family. The waitress serves her breakfast, and then notes that she’s in need of an extra pair of hands.
Des Pres and Lucien knock on the door of Ron Amaldi’s mum, flashing their badges. She lets them in to meet her son. Des Pres tells Ron that a third person’s blood was found in the barn, as well as shells from a third firearm. They’re willing to bet that the blood matches Ron’s, since he’s clearly trying to cover up a wound. And they bet he has an unlicensed firearm that matches the bullets. However, they’re willing to cut a deal, if Ron is willing to keep working for Oscar. Ron accepts a special cell phone from the agents.
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Jessica, Justin, Patrick and Emy attend the McLeod funeral, along with many agents, officers and Mounties. Strolling into their midst casually is a disguised Oscar. He scouts about, then leaves and meets with Luke. Oscar says Amelia wasn’t there, but Luke should follow and kill Patrick, then get ready to help with a big weapons shipment in a few days.
Patrick heads home from the funeral, and Luke tails him. Luke then knocks on Patrick’s door, telling him he has information regarding Amelia McLeod. When Patrick lets Luke in, Luke pulls his gun to shoot Patrick – but he’s tackled and arrested by Des Pres and Lucien, who are already in the apartment. They reveal that they’ve had Luke’s car bugged since he started meeting with Oscar.
Later, Emy invites Patrick over for dinner. He’s amazed by how ravishing she looks, and what a good cook she is. They flirt, until Emy learns that her father is coming over. Patrick helps her rush about, hiding all sign of the dinner. When Mr. Walker arrives even sooner than expected, he hides in the closet.
Oscar picks up Ron, saying he needs him for a job as a driver. After driving for a few minutes, Oscar stops and searches Ron, finding the cell phone. Ron’s scared, but Oscar just inspects it, tosses it and tells him to keep driving.
Oscar, Ron and another hired gun meet in a remote location with an arms dealer. Oscar hands over a suitcase of cash, and the arms dealer hands over three trucks full of firearms.
Oscar, Ron and the hired gun drive the trucks in a convoy, until Ron is able to take advantage of road work and get separated for a spell. He places a call to his mum’s house, leaving a message with details about where he is, what direction he’s heading, and what he’s driving.
Des Pres and Lucien listen to audio-recording of the message, impressed at Ron’s resourcefulness. Des Pres orders an APB for the convoy Ron described. The trucks are spotted soon enough, and followed to Port Glasgow.
At the port, Oscar oversees a team of his men, who unload the firearms from the trucks and onto speedboats. The speedboats ferry the weapons to the buyer, who waits on a larger ship off the coast. Suddenly, CSIS and Ontario Provincial Police vehicles and boats converge on the scene. Some of the criminals start firing, and all hell breaks loose. Des Pres and Lucien help the other agents subdue and arrest the smugglers. However, they discover that Oscar and Ron are nowhere to be found.
Oscar pushes Ron through the woods with his handgun, suspicious about the well-informed raid, and the cell phone he confiscated from Oscar. Oscar leads Ron to a small cabin and binds his wrists. Oscar then calls his father, who is upset at his son’s continued bad decisions, but agrees to send help. Ron, meanwhile, slips out. Unfortunately, his gunshot wound has opened up, and he’s bleeding profusely.
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Oscar’s anxious mother CHLOE arrives at the cabin to pick him up. She shows him a newspaper reporting that government forces seized “terrorists” attempting an arms deal. Oscar fumes, blaming Amelia for all of this and vowing vengeance. Chloe cries in worry, but continues to help her son, letting him take the car so he can drive to the village and track down Amelia.
Des Pres fields an angry call from Ron’s mum – her son was found washed up on a beach. He’s in intensive care now. Des Pres does his best to calm her, promising that CSIS will take care of everything. When he hangs up, Emy walks in, tendering her resignation a second time. Seeing she’s determined, Des Pres relents.
Patrick plays with Justin in the cottage, by now enjoying the boy’s company. Mr. Walker comes by, looking to give his daughter hell for quitting CSIS. Since she isn’t there, Patrick takes Mr. Walker out for coffee. When the waitress engages in hero worship over him saving Samantha, Patrick plays it down and makes her promise not to mention anything on social media, since the case is still ongoing. Mr. Walker is impressed by both Patrick’s heroics and professionalism.
Amelia McLeod, meanwhile, works at the bus station café. She sleeps in the other waitress’s camper at night, though she’s plagued by nightmares. Sensing that it’s time for the girl to move on, the waitress suggests she could arrange a ride south with a trucker friend.
At night, Oscar strides into a hospital. He jabs a gun into the side of a NURSE and demands she remain calm and lead him to Ron Amaldi. The nurse complies – but a guard stationed outside Ron’s door pulls his piece. Oscar shoots him, runs into the room, and unhooks Ron’s life support. However, more guards come running. Swearing, Oscar shoots at them and flees.
A trucker drops Amelia off by the village. She sneaks into a vacant cottage across the way from her grandma’s. However, she finds signs that someone else has been hiding out here – including a bunch of menthol cigarette butts. Amelia hears a car pull up – she panics and hides. Oscar enters with a gun, wired and muttering to himself about the damn police interfering. He gathers his belongings and departs.
A shaken Amelia leaves the abandoned cottage, heading for her grandma’s – but then sees a van with tinted windows screech to a stop out front. Men in suits run into the house. Scared, Amelia flees into the night.
In Jessica’s cottage, Des Pres and Lucien brief Jessica and Patrick on what’s happened at the hospital – an agent was killed, and two hospital employees injured. Ron, however, survived. Patrick and Jessica reel – will Oscar ever stop? Later, Patrick pulls Des Pres
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aside and says the McLeods can’t keep living like this – not knowing when Oscar is going to strike next. Patrick says he has an idea.
Oscar hides out in the cabin by Lake Erie again. He calls home on a burner phone, and Arnold refuses to speak with him. Chloe informs him, however, that a photo of Oscar’s girlfriend Amelia, together with another man, was released to the press, then retracted hours later. Oscar drives to the nearest convenience store and searches the papers, finding the photo – it clearly shows Amelia and Patrick enjoying one another’s company. Fuming, Oscar inspects the photo and recognizes a different cottage in Aurora village in the background.
At night, Oscar arrives at the cottage in the photo. He sneaks up to a window, hearing the muffled voices of a man and a woman inside. Oscar picks the back door lock and creeps in. He doesn’t see anyone – but now the shower is on, Amelia’s giggles come from the bathroom. Oscar’s blood boils. He barges into the bathroom, gun raised – and finds only a laptop, playing the video of Amelia that Des Pres showed Patrick in the beginning. Oscar turns to flee – and finds himself surrounded by Des Pres, Lucien and other agents.
As a cuffed Oscar is shoved into the back of a car, Des Pres compliments Patrick on his idea to release a doctored photo to the press and lure Oscar in. Patrick has a bright future as an agent if he wants it.
A MONTAGE shows Arnold and Chloe arrested for aiding and abetting Oscar. Martha – with a new hairdo in a small northern town – is stopped by a police officer demanding that she properly register her car. When he runs her license, he identifies her and arrests her. Des Pres and Lucien visit a recovering Ron in the hospital, thanking him and saying he won’t be charged.
Patrick and Emy take Justin and the family dog for a walk in a nearby park. The dog runs off, barking. They follow it… and find Amelia in a shed, delirious. Patrick hoists her up and they go rushing to the hospital.
The Shining Star club is filled to capacity. Patrick, now head bartender, introduces everyone to his newest invention, the Lemoncella Cocktail. Jessica, Amelia, Justin, Des Pres, Lucien, Mr. Walker and Emy are all there. Patrick and Emy announce their engagement, and Mr. Walker is very proud since Patrick is hailed as a hero. Patrick in turn salutes Des Pres, the other agents, the policemen and the Mounties for all their hard work – they’re the real heroes of Canada.

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