Good afternoon, Possums, and welcome back to another episode of the Justin Trudeau Power Hour Although This Time A Scant Eleven Minutes and Forty-Nine Seconds. Yes, it was a Covid briefing from the PM, but on a Sunday, a radical departure from the relentless Tuesday/Friday schedule we’ve come to expect.
And no-one was as surprised, Possums, as Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
In an unexpected yet somewhat foreshadowed move…
[aforesaid foreshadowing goes here]
On Sunday, Justin Trudeau made an elegant end run around the floridly hapless and rapidly disintegrating premier of Ontario, Doug “Buck-A-Beer” Ford, and announced that the federal government, along with several provinces, is stepping in and providing direct support to Covid-hit communities in Ontario without bothering to wait for the province to request help.
This neatly avoids invoking the Emergencies Act, which gives the federal government sweeping powers to act within a province’s borders without regard to that provincial government. Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, famously invoked the War Measures Act, which itself would be fingered by a paternity test on the Emergencies Act. Diagram that sentence out if it helps.
The Kennedys. The Bushes. The Trudeaus. The Windsor-Mountbattens. Yes, the Trumps. Even the Fords. And the War Measures Act and the Emergencies Act. All politics is intergenerational these days. And it always was a little incestuous. Just ask the Borgias.
Anyhoodle, as astute observers pointed out pretty quickly, it was clever of Trudeau The Younger to make his move on a Sunday, as Dougie always heads up to Fordlandia-on-the-Lake (which is what we imagine he calls his cottage in Muskoka) on the weekends.
Muskoka is too a real word, spellcheck.
Which, under his own lockdown rules, he’s not supposed to visit except for emergencies or maintenance. Unless he went even farther afield, which we do not entirely rule out. It would be so totally Doug Ford to get arrested in a Walmart parking lot in PEI for breaking quarantine while vacationing against Covid guidelines.
So, yeah, Canada’s most populous province is facing the uncontrolled spread of deadly variants of a deadly plague, with the mortality rate of hospitalized cases up 38% in one week THIRTY-EIGHT PERCENT IN ONE WEEK. And the premier faffs off to grill some burgers and down a few pops by the lake, earning his administration the touching nickname of “Murder clowns.”
So, without the formality or even necessity of invoking the jackbooted Emergency Act (in what is unquestionably exactly the kind of emergency it was meant to handle) Trudeau just stepped into the void and got shit done on Doug’s day off.
Trudeau’s cottage, I will remind you, is nicer than Doug’s, but unless someone at Harrington Lake created an elaborate mockup of his Ottawa office for the purposes of filming this, Justin Trudeau stayed home in Ottawa this weekend. Seymour told us.
In case you’re wondering why Trudeau doesn’t want to use the Emergency Act, it’s because doing so will make him look like The Fascist Jackboot Of Big Government and enable both the nominally-leftist NDP and the increasingly-MAGA Conservatives to paint him as evil and cost him popular support. Meanwhile the worse the pandemic is in their own areas of responsibility, the more deaths they can blame on Ottawa. Yes, it really is that cynical.
And there’s an election coming and I say (like the return of King Arthur) the sooner the better.
Where were we, other than rambling at the tail end of a 34-hour-long workday? Oh right, about to give you your video and bingo cards. Let’s play, Possums!
First of all, we are still naming these Briefing Bingos after an unspecified and thus mysterious, arbitrarily-chosen convention which nobody has guessed yet. So far we have had:
Here’s our video:
And here are our cards. Dear god, we thought we’d never see Seymour again!
- First Generation
- Second Generation
- Third Generation
- Fourth Generation
- Fifth Generation
- Sixth Generation
- Seventh Generation
- Eighth Generation
- Ninth Generation AT LAST WE FINALLY DID ANOTHER CARD
- and all of our other Covid Briefing Bingos are on the category page.
And right off the bat you can mark “Shirtsleeves” and I can’t see the shoes but I do see the belt and it’s brown and so I’m gonna give you the infamous “Brown shoes” square because even if he DOES flout tradition to the extent of wearing warm tones with cool tones, he surely wouldn’t wear a brown belt with black or grey or blue shoes.
Anyway, back to the emergency pandemic briefing, which we are treating with all the gravitas longtime readers of ye old raincoaster blog have come to know and love. Don’t sniff haughtily at me, honey. You are…here.
Also mark our beloved “Seymour” square: we have determined from still photos that it is in fact a soapstone sculpture of a bear inside a bear, and both of them look mightily pissed off although the one on the inside probably has more right to be, because it’s not in the fun way. Anyhoodle, Seymour must have been a bad bear, because they’ve turned him to face the back of the room. Guess that little canoe just couldn’t stand to share the spotlight. Fuckin’ canoes, eh?
Also mark your “Facial hair” and dude hasn’t even started talking yet. Okay, now we’re off, so mark “Begins in English” because Ontario really, really needs to hear this more than anyone else. And “Third wave”. Actually this is all English, and I don’t see the Justin Trudeau channel on YouTube putting up a French version either. Mark your “Fails to translate” square.
He sounds either like he pulled an all-nighter like me or he’s getting seriously choked up about reminding Canadians to follow public health guidelines and buckle down just a bit longer to beat this thing. Could be both. At least Stern Disappointed Teacher Voice is lessened somewhat, and CBC Cadence seems to be dead altogether. You get a very mild “Gesticulates” square, so mark that very gently. And “Concerned priest handclasp” as well.
He says they are mobilizing federal healthcare workers to deploy across Ontario and specifically in the Toronto area, which has been particularly hard-hit (and which is also Doug Ford’s turf; Doug Ford, also, is a Legacy Politician and that should tell you all you need to know about choosing your representatives based on which famous dead people they are related to). Mark the “Doug Ford” square with extreme prejudice.
Now mark your “Specific premiers mentioned” for the premiers from the Atlantic Bubble, which works almost as well as the Australian Being A Whole Island Continent thing. And the Yukon and NWT as well. Trudeau has asked them to help support Ontario, the way you ask two good strong young lads to make sure Drunk Uncle Doug gets home from the Legion in one piece after the meat draw.
He’s now giving Doug Ford the same treatment he gave Donald Trump, ie conspicuously refusing to use his name. That’s peak Canadian passive-aggressiveness, Possums, and it makes me proud.
Basically, Trudeau has said “we’ve got this deadbeat who’s killing the people he’s supposed to be serving, so I called a few people who know what they’re doing, have done it, and now have experience and resources and skills to spare, and we’re just gonna go in and fix this mess.” Once again, I may be slightly paraphrasing there.
There’s your “Thanks Healthcare workers” square. “I know you’re exhausted, and that hasn’t stopped you from working harder than ever before. We all need to get you more support in critical areas. Know that we’re doing whatever we can to help.”
Now he says they’ll be “boosting” rapid testing, which gives you the “Rapid Testing” square, but we’re not sure what “boosting” means in this context except it probably doesn’t mean shoplifting, which it does where I come from. Ah, they’re “working directly with municipalities to deploy rapid tests to hot spots in Ontario especially for essential workers and workplaces.” An end run around the provincial government entirely.
“This will ensure the tests we deliver get used in the places that need it most.” Shaaaaade, Possums. That’s exactly what did not happen with the vaccines, so the federal and municipal layers of government are just going to avoid the provincial distribution system altogether. We already mentioned that’s a clusterfuck, right?
From the Prime Minister’s Website:
- Sending federal health care staff and equipment to the front lines in Ontario to care for people across the province, particularly in areas that are most impacted.
- Boosting rapid testing to help stop the spread of the virus, and working with municipalities and businesses to deploy them to hot spots across Ontario, support contact tracing and isolation, and make workplaces safer.
- Investing $84.2 million to support voluntary safe isolation sites, including across Ontario. These sites have already helped 3,900 Ontarians isolate safely to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Signing a bilateral agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario to enhance virtual health services in the province. This agreement comes with $46 million in funding to expand Ontario’s efforts on virtual health care during the pandemic.
- Providing an additional supply of tocilizumab and other needed drugs for Ontario through reallocation from other provinces and territories. Tocilizumab is used to treat severe pneumonia in COVID-19 patients.
That’s your “Unmitigated NeoLiberalism” or whatever I called that square. Also your “Third wave” square. And he reminds everyone about all the medical and financial supports the federal government has already supplied. Now mark “Feels parents’ pain”.
And now mark “Vaccine” and “PPE” and your “Unmitigated statement of optimism” too. And, yes, “Got your back.”
And that’s a wrap, Possums. I’m feeling a little punchy after being awake a day and a half, but while I’d like to curl up with a generous tumbler of Pinot Noir and a cheesy horror movie before losing consciousness, this little Canadian has a bunch of web pages to bang out so she can present them tomorrow, so now I’m off to make another coffee.
In other news, GOD I miss Vancouver: