The West Block — Episode 21, Season 10

The West Block — Episode 21, Season 10


Episode 21, Season 10

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Host: Mercedes Stephenson


Brian Pallister, Manitoba Premier

Dominic LeBlanc, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister

Morgan Elliott, Huawei Canada’s Vice President of Authorities Affairs

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Mercedes Stephenson: This week on The West Block: Vaccination vexation. Is Canada’s plan on observe or off the rails?

Dawna Friesen, International Nationwide Anchor: “Manitoba’s premier is making his personal deal to purchase vaccines, separate from the federal authorities.”

Mercedes Stephenson: So she’s saying it’s not true, that they blocked you.

Brian Pallister, Manitoba Premier: “The minister is completely flawed and we will definitely give you ample proof.”

Dominic LeBlanc, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister: “Under no circumstances would we presume to inform a province what it may well or can’t do on a global market.”

Mercedes Stephenson: Journey restrictions are coming into power, however there are extra questions than solutions from Ottawa.

And Huawei Canada desires 5G right here however refuses to sentence the imprisonment of the Michaels.

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It’s Sunday, February 14th. I’m Mercedes Stephenson, and that is The West Block.

The worldwide race for the COVID-19 vaccine is at full throttle, whereas Canada remains to be lagging behind different G7 international locations vaccination charges.

On Friday, Procurement Minister Anita Anand mentioned Ottawa negotiated an accelerated supply schedule with Pfizer and secured extra doses from Moderna. However within the wake of delays and confusion, some provinces are on the lookout for their very own options.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister took it upon himself to buy 2 million doses of the Windfall Therapeutics vaccine. This made-in-Canada possibility may be very early on in medical trials, however the firm’s CEO says it may get Well being Canada approval by fall.

Premier Pallister is the primary premier to purchase vaccines however says he doesn’t anticipate it to be the final.

Massive announcement final week from you that you simply’re going to be in search of the Windfall vaccine from a Canadian producer. You wish to purchase 1.three million doses. They’ll be delivered in 2022. What led you to this choice?

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: Effectively, to begin with, I feel we’re all conscious of the vagaries of relying on our overseas suppliers for vaccines by this level. We’re 37th or 38th of the international locations of the world by way of getting vaccines into the arms of our residents and so we, in planning forward, extra for insurance coverage functions frankly, than for this yr. We hope the federal authorities can ship all of the vaccines we’d like this yr. However going ahead, we’d prefer to see Canadian corporations capable of produce these vaccines for us in Manitoba and maybe for all Canadians as properly, and that provides us extra safety going ahead. And we’ll want that both for boosters subsequent yr or for the subsequent pandemic that comes alongside. We’re going to wish Canadian manufacturing proper right here at residence.

Mercedes Stephenson: Windfall Therapeutics says they want about 50 million doses to have the ability to construct a manufacturing facility. They want that many orders. Have you ever talked to different premiers about some sort of a technique right here as a result of Manitoba could also be ordering it? But when Windfall doesn’t get sufficient orders, they’re not going to construct the power. So are you making an attempt to construct a broader technique right here between the provinces?

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: Yeah after all, completely. I imply the premiers have spoken about this, usually. There was—I’ve written to each premier. I do know Premier Kenney can be pursuing this and I imagine that different premiers will take part.

Now we have been blocked in our capability by the federal authorities’s apply of eliminating from the chance all sub-national governments having the ability to order vaccines from those that the businesses which might be coping with the federal authorities. We’ve knocked on their doorways. They instructed us we will’t purchase from them. So we’ve gone to a Canadian firm that the federal authorities will not be contracted with, to provide us with vaccines and so they’ll act as insurance coverage, as I mentioned, if there are delays going into the autumn and with the hope that, after all, we will have a vaccine developed and accredited by Well being Canada by fall if want be. And if not, then now we have assurance for the approaching years that we’ll have the ability to have a Canadian provider caring for our wants.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Premier, you mentioned that the federal authorities has blocked your capability and the provinces capability to do that. You’ve talked about the identical factor final week once you gave a press convention about this. Anita Anand, who we had on the present final week, she is the procurement minister—mentioned, “At no level has the federal authorities prevented provinces from enterprise their very own procurements.” So she’s saying it’s not true that they blocked you. What’s your response to that?

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: My response is that the minister is completely flawed and we will definitely give you ample proof of our work in reaching out to the assorted corporations the federal authorities had signed up with. They’ve all instructed us that they don’t seem to be going to promote to us as a result of that’s a part of the deal they made with the federal authorities. To me, that’s blocking.

Look, in the event that they wish to make a rational argument as to why they’ve centralized the acquisition, I feel that’s truthful sufficient. Centralizing the acquisition with the federal authorities, make your argument however don’t discredit a premier who was telling the reality right here. You realize, clearly, we’ve needed to go across the federal authorities to discover a firm that we may get to supply vaccines right here in Canada as a result of they’ve blocked our capability to take action. That’s the actual fact.

Mercedes Stephenson: So I wish to return to that. Is that why you didn’t go to Pfizer and Moderna? Are you saying you probably did attempt to go to these corporations and so they instructed you a part of our contract with the federal authorities is that we can’t promote to the provinces?

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: Sure, completely appropriate, Mercedes. Now we have tried Pfizer. We’ve tried Moderna. I may go down the record: AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and so forth and so forth. They don’t seem to be allowed, by their cope with the federal authorities, to promote to the provinces. And look, let the federal authorities make their arguments as to why they wished to purchase them centrally. That’s nice. I settle for that. However the reality stays that the suppliers are usually not supplying vaccines to us in a prepared method this yr and so I feel it’s a priority to all Canadians that we not be put able once more, of counting on suppliers who could also be taking care of different folks’s wants earlier than Canadians. And I feel now we have the necessity to construct up a home manufacturing capability right here and I do know that the prime minister’s acknowledged that as properly. So I don’t suppose we’re at odds right here, other than Minister Anand’s false assertion. We definitely help the federal authorities’s efforts. We’re all cheering for the federal authorities to get these vaccines right here. Our job is to get them in arms and we may do this in Manitoba within the subsequent eight weeks if we had the vaccines. Each province, I imagine, is readied up. The issue is we simply don’t have the vaccines at this time limit. However what we’re doing now, is insurance coverage for future availability, to verify we don’t have these sorts of delays once more, as a result of they’re making folks sick that will have the ability to be cured if that they had a vaccine. And they’re costing folks lives and that’s the reality. We wish to forestall that in future and that’s why these actions are being taken by my authorities.

Mercedes Stephenson: Have you ever requested the federal authorities why they signed a contract that prevented these corporations from promoting to the provinces?

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: Yeah, most definitely we’ve had that dialogue months in the past and requested for some change that isn’t forthcoming and that’s okay. As I mentioned, that they had their rationale for why they wish to be the only distributor of vaccines. However as you realize, that is an distinctive pandemic, an distinctive yr. In a standard yr, provincial governments can be accountable for well being care supply. And so in future years, I don’t anticipate the federal authorities to be taking care of all our wants as they’ve in lots of respects endeavoured to do throughout this pandemic. And so it’s about ensuring you possibly can assist the needy of the world by not being one your self, fairly frankly. I don’t like seeing us need to take again vaccines from underdeveloped international locations within the Third World as a result of we haven’t been capable of make our personal right here. I don’t suppose anyone likes that. And so going ahead, it’d be good to have the ability to assist different folks across the planet by serving to ourselves first. And we have to do this by bolstering our home vaccine manufacturing. We have to do this now and that’s why this measure has been taken by my authorities and I anticipate different premiers will observe as properly on this. We’ve talked about it and I do know others are speaking about it as properly.

Mercedes Stephenson: Premier, thanks a lot for becoming a member of us. Please be protected and keep properly.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister: You too. Thanks a lot.

Mercedes Stephenson: Up subsequent, did the federal authorities block purchases of the provinces for the COVID-19 vaccine? We’ll have extra on this to come back, and Canada’s new journey restrictions with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.


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Mercedes Stephenson: Border restrictions, COVID-19 vaccines and fast testing all made headlines this week. However there are a number of questions nonetheless on the federal authorities’s plan to curb the unfold of the virus.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc joins me now to hopefully present some solutions to the questions that all of us have.

Thanks a lot for becoming a member of me, Minister. I wish to begin by asking you in regards to the feedback that have been made by Premier Brian Pallister simply forward of you on the present. He says that he has talked to each Pfizer and Moderna and that they instructed him they couldn’t promote to provinces as a result of the federal authorities had signed a contract with them that forbid them from shopping for immediately, that solely the Canadian authorities may purchase. That goes immediately in opposition to what your authorities has mentioned in public, which is that you simply’ve under no circumstances, blocked the entry to vaccines. Is it true that within the contracts, provinces are usually not allowed to purchase immediately?

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc: Mercedes, no it’s not. We’ve mentioned from the start that clearly provinces are sovereign orders of presidency underneath our Structure and so they can select to cope with world pharmaceutical corporations or Canadian pharmaceutical corporations as they need. We thought there was worth in having a nationwide procurement that Canada as a rustic would go on these world markets and aggressively and successfully procure totally different vaccines. That’s precisely what we’ve finished. And clearly we’re distributing them to the provinces as rapidly as we get them. However under no circumstances would we presume to inform a province what it may well or can’t do on a global market.

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Mercedes Stephenson: So simply to be clear, you’re saying this isn’t within the contracts. There’s nothing within the contracts that forbids the provinces from shopping for doses from Pfizer and Moderna. And in that case, are you saying that Premier Pallister is mendacity?

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc: I’m not accustomed to the way in which Premier Pallister has gone about making an attempt to obtain vaccines. However I can inform you is that the Authorities of Canada, from the start, instructed provinces and I used to be in various these conversations that we’re going to, on behalf of all Canadians, procure as many vaccines as rapidly as we probably can. That’s precisely what we’ve finished. However under no circumstances does that preclude a province from deciding by itself that they wish to pursue a parallel or totally different technique. We don’t essentially suppose that’s essentially the most coherent technique to strategy it, however we’re definitely not able to dam any person who desires to attempt.

Mercedes Stephenson: So that you’re saying Premier Pallister, what he’s saying will not be true. I wish to shift gears on that, although, to say—to speak about what’s taking place with the vaccination charges.

In the US, 300 million folks shall be vaccinated by July. Thus far, they’ve vaccinated 48 million folks. Within the U.Okay., 14 million folks have been vaccinated. In Canada, it’s only one.2 million. Why are we up to now behind?

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc: We’ve mentioned from the start, Mercedes, that there can be a large enhance within the variety of vaccines that will arrive in Canada as we obtained into subsequent month, into March. However very considerably, April, Could and June we’ll see actually hundreds of thousands per week arriving. These are the procurement agreements now we have in place. We have been fortunate we obtained some early doses in December that weren’t anticipated. We’re nonetheless hopeful and nonetheless working, clearly, each week, daily on methods to speed up these doses. However these rankings that you simply see in several publications will change over time and also you’ll see within the subsequent variety of weeks and within the only a few weeks which might be in entrance of us, you’ll see a really important enhance within the variety of Canadians getting vaccinated and that’s clearly essential for us, too.

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Mercedes Stephenson: We spoke in regards to the report that was finished on the governor normal. You dealt with that file. Your authorities will not be going through questions on whether or not you adequately dealt with allegations that have been made in opposition to former chief of the defence workers Common Jonathan Vance with reference to feminine subordinance. The defence minister was on the present final week. He says he knew about issues and allegations in 2018. They despatched an e mail to Privy Council Workplace, however he received’t say whether or not he raised it with the prime minister. The prime minister received’t inform us if he knew. Your authorities has mentioned over and over, you’re a feminist authorities and also you’re dedicated to security within the office, however we will’t appear to get solutions about what was really finished when issues have been raised and whether or not you are feeling that this was sufficient and sufficient was finished to look into the state of affairs.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc: So that you talked about, Mercedes, the Rideau Corridor instance. I had been concerned, clearly, in overseeing a few of that unbiased evaluation, exactly as a result of as you mentioned, we imagine each Canadian has the precise to work in a protected, respectful office. Clearly that features the Canadian Armed Forces, prefer it consists of the Public Service of Canada. We take these allegations very severely. I realized in regards to the allegations, in actual fact, in your program. These are the primary time I used to be knowledgeable of allegations regarding Common Vance. My understanding is these are actually correctly topic to investigation by army authorities. That’s the correct place the place these allegations might be investigated. That’s the one data that I’ve with respect to that case.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Okay, that’s on a regular basis now we have. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us this weekend, Minister.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc: Thanks, Mercedes, have an amazing weekend.

Mercedes Stephenson: Up subsequent, my interview with Huawei Canada: why they need to have the ability to construct 5G even whereas two Michaels stay in jail.


Mercedes Stephenson: It’s been over two years since Michael Spavour and Michael Kovrig have been arbitrarily detained in China, following the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. They sit in Chinese language prisons as she stays underneath home arrest in Vancouver, awaiting an extradition ruling. Immigration officers in Canada gave permission for her household to journey right here. In the meantime, the 2 Michaels solely have restricted consular entry.

This week, the Biden administration referred to as upon China once more, to launch the 2 males. Huawei presently desires to get its 5G community into Canada, however there are issues in regards to the firm’s ties to the Chinese language authorities and allegations of complicity in human rights violations.

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Becoming a member of me now for some solutions, is Huawei Canada’s Vice President of Authorities Affairs Morgan Elliot. Thanks for becoming a member of us.

A brand new administration in the US, the Biden administration, there’s been a number of questions in regards to the relationship with China and Huawei and which method that’s more likely to go. What sort of reception has your organization acquired from the Biden administration up to now.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Effectively I feel what we’ve seen up to now, is a measured strategy by the present administration. Undoubtedly a unique strategy than the totally different president and we haven’t had that a lot interplay with the U.S. authorities at this level. You realize we’re at all times open to having conversations. Earlier this week, you realize, our CEO did point out that he’d be joyful to speak to President Biden or anybody in that administration to have a dialog. And I suppose what that arises from is, you realize, I feel we’re all annoyed with the dearth of communications between the federal government on a—between governments on various points. You realize, the corporate has by no means finished something flawed. We’ve been clear in all our interactions. Meng Wanzhou has finished nothing flawed. And we’ve gotten to some extent the place…

Mercedes Stephenson: Sorry, I’m simply going to cease you there as a result of I feel that’s attention-grabbing. Your organization’s place is, and because the Canadian model of Huawei, that Meng Wanzhou has finished nothing flawed. So that you don’t suppose that the RCMPs arrest of her was respectable.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: The Firm has finished nothing flawed. Meng Wanzhou has nothing flawed—finished nothing flawed. You realize, we’re seeing on this state of affairs, the earlier president utilizing corporations and sadly folks as political pawns and so we’ve gotten into the state of affairs right this moment, the place Canada has been put in a tough place by way of making an attempt to cope with its friendship with Individuals and its enterprise pursuits in China. And Mr. Ren, like every father, desires his daughter residence simply because the households of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavour need their households residence. They—this can be a political state of affairs that requires political dialogue and political options.

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Mercedes Stephenson: As a Canadian, although, you realize, are you comfy with calling the detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavour, political and it’s simply pointing fingers? They have been arbitrarily detained. So I suppose I’ll put it to you proper now. Will you name for his or her launch? Will Huawei Canada name for his or her launch?

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: In order that’s an excellent level and an excellent query. To begin with, you realize, we’re not a political entity. Sadly, Huawei has grow to be a surrogate for all issues Chinese language. We’re not the Chinese language authorities. We’re not an agent of the Chinese language authorities. We’re an organization that’s headquartered in China. So by way of Michael Spavour and Michael Kovrig, you realize, we’ve been clear and we haven’t hidden this, any time we go in to speak to a member of parliament, a senior bureaucrat, the Chinese language authorities, we at all times say, you realize, our high three priorities are carry the 2 Michaels residence. Ship Meng Wanzhou again to China after which we will begin speaking about enterprise relations. And so we’ve advocated for various totally different points and we simply wish to extract ourselves from this political whirlpool that was instigated by a former administration and nuance.

Mercedes Stephenson: Okay, however that doesn’t reply the query of whether or not Huawei will condemn the detention of the 2 Michaels. If Huawei desires to do enterprise and also you’re talking as a Canadian, why would the corporate be unwilling to sentence the therapy of these two Canadian residents.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Effectively, as an organization, we would like everybody residence. We wish to ship Meng Wanzhou again to China…

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Mercedes Stephenson: So that you see the detention of Meng Wanzhou and the 2 Michaels…

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs MP: We would like Michael Kovrig again residence. We would like Michael Spavour again residence, too as properly.

Mercedes Stephenson: You see that as equal? You see these as morally equal, the detention of Meng Wanzhou underneath a respectable arrest warrant out of the US that had an extradition on it and choosing up random Canadian residents and throwing them in jail for 2 years at a time?

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Once more, this was actions that have been outdoors of the corporate. We’re not a political entity. We’re not a political authorities. We’re a tech firm that wishes to do enterprise in Canada.

Mercedes Stephenson: Proper. However if you wish to do enterprise in Canada…

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: We would like all of the household’s residence.

Mercedes Stephenson: Then Canadians want to know should you see these two conditions as equal, why would Canadians need your organization to be doing enterprise right here.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Effectively I feel you must have a look at our observe document on why Canadians wish to do our—proceed to do enterprise right here.

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Mercedes Stephenson: No, I feel—I feel with all due respect, the query is…

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: You realize Huawei’s been right here…

Mercedes Stephenson: If you happen to’re saying they’re equal, as you’ve famous, are very upset about this example. These are two Canadian males who’ve been stored in jail underneath terribly troublesome circumstances whereas Meng Wanzhou is in a multi-million greenback residence in Vancouver. And also you’re primarily equating them right this moment right here, sir, and saying properly it’s not—it’s not for us to say. This can be a member of your organization. You your self are linking them. You’re telling us that once you meet with the federal government, you’re elevating this. If you happen to received’t condemn what is going on, why would Canadians belief your organization?

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Effectively pay attention, we don’t suppose anybody ought to be used as a political pawn in terms of a commerce challenge. And so no, it wasn’t our choice to detain the 2 Michaels. We’d prefer to see them residence. We’ve advocated with the Chinese language authorities immediately that, you realize, the situations—we’ve requested for situations to be improved. We’ve requested for different measures to be taken and like I mentioned earlier than, all of us wish to see this decision to the state of affairs. We are able to level fingers and we will, you realize, look and see what occurred, however that doesn’t clear up the problem.

Mercedes Stephenson: Canada’s intelligence chief at CSIS got here out this week and mentioned China is undermining Canadian safety and making an attempt to steal know-how from Canada and silence critics right here. On the silencing of critics and minorities, your organization in China, filed for an utility for a patent that had a Uighur alert know-how in it that would establish them as a separate ethnic group. This can be a group that has been focused by the Chinese language State and put into pressured labour camps. I’ve to ask you, why ought to Canadians be comfy with an organization that’s figuring out software program to make use of visible recognition of individuals, to establish their ethnic group?

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Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Certain simply again to your first remark about CSIS. Yeah, and we’ve additionally seen different safety businesses in Canada say that they imagine that the flexibility to measure and shield Canadians utilizing Huawei gear is feasible. When it comes to the Uighurs….

Mercedes Stephenson: Sorry, which safety company mentioned that on the document? I haven’t seen that.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: CCSC and CSE have mentioned that. I imagine it was on one in every of your competitor’s reveals, I feel they mentioned that quite not too long ago that they imagine they might [00:07:27 cross talk].

Mercedes Stephenson: That CSE got here out and mentioned they suppose Huawei is protected on the present? I haven’t seen the CSE give any interviews.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: I feel it was CCSE…

Mercedes Stephenson: I haven’t seen the CSE give any interviews.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: CCSE, I imagine it’s. I’m joyful to ahead it to you.

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Mercedes Stephenson: Certain.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: However simply in phrases—again to the Uighurs as a result of that it equally a vital challenge. To begin with, that was a mistake. It was flawed. It’s fully unacceptable and never appropriate with the views of Huawei. And we don’t condone and we don’t wish to see our tools used to discriminate or oppress any group. Level clean, cease. It shouldn’t have been finished. It was a complete mistake as a result of you possibly can think about with an organization of 200 thousand folks, generally stuff will get posted and it was a mistake. And we unequivocally condone the usage of our know-how to discriminate or oppress any group.

Mercedes Stephenson: So, so that you unintentionally had this find yourself in a patent utility? I imply this can be a fairly main know-how. It’s not like somebody unintentionally put the flawed line in. If you happen to’ve developed this know-how, that’s an funding of sources, an funding of individuals, an funding of time. That’s intention. That’s not any person unintentionally made a typo in a patent utility.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: It was a mistake. My perception and my understanding is that it’s not a patent utility. It was a paper posted on our web site. And once more, we unequivocally condone the usage of our know-how to discriminate or oppress any group.

Mercedes Stephenson: Sorry, you condone it otherwise you condemn it?

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Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Each.

Mercedes Stephenson: You condone it?

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: We, we, we don’t condone the usage of our know-how to discriminate or oppress.

Mercedes Stephenson: And but it was in a patent. Okay. Effectively thanks very a lot. We admire your time and sharing your perspective with us.

Morgan Elliot, Huawei Canada’s VP of Authorities Affairs: Thanks.

Mercedes Stephenson: International Information adopted up with CSE about Mr. Elliot’s claims on the protection and safety of Huawei 5G and regardless of what he instructed us on this system, CSE says they haven’t commented publicly on 5G safety.

That’s on a regular basis now we have for right this moment. For The West Block, I’m Mercedes Stephenson. See you subsequent week.

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