The Cursive Covid Briefing Bingo

Space may be flat, but there’s no reason our politics should be, possums. Welcome to today’s slightly off-centre, possibly infinite, arguably curved Covid-19 Briefing Bingo aka The Zoolander Show, coming to you live from yet another anonymous briefing room somewhere in downtown Ottawa.

I am told by the Prime Minister’s website that we are at:

Room 200
Sir John A. Macdonald Building
144 Wellington Street

Although he, apparently, is not.

Whyyyyyyyy does the Canadian government love QR codes so much? Are they stuck in 2011 forever? They’ve got them prominently displayed on the backs of chairs at the briefing, but they’re out of focus so none of the viewers can click on them.

Meanwhile, on Twitter things are getting interesting. wHaT cOuLd PoSsiBly gO WrOnG?

Is Doug Ford’s final form a toxin? Yeah, why should it be any different, eh?

513 watching the CPAC video, because by now everyone knows he’s always late.

And your bingo cards are here and yes, I forgot to get you a new one. The old ones are still plenty relevant, as I was reminded at 3am last night when I got into an argument about Uighurs on Twitter (they’ve been A Thing at these briefings for months, possums, it’s not like Trudeau has shied away from discussing the issue). But oh yes, we were talking about the cards:

Speaking of bending space and time, Michael Hayden’s post-government career apparently involves being a reporter for the SPLC?

Oh wait, the OTHER Michael Hayden. How many can there be? Which one is the prime and which one is the quantum Michael Hayden?

Well, possums, mark your “Starts more than ten minutes late” three times over, because it’s half an hour late now. And here we go, but CPAC has seen fit to spare us the audio, it seems.

Ah, there we go. Mark your “Blue suit” and “CBC cadence” and “Mask” and “Maple Leaf Accessory” and “Haircut” squares. And “Vaccines”. Haircut is arguable but high time if you axe me, which I note you did not. But I’m over that. And mark your “Mentions how many times he’s met with the premiers” as well. Wonder if we started half an hour late because of the haircut. That would be positively Clintonian, not that Bill Clinton was on time ever once in his entire life.

Mark your “Cases are down” square. “Variants” needs to be a square on the next card, for sure. Mark “Second Wave” and I hadn’t thought far ahead enough for “Third Wave” to be a square. Mark “App” and “Bending the curve” which we haven’t heard in ages. See? The framing device for today IS TOO relevant!

And “G-7” surely has got to be a square, yes?

And now mark your “Diversity/AntiRacism” square, whatever I called it. And “Shades Harper” and “Shades the Tories”. And “Keeping Canadians safe” although in a very different context from the pandemic.

Everyone remembers this, yes?

We, the leaders of the Group of Seven, met today and resolved to work together to beat COVID-19 and build back better. Drawing on our strengths and values as democratic, open economies and societies, we will work together and with others to make 2021 a turning point for multilateralism and to shape a recovery that promotes the health and prosperity of our people and planet.

G7 Leader’s Statement

It just occurred to me there’s no sign on the desk for once. Odd, the always have one there advertising the federal Covid info site. Now he’s talking about French language rights and promoting the language right across the country, which is a huge project. You just don’t use it west of Ontario.

Extending the existing benefits including the CRB and sick leave significantly. Mark your “Finds a new way to give Canadians money” even though these are just extensions of pre-existing ones, because why not? Celebrate a little!

And now, questions. Mark your “Drinks water” square.

First question from Jamie Pashagumskum of APTN on Bill C-22, about how it doesn’t go far enough. Response is “hey, it’s a step in the right direction” basically. And followup about mandatory minimum sentencing: why get rid of some but not all? The response is that mandatory minimums disproportionately penalize racialized Canadians, but some minimums like for murder are appropriate.

Bill Curry from the Globe and Mail with a question about donating vaccines to developing countries. Trudeau says they discussed that in the G7 call. Mark your “Donc” square. Oh, and mark your “Fails to translate the answer in to the other official language” because he’s not even trying today. Which is annoying because I didn’t catch what Lina Dib asked. Something that got an answer about travel restrictions and keeping Canadians safe. And mark your “Gesticulates” square, although it’s a low energy briefing overall, although THANK GOD no more of That Same Old Vaccine Supply Question.

I feel compelled to note he’s toying with a pen, which we’ve never seen him do before. I will remind you that I am well-paid to read wayyyyyy too much into every single data point of these briefings (no, I’m not).

Tom Perry from CBC up now. “Did you tell any of the premiers that they are opening too soon?” Trudeau says the job of the federal government is to be there to support the provinces. And mark “Got your backs” square. Yes, and “Deflects responsibility to provinces” too.

Possums, it does.

As COVID-19 continues to affect lives and livelihoods around the world, we can already see that the pandemic and its economic fallout are having a regressive effect on gender equality. By our calculation, womenโ€™s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than menโ€™s jobs. Women make up 39 percent of global employment but account for 54 percent of overall job losses. One reason for this greater effect on women is that the virus is significantly increasing the burden of unpaid care, which is disproportionately carried by women. This, among other factors, means that womenโ€™s employment is dropping faster than average, even accounting for the fact that women and men work in different sectors.

McKinsey Covid-19 and gender equality

Looks like the moderator just woke up and realized we have two official languages and reminded the PM that part of his job is to translate the answers into both. Because he’s doing that now. Maybe they just wait for a really important answer.

Question from Mia Rabson CP about handguns, asking what powers he has to force municipalities and provinces to fall into line and how willing he is to use them? He replies with federal and criminal penalties for individuals and “We’re gonna have to have conversations” with provinces and municipalities who are not on board. “Pushes responsibility to provinces” yet again. We might get a whole bingo out of this one phrase today. And “Every step of the way,” that old standard.

Oh yes, mark your “Sign language interpreters swapped out” square. Completely missed this next question in French from Radio Canada, oh well. Sorry. Ah, it’s another “How are you working with provinces” question and I think we all know the answer to that. Mark your “throat malfunction” square. And also about protecting the French language across the country, which gets you a prรฉcis of his earlier statement.

Annie Bergeron-Oliver from CTV National News with the inevitable question about the Uighurs, which is a square and has been for months. Yesterday the CPC challenged him to officially call it a “Genocide”. And yes, he literally calls it “crimes against humanity and genocide” today, no doubt much to the consternation of the CPC, who are just offstage and can be located by following the sound of gnashing teeth.

There’s an implicit threat in there about “Moving forward together” when he talks about Western governments. She doesn’t let him off the hook “With respect, that doesn’t answer any of my questions. Will it be a free vote?” The look on his face is priceless. I could listen to this on a loop and, in fact, am doing so. And he continues to fail to engage with answering the question, although switching into French to do so.

Some literal backgound from today’s briefing:

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the media…

He always looks like that when he’s enthusiastic about something. Look at any of those videos where he’s bhangra dancing. God knows, I didn’t vote for the man and generally find that kind of enthusiasm exhausting, but if “he gets a bang out of life” is all you’ve got against an elected official, honey, you need more fibre.

Your mileage may vary.

For the record, I don’t think “sitting in on a Zoom meeting” qualifies as a “safety-sensitive position” so random drug testing would not be allowable in this circumstance. This has been a public service announcement from your aspiring Governor-General.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Ottawa, shots fired:

Meanwhile, in the US:

Meanwhile, on Mars:

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