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Dear Matthew Alice:

I received some junk mail from a company that was giving away prizes in a contest. The official rules read, "Winners who are Canadian residents must correctly answer a mathematical skill-testing questions." Is this so they can be sure the winners can count their loot? Why would they require something like this? Merci bien.

Phil Wells, Clairemont

The final selection of prize winners in this "contest" was probably made in a random drawing — legal in the U.S., as long as you're not required to buy something or pay money to enter, but illegal according to the more circumspect Canadian law. In Canada these types of promotions must award the prizes on the basis of skill, not chance, hence the necessity of getting a winner in Montreal to tell you what five times ten is before claiming his prize. De rien.

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