The Toadstool Covid Briefing Bingo

Good rainy morning, Possums. We are coming to you live from Ottawa, although today CPAC is apparently not covering Trudeau’s briefing so we are going with the CBC video instead, as the actual PMO team doesn’t get the video up for eight or ten hours and never includes other people’s speeches or the questions from the media. This should be jarring, and bad for my French, but here goes.

If you want to take a guess at our arbitrary nomenclature convention, we’re still going. One theme unifies all our briefing titles lately and we have had:

Guesses in the comments section to win fabulous, completely imaginary prizes. Our choice today is not completely arbitrary, however, as toadstools and politics could well be more interconnected than most people think. Forget mind control chips in vaccines and fluoride in the water supply: how about dosing the entire population with shrooms to fight fascism? Or at least the Alberta and Ontario legislatures?

Researchers found unlikely heroes in keeping the world from authoritarianism – magic mushrooms. Scientists from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London showed that psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, makes people less likely to embrace authoritarian views like fascism and more connected with nature.

The study, authored by Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris, a leading researcher in this field, shows that psilocybin treatment can lead to lasting changes in such mindsets.

that's no mushroom
that’s no mushroom

Here’s our CBC video, and I’m wondering about the backstory here. Did he piss off CPAC? Is Their Person sick today? I see they’re covering Question Period but not this. Come, let us overthink it together! [later: CPAC did in fact cover the briefing, although they didn’t have their placeholder in place on YouTube in advance like usual, and it wasn’t there five minutes into the briefing either].

The CBC does not go in for descriptive captions, they only promote their other channels.

And our Bingo cards are here. Play one or play the whole set or play a completely random and arbitrarily chosen subset, because it’s 2021 and arbitrary absurdism is where we are at now in Canadian politics.

Mark your PPE and Blue Suit and Facial Hair and Third Wave and Rapid Test and Vaccine squares. And Pfizer and New Vaccine squares too. And “Comes roaring back” and “Finds new way to give Canadians money”.

That “stronger, faster recovery” is a GenX freudian reference to the Six Million Dollar Man. And how quickly will our economy recover if we just, like, ate a billionaire and split up all their assets among Canadians equally? We’d all be six million dollar persons of unspecified gender.

Now mark your Freeland square. She is beginning in French, so mark that square and also “Someone appears via video.” Now I’m regretting to give the “Finds new way to give Canadians money” to Trudeau, because really it belongs to Freeland. I am HATING the way the CBC swaps between English and French, not to mention the fact they didn’t even catch the beginning of the briefing.

The Trudeau family at the Food Bank Farm in Ottawa

And now mark your “Dr. Tam” square and “non-religious day, week, or month mentioned” for Vaccination week and National Physicians’ Day. Mark your “Cases are down” square which is a fantastic square to mark, even if those who are getting the virus are more seriously ill, with 50 deaths daily. Mark “Salutes healthcare workers”.

Trudeau, Freeland, and now Tam all did the opposite of “pushes responsibility to provinces” by lauding the provinces for collaboration, Tam specifically saying that collaboration is a Canadian trait. Mark “who we are” square.

Mark “Dr Njoo isn’t wearing glasses.” B117 is responsible for most of the new cases, and for their seriousness. If you think about it, it means we are almost done with the original variant. We have almost beaten it! Almost reached the goal. But with viruses, it’s a race against new strains. And they tell me this virus is mutating slower than most do, so it’s beatable in the largest sense.

“We will get to better days ahead.” Is that an unalloyed statement of optimism? At this point, it feels like it, so mark that square.

Now we’re on to questions, with some major paper-straightening going on. First question about a big anti-vax protest at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal which will likely interfere with the vaccination distribution going on at the same site at the same time. LOCK ‘EM UP FFS DUDE! And Trudeau interrupts the followup to respond in English, about how disappointed he is. He reminds everyone they have the right to express their opinion, but also mentions the downside: ie Covid spread, deaths.

As if he couldn’t ban the gatherings altogether.

And mark your “Reiterates the borders will stay closed” but doesn’t put a mandatory quarantine on land crossing. Essentially land crossing safety pushes responsibility to the US for safety and…is that a safe choice? Really?? And mark your “Pushes responsibility to provinces” for crossing from one province to another, essentially telling Doug Ford “that’s not my table, it’s yours.”

Mark “From the very beginning” and “Keeping Canadians safe” squares. And he’s translating to English again. Oh yes, and mark your “Gesticulates” square too. I don’t have a “Pushes responsibility to the US” square, but mark your “Biden” square for the heavy implication. I need a square for “We will continue to work with the Provinces” because in an election year we’re going to get to mark the hell out of that.

New question about Manitoba sending teachers to get vaccinated in the Dakotas (unsure North or South but North is surely closer) and Trudeau admits it makes a lot of people nervous to waive the quarantine requirements for them.

Pretty sure Bannon would be better for a small dose.

Mark your “Same old vaccine supply question” square. The vaccine question now makes him happy, so he’s smiling. He knows Anand has (killed it is not the right expression in a pandemic) done a good job. Mark “Drinks water.” And “concerned priest handclasp” over the sexual harassment and assault in the military. And Trudeau doesn’t give a lot of answers, just a lot of concerned facial expressions and paper straightening and pushes responsibility to Justice Arbour, who is a good person to push responsibility to.

There’s your “touches face” square. Glad to see the next reporter picks up on that and continues to push. Trudeau says the government IS taking action (by pushing responsibility to Justice Arbour). How Ottawa. “We’ve done our job, there’s a royal commission on the way!” The system does need reforming, but the reporters are saying it’s all very well to have changes a year or two out, but what about the people in the military right now? And Trudeau basically suggest they have faith in the process, which is the most Ottawa answer ever.

There’s your “Specific premier named” and “Doug Ford” and “pushes responsibility to provinces” with the “who have shat the bed” clearly implied.

Now a question about the Ontario half-assed sick leave measure, which I believe is not its official name. Could be wrong.

Trudeau reframes “the best vaccine for you is the first one offered to you” for sick leave, the best sick leave being the one that ensures you get paid when you’re sick, and says he can’t impose this on Ontario, they have to do it themselves, and a number of provinces and territories have moved forward with employer-driven sick leave. I wonder if Freeland is as colloquial in French as she is in English. I don’t think so, but am not sure.

OOOH HARDBALL QUESTION thank you reporter! “That’s not true”. BOOM! Question about Canadians using the US to circumvent the quarantine restrictions by flying to the border and using a land crossing. And that’s the end of Trudeau’s question time. He’s happy not to get the followup question I guess. Camera does NOT follow him out of the room. Mark your “Maple leaf accessory” and “Mask” squares.

Freeland is responding to Tonda’s question with a soliloquy about employers’ civic duty to provide paid sick leave and good luck with appealing to corporations’ ethics.

New question for Minister Anand, which means you don’t get to mark your “important person on panel who does not speak.” And mark “AstraZeneca” square. This is another variation of “That same vaccine supply question” and also mark your “Technical difficulty” square because she was breaking up there for a minute. Black jacket, so can’t see if it’s peaked lapels today or not. Black swallows light on camera.

Freeland still getting That Same Old Border Question about land crossings and the three day quarantine, and it’s a very strong “Pushes responsibility to the provinces”.

I should put a “panelist waves” square in for next time. We’re about halfway done the Tenth Generation Bingo Card. Now the ministers are out and the Doctors are up.

First question is about the actual danger of people crossing on the land borders, and Dr. Tam says we have good measures and we need to focus on those. And Dr. Njoo says we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, and the biggest issue is actually community spread, not importation. And he gives you the “Contact tracing” Square which, if community spread is where the spread is happening, should be more of A Thing.

And now, just to wrap this briefing up in a bow, I’m going to suggest microdosing, just to tie back into our arbitrarily-chosen theme. Because between Poole’s Land and lingering hippie culture, mushrooms are just the most BC thing ever and Trudeau needs to work on his outreach to Western voters.

Mushrooms by Kats Elixir
Mushrooms by Kats Elixir

In Unrelated But Still Funny News:

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