The Sparky Covid-19 Briefing Bingo

Welcome back, Possums, to the Zoolander and Friends hour. As you can see we’re continuing our unspecified, guess-if-you-can arbitrary narrative framing device series. First we were Happy, then we were Heavy Metal. Now, Sparky. Possibly even electric! Like that one annoying light switch that hums angrily and occasionally snaps at you when you turn it on.

And you, Dear Readers, turn me on.


This is Sparky D’s world, and you’re living in it

Oh, oops. Sorry, wrong video. This is the one with our ensemble cast, even if they’re not here yet, fifteen minutes into the scheduled briefing. Lyrics SOMEWHAT different from the above, and, honestly, could really use a good backbeat to give it a bit more energy. Although it turns out that today’s briefing DOES have a lot of zip.

Neoliberalism: PoweredByOptimism™

On Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined by federal ministers Patty Hajdu (health), Anita Anand (public services and procurement), and Dominic LeBlanc (intergovernmental affairs), as well as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, and Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer. They discuss Health Canada’s authorization of the use of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in Canada, and the fifth COVID-19 vaccine that Health Canada has approved.

And our briefing cards are here and NO I didn’t get you a new one because I didn’t expect another briefing this week, silly me.

First thing you can do is mark the “My aunt calls during the briefing” square and, because The Roommate left the phone downstairs, you can probably mark it four more times over the course of the next hour. And “starts more than ten minutes late.”

Here we go. Squares: Begins in French, Vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, blue suit, BROWN SHOES WITH A BLUE SUIT WHICH IS JUST MORALLY WRONG, Pfizer, Maple Leaf Accessory, mask.

I always forget this one, but you can mark your “facial hair” square. OH MY GOD he’s talking about public transit. Fact is, if he walked to work it would take him half as long as it would take if he took OC Transpo (I’ve taken OC Transpo that route, trust me possums). $2.75 million for electric buses across the country. Well, it’s a start.

Mark your “throat malfunction” square, and “Spring is coming” implied if not exactly stated. And it’s over to Anita, who apparently needs better broadband judging by the lag time. That’s Minister Anand, of course. She, also, stresses (with vast amounts of statistics or is that numbers of statistics?) that we’re ahead of schedule for vaccination SO TAKE THAT CONSERVATIVES.

In related news, the Conservatives are pivoting to say “everyone should take the high road and not play Cheap Gotcha games” because maybe they’ve got the trademark on that?

It occurs to me that if we were reviewing backdrops, Minister Anand would blow the competition away. This will remain true until Trudeau gets that Millennium Falcon in the shot somehow. Maybe he should have it installed in his office?

And now we’re over to The Two Doctors. Dr. Tam sounds seriously optimistic for today. And mark your “Dr Njoo isn’t wearing glasses” square. Once again, Gurdeep Pandher makes the briefing, because who doesn’t love them some Gurdeep? Dude is a living national treasure.

Trudeau is paying intense attention to the first question, because the reporter is breaking up, but I’m going to give you not just the “gesticulates” square, but also the “Flashes wedding ring” square, which we literally haven’t had in months.

Second question gets you the “concerned priest hand clasp” square. And also your “technical difficulties” square not for the panel, but for me. Compy is lagging. Oh, I DID hear “Donc” so mark that. Is the reporter being helpful or passive-aggressive when she tells Minister Anand, “And if you want to answer in English that’s fine”?

Holy crap. 118 million doses headed to Canada. Are we planning on vaccinating our pets and houseplants? Even Doug Ford can’t waste THAT many doses. That’s roughly four doses for every Canadian, FYI.

Included just because I love the ever-loving fuck out of this gif:

Old Sparky would never pass The Greta Test

Ryan Tumilty with a question about Italy blocking a shipment of vaccine to Australia, asks if we’re concerned about that and if it might affect Canada’s supply. Trudeau responds that they’re monitoring the situation carefully but Canada has assurances from the EU that our supply won’t be interfered with. And those were AstraZenica, and we’re sourcing them from India right now, so they don’t go through Italy. I’m picturing bandanna’d brigands with daggers swarming the land convoys, selling it on the black market or something. I know Italians hate that image but STOP DOING IT!

You getting waitlisted for jabs? I feel for you son. I got 99 problems but vaccine supply ain’t one.

Followup: will you accelerate the schedule officially? Trudeau’s all NOPE we’re doing our damnedest to deliver as many doses as quickly as possible, and that’s our focus (in other words he won’t entrap himself).

I wish my French were good enough to follow this particular Q&A because it sounds very serious, and I’m always interested in anything that includes the word “ombudsman”. Thank you moderator, making him translate to English. It’s a question about Gen. Vance. Trudeau does put on Concerned Priest Face and reminds everyone he has been involved in fighting sexual assault since he was at school. “I only became aware of the allegations against Gen. Vance through the efforts of Global reporters” which is the PM spanking the hell out of the military and the ombudsman.

Q: Women in the military say they’ve lost confidence in the minister of defence, what do you say? Trudeau says “we’ve taken significant steps” to make the workplace safer. “we will continue to work with survivors, to hear them, to create cultures where incidents don’t happen from the very beginning.” Mark that square.

Had you been aware of the allegations, would you have extended his term? Trudeau says he won’t engage in hypotheticals BUT COME ON MAN WHY NOT THIS IS EASY! Mark your “softball” question square for the firs time in a long time, and note that Trudeau did not even engage with it. “Goodness me, we would not have done that of course!” So easy. But he didn’t say that.

Question about incentivizing the US to get us more vaccines, and that gives you the “Comes roaring back” square and your “shades Trump” square although he doesn’t say the name “Biden” perhaps so he doesn’t stop and stare dreamily into space thinking about his new BFF. Something sparked there, possums.

And “every step of the way” and “as much as it takes as long as it takes. And “Pushes responsibility to provinces”. Translating into both official languages is particularly important as it gives those of us who are unilingual-ISH time to liveblog what people are saying. I know. The mundane details of an itinerant liveblogger’s work are positively electrifying.

Shocking Secrets of a Liveblogger

And Trudeau is out, mark your “Camera follows him out of the room” square and also, I finally notice, “Sign language interpreters swapped out.” Tom Parry with a question about COVAX and sharing vaccines with other countries while maintaining Canada’s supply. Anand takes it and says “we are v committed to sharing vaccines with the developing world.”

New question about why the schedule’s not getting changed, why we have to hold on for six months. This one is easy. Hajdu takes it. She says our priority is Canada and we’re doing everything we can to get vaccines to Canadians, but we need to be realistic about factors beyond our control.

You can now mark your “unmitigated statement of optimism” and comes from all people from Dr. Theresa Tam. Which means it’s HELLA fact-based. She’s not a politician trying to appease voters. She’s outlining the difficulties of giving the first round of vaccine doses while the outbreak is still very active. Mark “Spring is coming” too. Dr Tam has gotten so much better at winging the answers to questions. She’s spontaneous and informative in equal parts, and optimistic too; because she’s a science-based person, the optimism resonates more.

Minister Anand jumps in to say we now have four suppliers of vaccines, and that the situation can change. “It can get better, as we saw today…and in some cases our supply chains can be negatively affected. Whatever the news, I will come to you with the facts, and I will tell you facts as I know them in terms of our delivery schedule. We need to know those delivery schedules are firm before we tell you.”

Reporters keep asking for politicians to update the vaccination schedule/benchmarks so they have more news to report than just “government succeeds.” You don’t get all the way to the top of the silo in Political Ottawa without being smart, though, so politicians are all “Nope, we’re keeping the original schedule so all you get to report is that we have succeeded” this is implied, not stated, duh.

And we have reached The End.

Meanwhile, in the Canadian media silo:

And lastly, I dunno about you, but #IStandWithZeroFucksCat

One thought on “The Sparky Covid-19 Briefing Bingo

  1. Reblogged this on #OpCovid19 and commented:

    The latest from Canada on the vaccine supply situation. They’ve ordered enough to vaccinate every Canadian almost four times. And you get unequivocal statements of optimism from Dr. Theresa Tam.

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