Assignment Covid-19 Briefing Bingo

Once again, Linus knows his shit.

Yes, I’m late. After all these months of limbo I actually forgot how to set an alarm properly, and set it for tomorrow instead of today, so I slept right through the announcement this morning. Which was at 10am: who’s awake at 10am, I ask you? Civil servants and medical personnel and the kids who work the drive-thru, that’s about it these days. And sad, lonely bus drivers with 80 empty seats and no one to talk to. No one.

Ahem. That’s A Mood, isn’t it? Anyway, we’re here now, so we’re doing this.

Play one card or play them all to win fabulous, completely imaginary prizes:

Today’s bingo is named after Assignment Terror, probably the second-worst Paul Naschy monster movie. And here’s your CPAC video.

On Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes an announcement and responds to questions from reporters. He is joined by federal ministers Navdeep Bains (innovation, science and industry), Catherine McKenna (infrastructure), Maryam Monsef (women and gender equality and rural economic development), and Pablo Rodriguez (the government House leader). The Prime Minister announces that the federal government will invest 1.75 billion dollars to connect under-served areas to high-speed Internet by 2026. This is additional funding of $750 million to the $1 billion originally announced in the 2019 budget. Justin Trudeau also comments on his congratulatory message to U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden following the latter’s election win. The Prime Minister discusses the news that the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech may be 90 % effective in preventing COVID-19 infections. He states that this vaccine should be available in the first three months of 2021,and that it would first be given to priority populations.

Dang, I can’t tell on these screens whether that’s a blue suit or a grey one. I’m in a generous mood, so if you have one marked but not the other, mark the one you don’t have. If you don’t have either, take a look and let me know what colour you think it is in the comments.

“Shovel-ready” is a good option for the next card.

I do not have ANY squares relating to the internet, nor any “Shows hope for the United States” because who saw that coming, but it’s an interesting briefing anyway. Trudeau sends congratulations to Biden and Harris and the United States, mentions the message of inclusion and diversity inherent in the election of Kamala Harris.

And then a discussion of the importance of the internet which, here we all are, aren’t we? Well, the few who are not soon will be, with the expansion of high-speed internet to isolated areas. My friends in Keremeos had to wait six months for a connection at all, and in Tofino I figured our best bet was satellite, with a startup cost of $1500. This low orbit satellite program sounds very interesting. The $1.75 billion broadband fund will make a huge difference.

And excellent news on the vaccine front:

Pfizer says an early peek at its vaccine data suggests the shots may be 90 per cent effective at preventing COVID-19, indicating the company is on track later this month to file an emergency use application with U.S. regulators. The vaccine is among seven that Canada has pre-ordered.


Other than the suit colour, of course the first square active is your “Wears mask” square. Mark your “Maple Leaf accessory” square, your “Someone appears by video” and “Begins in English”. And right away, “App.” And “Biden mentioned by name” which is on the sixth generation card. “A specific Canadian business is mentioned” as well. Oooh, and “Avoids mentioning Trump by name”.

And “Someone is wearing glasses”. As a glasses-wearer, I’m glad to see it. #BringingGlassesBack And poppies all over the place, mark that square too.

Oooh, Justin Ling did not come to play. I like that reporter. He’s got a very pointed question about the human rights violations in the federal solitary confinement system. He’s got all the details: the system has not changed, and it is incompatible with the changes proposed. The response is equal parts deft and mealy-mouthed, and 100% meaningless.

“The Two Michaels” square is active thanks to CTV’s reporter. Trudeau gives the same lecture about China’s bullying and punitive imprisonment that he gives every time.

I like that Trudeau refers to “The current US president” and “The American government” and absolutely will not say the man’s name. “Ozymandias” square would be active, if it existed.

And “Drinks water” square is active. And “swaps out sign language interpreters” so that’s apparently not a lunch-related thing. Is it an exhausting physical activity? I can’t imagine it’s that much more tiring than simply being Italian and engaging in conversation, but what do I know? Can anyone with expertise weigh in on this?

Oh yeah, we have a “Facial hair” square. So obviously that one’s active. He said “Pardon” but it was in French, and I only have a square for “Sorry” in English, so I’m going to be a hardass and say no, you don’t get that one this time.

And there we have “Concerned Priest Hand Clasp” and “Gesticulates”. Again, just thumb gesticulation, but it counts.

Reporter asks Trudeau if he is not personally responsible for the atrocities occurring in long term care homes, which come the fuck on! That gets us a placid “Pushes responsibility to provinces”. Definitely mark your “stupid gotcha question” square, for that and this:

Another question about Trump, and another response that does not mention him by name. These questions just let Trudeau stare deeply into the camera and murmur “My job is to protect Canadians” and the camera just swoons. Honestly, he should tip the reporters for that question every time. Reporters could use the occasional fifty bucks.

I said Fifty. Times are tough, my dude. Newsboy caps don’t buy themselves, you know.

And there we go, “donc.” God, I love that word. Trudeau is out, but for once the camera does not follow him out.

Minister Bains says “competition” will keep the price of the high speed internet down. Of course, it hasn’t done that so far; at one time Canada had the most affordable broadband in the world, but now it’s one of the most expensive places. So this $1.75 billion is going to go to Canadian and foreign companies, but it’s NOT going to help individuals afford the internet. And the whole “rely on capitalism to do the best for you all” is bullshit; if capitalism worked this way, we would not need the government at all.

Probably the last square you get “Reiterates the border will stay closed.” I wonder if that fiberoptic loop in Yellowknife will EVER get used; it was installed years ago, but the local internet company didn’t want it competing with them, so they simply refused to connect it to the internet, and the government just went “Yeah, okay, I guess.” And it lies there still, unused. Perhaps it will never be used.

Interesting. I was not aware of the $10 a month internet plan. And of course there are still freenets around: apparently there are over 300 people in Ottawa still on dialup. I learned that at digital democracy day which, ironically, was only advertised online, ie it was designed so that it could not reach ANY of the people it was designed to help. Nonetheless it was considered to be a great success and there was a very nice afterparty at Shopify.

And that’s a wrap. And A Mood. See you next time.

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