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Feb 25th

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:05 am | Ontario, Hamilton Mountain

    Mr. Speaker, March 8 marks the tenth International Women's Day I will celebrating as a member of Parliament, except that it is not much of a celebration. Instead of eradicating barriers to women's full economic, social, and political participation, the Conservatives have been erecting them.

    They have actively undermined many of the advancements essential for the security of women by backtracking on pay equity; eliminating funding for the court challenges program; failing to create a national child care strategy; decreasing support for international gender-equality projects; failing to address violence against women; attempting to restrict women's reproductive rights; failing to improve the lives of aboriginal women; lacking strategies to address the specific challenges faced by women of colour, women from the LGBTQ community, and women with disabilities; reneging on the commitment to bring in gender-based analysis across ministries; failing to improve women's pension rights; closing three-quarters of all Status of Women offices; and eliminating even the mention of gender equality from the mandate of Status of Women.

    It is a daunting list, but New Democrats will not give up the fight. We know that Canadian women deserve fairness, affordability, opportunity, equal pay for work of equal value, a decent standard of living, and the freedom to live without fear. We will never stop in our efforts to ensure the full and equal rights of all women.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:05 am | Prince Edward Island, Cardigan

    Mr. Speaker, today is the eighth annual Pink Shirt Day, the international anti-bullying campaign begun in Nova Scotia when a young man was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. Two fellow students, David Shepherd and Travis Price, began distributing pink shirts to protest this bullying and to stand up for their fellow student.

    Everyone has been touched by bullying in some form, and unfortunately, far too many people have seen the devastating effects it can have. Whether it is at school, in the workplace, or online, bullying cannot and must not be tolerated in our society. Statistics show that when bystanders intervene, 50% of bullying can end within 10 seconds.

    On behalf of the Liberal Party, I want to invite all Canadians across the country to join our schools, workplaces, and communities and wear pink shirts today to help raise awareness and put a stop to the harmful act of bullying.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:05 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    It being Wednesday, we will now have the singing of the national anthem, led by the hon. member for Oshawa.

    [Members sang the national anthem]

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:10 am | Ontario, Burlington

    Mr. Speaker, the tax-free savings account is another example of our Conservative government fulfilling our promises to keep taxes low. We are proud that 11 million Canadians of all ages and income levels have opened an account, allowing them to safe tax-free, including my 24-year-old daughter. The vast majority of accounts belong to low- and middle-income earners. It is a way for Canadians to save for retirement, for their kids' education, or for a down payment on a house.

    The TFSA is helping Canadians, but the opposition wants to take it away. The NDP actually voted against the tax-free savings account, and the Liberal leader wants Canadians to pay more taxes, saying he will implement a carbon tax that will kill jobs and raise the price on everything. Perhaps he does not understand that ordinary Canadians cannot rely on a wealthy trust fund.

    The facts are clear. Only our Conservative government can be trusted to keep taxes low.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:15 am | New Brunswick, Beauséjour

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday Acadia lost a giant in the arts and culture with the death of Marc Chouinard, who left us far too early at the age of 62. Over the decades, his engagement in the arts and culture, often as a volunteer, was crucial to the development and promotion of our Acadian culture.

    More recently, as the manager of Moncton's Capitol Theatre, Marc made a tremendous contribution to the cultural and economic vitality of his province and helped open doors for many young artists.

    Though passionate for the arts, Marc also believed in the importance of social and economic development, which he often discussed, sometimes late into the night, with Premier Gallant as well as my colleague from Papineau. I am lucky to have spent so much time with Marc and to consider him a friend.

    I would like to extend my condolences to his mother, his sister Carole, who took such wonderful care of him, and to the other members of his family.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:15 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    The hon. member for Beauséjour.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:20 am | Ontario, Alma-Lac-St-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, 100% of families with children in Orléans and across Canada will be better off thanks to the new family tax cut.

    We expanded and increased the enhanced universal child care benefit so that every family in Canada can benefit.

    The official opposition and the third party would reverse our tax cuts and force every Canadian to pay more, all the while putting more money into the pockets of big bureaucracies.

    While they dream of holding Canadians by one hand and at the same time, have their other hand digging in Canadians' pockets, we believe citizens are in a much better position to know how to manage their own family budget.

    The third party leader has already said that he would reverse our tax cuts and would impose more taxes, like a job-killing carbon tax.

    Canadians are right to increasingly trust this government to put into their pockets more of the money that they have earned through their hard work.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:20 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, I am confident that the committee will be diligent and professional in examining this bill, which is so important to Canadians, in order to protect them from the terrorist threat.

    I hope that delay tactics will not be used to stop the committee from examining this important bill since that would prevent Canadians from benefiting from the excellent additional measures found in Bill C-51.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:20 am | Quebec, Outremont

    Barn burnings, Maher Arar, there is a history, Mr. Speaker, and we stand up in favour of the rights and freedoms of Canadians.

    However, it is not just security experts who understand that Bill C-51 goes too far. First nations are raising the alarm. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs is clear:

    —Bill C-51 directly violates the ability of all Indigenous Peoples to exercise, assert and defend their constitutionally-protected and judicially-recognized Indigenous Title and Rights to their respective territories.

    Again, Bill C-51 goes well beyond terrorism and will impact constitutionally-protected dissent and protest.

    Why is the Prime Minister afraid to hear from first nations themselves?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:25 am | Ontario, Halton

    Mr. Speaker, maybe the hon. Leader of the Opposition should speak to somebody in his caucus because this morning, indeed, a member of the NDP did call Marine Atlantic's CEO to get an explanation.

    The CEO explained it as follows. It is returning to the base level of funding because this government has provided to it an incredible amount of funding for revitalization of Marine Atlantic.

    We have built new facilities. We have entered into new charter agreements. We have invested in Marine Atlantic, so that it will continue to offer the service that we are so proud to offer here in Canada.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:25 am | Quebec, Papineau

    Mr. Speaker, one of the big things the Prime Minister needs to get right is getting our resources to market.

    With President Obama's veto of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Prime Minister has not fulfilled that responsibility.

    To build the public trust that we need to grow our exports, will he at long last work with the provinces to put a price on carbon?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:25 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, I would invite the member to read page 3 of the bill, which clearly states activity that does not undermine the security of Canada. It says, “For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression”.

    The member should read the bill and then we can have a real debate.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:25 am | Quebec, Outremont

    Mr. Speaker, since CN is saying it wants to be left out of this, the government will have to listen to Mayor Labeaume and ask Bill Gates to put pressure on CN; Bill Gates is one of the main shareholders.

    The main estimates tabled yesterday by the President of the Treasury Board show a shocking drop in funding for Marine Atlantic. There will be an 85% drop in funding, which includes $97 million in reductions for its operational budget.

    Marine Atlantic represents the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people in Atlantic Canada and it is constitutionally mandated.

    Is the government proposing either higher fees for Marine Atlantic, reduced services or both?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:30 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, every communication with the Government of Canada network is monitored for malware and viruses. The only information that is used, retained or shared is information from malicious actors attempting to harm the Government of Canada network.

    The independent CSE Commissioner constantly and thoroughly scrutinizes CSE's activities. The CSE Commissioner has never found CSE to have acted unlawfully and has noted CSE's respect for the privacy of all Canadians.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:30 am | Quebec, Papineau

    Mr. Speaker, there is no international relationship more important to Canada than that between the U.S. president and the Canadian prime minister.

    A diplomatic failure of this magnitude was unthinkable between Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan or between Jean Chrétien and Bill Clinton.

    When will the Prime Minister take personal responsibility for this diplomatic failure?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:30 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows very well that the government makes sure that all the bills it introduces are constitutional.

    The bill will protect Canadians' rights. It contains several provisions that increase the powers of the attorney general of Canada and of judges, especially when it comes to legal considerations surrounding the activities that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service might undertake to protect Canadians.

    I look forward to debating this bill in committee, and I hope that we can count on the co-operation of the opposition.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:35 am | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Nunavut

    Mr. Speaker, it is well-known that the main estimates are exactly that, estimates, and do not represent the entire budget for the department.

    Our government will remain committed to strong environmental assessments. In fact, we have increased funding and opportunities for aboriginal consultation and public participation in the environmental assessment process.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:35 am | Quebec, Lévis—Bellechasse

    Mr. Speaker, we have increased the budget for intelligence services and the RCMP seven times, despite a lack of support from the opposition.

    It is important to remember the measures that we have introduced, such as the legislation to combat terrorism, revoke passports and revoke the dual citizenship of individuals found guilty of terrorism, as well as Bill C-51, which is before us now.

    Why do the New Democrats oppose the measures that we are putting in place to protect Canadians?

    Let us send this bill to committee, examine the issue and, most importantly, take action. Canadians expect us to do something about this.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:35 am | Nova Scotia, Halifax

    Mr. Speaker, speaking of main estimates, Environment Canada's funding for climate change and clean air has been slashed by 20%. That is $32 million less for clean air.

    To make things worse, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency was cut by a whopping 44%, scrapping support for aboriginal consultation on resource projects.

    The environmental assessment process was bad enough and Canadians do not trust the government on the environment as it is, so why is it pursuing these cuts?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, we sympathize with this individual and her family for everything they have gone through. The Canadian Forces Health Services group is conducting a full review of this case and all the medical decisions that were involved. This is a priority for the Canadian Armed Forces.

    While this review is going on, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are continuing to cover her medical costs and meet her medical needs related to her present condition. I can assure the House that the minister and our government are committed to doing everything possible to help Captain Young.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | British Columbia, Vancouver Quadra

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked about armed forces member Robyn Young's misdiagnosis by a military doctor which caused her considerable harm.

    The minister responded that the Defence Department is continuing to cover these costs, but that was disingenuous. It only started to cover them recently and has not reimbursed the tens of thousands of dollars she has already spent. In fact, Robyn's family has had to resort to community fundraising to help pay her health bills.

    When will Ms. Young finally get full and fair compensation from the government?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | Ontario, Halton

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will have an opportunity to read into the record exactly what the CEO of Marine Atlantic told him on the telephone. It was a little bit more than that. The reason I know is because we have had a conversation with Marine Atlantic to ensure the fact that it is comfortable going forward with the amounts that are in the main estimates.

    We will continue to work with it in its budgeting to ensure that it provides the service that we have so well invested in, in the past five years.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | British Columbia, Skeena—Bulkley Valley

    Mr. Speaker, as the minister knows every word of that of conversation, it must have been one of those three-way calls set up for her.

    It has been said that we cannot judge a book by its cover, so let us look through the actual main estimates to find out what Conservative priorities really are. The devil is in the details.

    Let us see here. There are cuts to affordable housing, cuts to consular services, cuts to first nations health, cuts to fishery protection, and Conservative cuts to disease prevention. But wait, while cutting these essential services that Canadians need, Conservatives did find extra money for, wait for it, ministerial salaries and their chauffeur budgets.

    How can Conservative priorities be so out of whack and offline with what Canadians actually need and deserve?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | Ontario, Parry Sound—Muskoka

    Mr. Speaker, it feels like Groundhog Day.

    Every year, this government tables the estimates and every year, we get the righteous indignation of the opposition party. Every year, we table a budget which is good news for Canadians and every year the opposition votes against it.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:40 am | Nova Scotia, Kings—Hants

    Mr. Speaker, President Obama's veto of Keystone XL marks the Prime Minister's latest failure to advance Canada's economic interests. Brian Mulroney would have gotten Keystone XL approved with Ronald Reagan. Jean Chrétien would have gotten it done with Bill Clinton.

    Does the Prime Minister recognize that his failure to build relationships is costing Canadian jobs, and does he not understand that a personal relationship with the leader of our biggest trading partner is, in his own words, a no-brainer?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:45 am | British Columbia, Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam

    Mr. Speaker, to get Canadian projects moving forward, we do need to work together. That is why the Prime Minister was in British Columbia last week working with the Province of British Columbia, announcing accelerated capital cost allowances, to make sure that we are in the most competitive position possible when it comes to tax policies so that LNG projects can go forward.

    It has been estimated that of the 19 proposals for LNG projects in the province of British Columbia, if five of them are approved, it would create over 100,000 jobs in the province, and that will be realized only because we have a Conservative government with a Conservative Prime Minister who is working with others to make sure that our projects get to world markets.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:45 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, ill and severely injured personnel who are no longer able to serve in the Canadian Armed Forces are provided with up to three years to prepare for the transition to civilian life. The armed forces can also transfer members, if they wish, to cadet organizations, administration and training, or even to the Canadian Rangers, where they remain eligible for promotion. As always, the military provides comprehensive health care and career transition support, including job placement assistance.

    It is our government that made these policy changes because we recognize that the sacrifices made by our serving men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces deserve to be handled correctly.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:45 am | Newfoundland, St. John's East

    Mr. Speaker, universality of service continues to be a policy that haunts the Canadian Armed Forces. It has been condemned not just by soldiers but by the National Defence and the Veterans Ombudsmen. An internal report by DND shows that 70% of Afghan war veterans will be involuntarily released by the CAF within 10 years of deployment. This policy of discharge for those who face mental health challenges must be changed.

    When will the minister finally do the right thing, the fair thing, and fix this harsh and arbitrary policy?

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:45 am | Nova Scotia, Kings—Hants

    That is the arrogance, Mr. Speaker, that got us a veto from Obama on Keystone XL.

    To get projects approved, we need to work with others, but this is the Prime Minister who will not meet with premiers or first nations' leaders, who calls environmentalists eco-terrorists, and the Prime Minister who cancelled the three amigos conference with Mexico and the U.S. In the words of Brian Mulroney, “...the top foreign policy priority of the prime minister” should be to have a personal relationship with the U.S. president.

    Why does the Prime Minister not take Mulroney's advice and build the relationships we need to defend Canadian jobs?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:50 am | Manitoba, Selkirk—Interlake

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Pickering—Scarborough East for his services to Canada as one of our Armed Forces veterans.

    I am pleased to inform the House today that while taking part in coalition operations yesterday in support of the Iraqi security forces, our CF-18 Hornets successfully struck three ISIL fighting positions north of Mosul using precision-guided munitions.

    We are continuing to face this threat head on. ISIL has suffered a number of tactical setbacks and is pressed on multiple fronts. ISIL is struggling to sustain its military efforts in Iraq. We are tremendously proud of the work being done by the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces in Operation Impact to stop this jihadist terrorist cult.

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:50 am | Saskatchewan, Regina—Qu'Appelle

    Order, please. The hon. member for Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:50 am | Ontario, Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow families of the over 1,200 indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada will come together in preparation for Friday's national round table to offer their testimony, to find answers and solutions to end violence.

    Families will also be looking to the current government to finally change its rhetoric and come together with its provincial and territorial counterparts to act upon coordinated solutions and finally call for a national public inquiry.

    Will the government listen to their plea?

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:50 am | Nova Scotia, Sackville—Eastern Shore

    Mr. Speaker, the reason the Conservatives do not do the survey is that they do not want to hear stories like that of Robyn Young, one of the bravest young women I have ever met in my life as a member of Parliament. This woman has gone through pure hell with the Department of National Defence, and so has her mother. All they are asking for is basic dignity and basic responsibility from the department to ensure that they get all the help and services they both need to get their lives back to normal.

    DND should not be reviewing this itself; rather, the minister should be reviewing it. Will he stand up and tell the family they will get all the benefits they need so they can get back to living their lives in a normal way?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Ontario, Halton

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question because it gives me the opportunity to reiterate what the Minister of the Environment said. The main estimates are really that. They are estimates and they do not reflect the total budget that will be allocated to any individual part of our department at any given time. It is important to make sure that we are aware that the government is supporting Marine Atlantic, both in terms of capital and in operating funds, and we will continue to live up to that obligation.

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Newfoundland, Random—Burin—St. George's

    Mr. Speaker, Marine Atlantic is a vital transportation link between Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada, so vital to our economy and well-being that it is constitutionally protected under the Terms of Union. Included in the cut to Marine Atlantic in the estimates is $97 million in operating funding. An earlier cut of $16.3 million to Marine Atlantic's operating budget resulted in fare increases in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

    Can the minister guarantee that this cut to operational funding to Marine Atlantic will not result in further fare increases and cuts to service?

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    MPlib
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

    Mr. Speaker, about a month ago I asked the Minister of Transport about new data on grain shipments being published weekly by the AG Transport Coalition. The latest figures say that the railways have supplied on time only 44% of the grain cars ordered by their customers. In total, they are nearly 20,000 cars behind; shipments to the U.S. are especially poor; but CN is doing better than CP.

    Does the minister agree that these figures are accurate? If so, do they represent, in her opinion, suitable and adequate accommodation for grain shippers?

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Ontario, Parkdale—High Park

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives' failure to fund infrastructure is taking an environmental and economic toll on our cities. At a community meeting in my riding last night, people raised serious concerns that the planned electrification of the Union Pearson rail link in Toronto could be in jeopardy.

    Diesel service is unacceptable and has been banned in places like New York City for over a century, so federal support is badly needed. Cities are crying out for infrastructure funding and clean trains.

    Why is the federal government failing to act?

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    MPcon
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Quebec, Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean

    Mr. Speaker, we have been ready for business since April 1 of last year to receive projects from provinces and municipalities. In the provincial-territorial component of the building Canada plan, we need to receive the support and the prioritization by the provinces for projects that we have been waiting for since April 1. Lately, we have received some information from the Province of Ontario, and we are working on that. However, we need them and the municipalities on board.

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    MPndp
    Feb 25, 2015 11:55 am | Territories (yk, nt, nu), Western Arctic

    Mr. Speaker, there is a food crisis in northern Canada, and the Conservatives misled Canadians about fixing it.

    Just before the Auditor General's report, the Conservatives claimed there would be an extra $11 million in the nutrition north program. Including that money, the yearly total is what they have been spending since the program started.

    Why did the Conservatives mislead Canadians and northerners about the money in this program, and where is the $7 million extra needed for the 50 communities that are not included in the program?


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