The Sunburn Covid Briefing Bingo

Well, here we are again, Possums, doing another Covid Briefing Bingo just when we thought we’d never see another. With the continuously-imminent election uh, imminent, Justin Trudeau has an awful lot of other things on his plate, which is no doubt silver to match the spoons.

Oh, did I ever tell you my theory about why Boris Johnson hates boiled eggs? I did not, unless you were in the comments section of Boris’ blog about fifteen years ago, so here goes. We love a good digression around these parts, we surely do.

So, Boris Johnson, currently the Prime Minister of the Technically United But Actually Rapidly Disintegrating Kingdom, hates boiled eggs.

Now, you might not care, as I did not, as neither I nor you (in all probability) are egg farmers or egg restaurateurs. But there’s a delicious hook or two here: Schadenfreude and class war. And inorganic chemistry, which is always cool. We love a good inorganic chemistry digression, especially with lashings of class war and a dollop of Schadenfreude.

When you or I eat eggs, I bet you or I do so with a spoon made of steel. What happens when the steel meets the egg is…the egg gives, and we eat it. When a posh person such as Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson (no really) eats an egg, he does it with a literally silver spoon. Or, if you’re just bougie, silver plate. And what happens when silver meets egg is, the silver reacts with the sulfur compounds in the egg and a really revolting gas is released.

So, the reason BoJo doesn’t like boiled eggs is, class privilege. I say we don’t tell him, and we keep all the nicely boiled and poached eggs to ourselves.

Dining privilege has its own pitfalls, Boris. Take note.

When you fly too close to the sun, you can get burned, as Canadian politicians routinely find out.

This is a Covid briefing post. It’s about a pandemic. Stick with me here.

Oh wait, speaking of tangents…

We are still in obedience to our arbitrarily though not randomly chosen naming convention of mystery. Today we are Sunburn, both in adherence to that convention (although we are 99% unconventional here normally ((but not conventionally))) and because we have been forgetting the sunscreen before heading out with Buddy to catch some Pokemon, and it takes better than an hour to hit all the Pokestops in the neighbourhood.

Buddy found one

And maybe also for some other politically resonant resons.

So far in this series we have had:

Covid briefing. Right, right. Focus.

Let’s dive right in. Here’s our CPAC video:

On Parliament Hill, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the federal government’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) pandemic. He is joined virtually by Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, as well as Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, and Brigadier-General Krista Brodie, the vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada and head of the country’s vaccine distribution efforts.

And our Bingo cards, ten and counting. New one coming whenever I can be arsed which is anyone’s bet these days:

It’s that darn blue/grey suit so mark both the blue and grey suit squares. Who can tell on this monitor? At least we don’t have brown shoes with this suit, thank all the Powers That Be which, in fairness and in this context at least, have to include Justin Trudeau. But maybe not for long.

And mark these squares: vaccine, facial hair, someone appears via video, and do we have a square for “needs a haircut, because is well off into Kpop band territory?” Mark: begins in English and “First Nations” for the mention of the residential school tragedy and so much more. And now we’re off to “Shades Harper” for what he’s done to FN people. Also mark “vocal malfunction” for the throat-clearing.

Don’t think my French has gotten any better this year, but my ability to appear engaged while nodding silently has really levelled up, and that’s the important thing.

Are we not doing “First Nations” anymore? Are we doing “Indigenous Peoples” now?

Mark “We have your back” and also do I have a square for “Claims the government supports are here for people but my CRB is still on hold from last year?”

But I’m over that.

Mark “Pfizer” of course, and do I have a square for “Shades AstraZeneca and Moderna?” Because that one would be active, if only by implication, because being passive-aggressive is what Canadian politics is all about. There’s your “Moderna” square and please, after all these numbers coming your way, let NOT ONE reporter ask about vaccine supply today.

Mark your “technical difficulties” square because Anand is breaking up a little bit, and now we are talking horserace statistics about our position in the G7 and G20 re: how many citizens have been vaccinated relative to other countries. Which, I’m not running for office and likely neither are you, so what do we care? We care about second doses and first doses and we really, honestly don’t give a rat’s ass about Germany or Belgium, however much we stan Angela Merkel.

Dr. Tam gives you your Dr Tam square and also the best square, cases are down. Number of cases in hospital is down 47% since the peak of the Third Wave.

I don’t know who is texting me while I’m livetweeting but STOP THAT! “Immunity in your community” is the new catchphrase? Okay, I’ll put it on the list for the next card, however retro-cheesy it may be. And is, Possums. It is.

Dr. Njoo gives you the “not wearing glasses” square. Isn’t that exciting? You can mark your “I make a coffee and forget it in the kitchen” square even tho it was only iced coffee. Let it never be said I tried to cover things up on a technicality.

Mark your “sign language interpreter swapped out.” She may be a brigadier general, but it’s not helpful when she looks really nervous on camera when she’s part of a pandemic briefing. She’s got that “holy shit if you only knew” look and that’s … not great. In a B movie, she’d be eaten by the monster early on.

Oh yes, mark your “Mask” and “Maple Leaf” square and “Third wave” in French. Well, it’s an X, it’s the same in English as in French.

“From the very beginning” square is active (is that the second time?) as Trudeau answers Dylan Robertson’s question about coordination & federal involvement in finding burial sites at residential schools. And he says “we will wait to be guided by Indigenous Peoples” basically, and yes, I am paraphrasing.

Followup: re Catholic Church refusing to divulge records on residential schools. This gets you Meaningful Pause and “Thousand Yard Stare” and “gesticulates” squares and “Shades Pope and Church” which isn’t a square but holy shitballs, absolutely should be for this briefing and hopefully for many, many more.

As many as it takes, I say.

I did not have a square for Trudeau responds to a text during the questions from the media, but perhaps I should. And the new question is about a class action suit re: residential schools and why it’s ruled out by the government. “We are not fighting Indigenous kids in court” says Trudeau. Mark “from the very beginning” again. He says that those people are worthy of compensation and WILL be compensated (but doesn’t say in court).

There was too much noise to hear the question, but you can mark the “drinks water” square. Ah, sounds like another question about the Catholic church and releasing the documents. Trudeau is bully pulpit-ing as hard as I’ve ever heard him. Surprising. You’d think this close to an election he’d be pandering to the Catholic vote, which is essential in Quebec and influential everywhere else. But no, you get “As a Catholic myself” and then a firm smackdown. Impressive.

Kevin Gallagher gets you the “Paper straightening” square. He asks about what tools Trudeau is going to use to pressure the Catholic church, which Trudeau evades and brings the discussion around to how his government is working with FN peoples.

Trudeau actually uses the word “redemption” and aims it squarely at the Catholic church, implying they could redeem themselves by releasing those documents on residential schools.

Shots! Fired!

Good question from CBC about how comfortable Trudeau is with things named after Ryerson and MacDonald, and Trudeau gives an ironic smile (this is a GenX invention, it didn’t exist before 1970, you can look it up, and also mark your GenX square) and says that the past has impacts on the present right now and we need awareness that is nuanced, informed, understanding. And mark “touches face” square, a relic from the days we were all sure doing that would kill us all.

As to why there are [FN people] who distrust government, it’s obvious why…that’s why there’s nothing I can say that suddenly makes everything right. It involves individual choices and collective choices, but most of all it involves action. I don’t begrudge anyone their grief, skepticism, impatience. I feel that impatience too.

Justin Trudeau

There is so much good stuff in this off the cuff speech about #reconciliation that I’m going to go back afterwards and do my best to transcribe it. Stand by for action! Once it’s done I’ll cross out this paragraph so you’ll know it’s complete.

Here it is:

Let me first be very clear we are not fighting indigenous kids in court uh regardless of what political opponents may say. uh we have been working clearly and collaboratively with indigenous organizations and leadership across the country on the harm that has been done over the past many years to far too many indigenous kids now adults in the child and family services system.

[Mark “Feels parents’ pain” square.]

We have recognized from the very beginning [Mark that square again] that those Canadian — those indigenous peoples are worthy of compensation and we will be compensating them. The questions and discussions ongoing with the communities and the and the leadership is about what the right level of compensation and for different groups and different communities are … and those conversations are ongoing but more than just compensations for wrongs of the past years, we also need to make sure we’re moving forward on changing the system that led to indigenous kids over the past few years continuing to be taken from their communities taken from their languages, from their cultures.

That is unacceptable, and that’s why over the past years we worked with indigenous communities, indigenous leadership, on reforming child and family services so that indigenous communities could take care of their kids who are at risk, to put indigenous language, indigenous culture, and indigenous teachings at the centre of child and family services. That was what Bill C-92 did, which was passed last year in partnership with indigenous communities, and something that we are continuing to work on now to not just compensate for the past but to make a change for now and the future, to make sure that kids are supported by community by language, by culture, even in difficult moments.

Reporter: respectfully Mr Prime Minister, there’s some who might disagree with you. In 2000, last September actually, you said that you would not fight certification and then kind of went back on it, and said that you want to exclude victims between 1991 and 2007. So these are families…not adult children. They suffered, or some have died, while waiting for Canadian government to provide services. But they’re legally obligated to, so, especially with the recent discovery in Kamloops and 215 children in the graves, um kids, are — to this day kids are still in danger and some may say that this is an ongoing site. As an act of quote unquote reconciliation can you commit to the justice department to include these people in the class action settlement talks?

First of all you bring up exactly the right point, James, that the ongoing removal of kids from their communities to live with foster families, to go to other other cities or towns where they lose their culture, they lose their language, they lose their identity needs to stop. That’s why we have moved forward to co-develop legislation with indigenous peoples called C-92 to make sure that child and family services systems across the country, and this of course involves significantly provincial areas of jurisdiction [Mark “Pushes responsibility to provinces”] but to get kids, indigenous kids, out of the provincial system and into a system that is centred in their own culture, their own language, their own communities.

This is at the the heart of the colonial legacy that Canada has built, whether it was residential schools, or whether it is the current articulation of that, with kids removed from communities quote unquote for their own good because they’re at risk…

That’s unacceptable, and that is something that since the beginning in 2015 we started working on. And we got to a place where we passed ground-breaking legislation to put control over kids at risk back into indigenous communities to keep them safe, but also to keep them centred in their language and their cultures.

That is the path that we have taken, and there is much more work to do, but we have made significant changes to make sure that going forward we don’t see the kind of trauma, kind of loss, kind of abuse that unfortunately has been all too common in the past, and not the distant past. #ven the recent past of years and .decades

Tonda MacCharles: Prime Minister, the federal government has in its possession in its various archives documents that were generated both by the federal government and the churches, and these are documents that indigenous-led groups that are trying to help people and communities like Kamloops get to the bottom of the unmarked burials. They say those documents are key. You say it’s up to Catholics to pressure the church to release those documents. You have, your government has, the documents and copies of many of them. Why not rescind any agreements that give the churches or the oblates or any other group a say in their release? Why not compel disclosure?

I think if if it is necessary we will take stronger measures but I think the pressure that we’ve seen by many Catholics like myself over the course of the past many days, wondering why the Catholic church in Canada is silent, is not stepping up, is not showing the leadership that is quite frankly supposed to be at the core of our faith of forgiveness, of responsibility, of acknowledging truth.

These are things that I am very hopeful that the Catholic church will very soon change its approach on, and if it doesn’t, as you say Tonda, we have tools that we can use.

Because truth is at the heart of understanding our past and preventing further damage to the future. That’s why it was called the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and we need to have truth before we can talk about justice, healing, and reconciliation.

Kevin Gallagher, CTV National News (he always remembers to say it this way, which is why he’s a pro and I’m just a blogger with A Roommate): I just want to follow up on Tonda’s question. So you know you say that you, the government, has the tools to compel these documents, and you say if it’s necessary you will. Well how come now is not necessary? What are you waiting for?

Obviously I’m not going to get into the the details of, you know, what tools and what processes and what documents. Let me talk about the the basic principles. We have committed as a country to revealing the truth, to sharing the truth, to allowing access to the truth, first and foremost so communities can understand what happened to their loved ones and grieve them and mourn them, and perhaps bring them home. These are the things that are most important for Canadians and for Canada right now. And our role in ensuring that that happens is one that we take very seriously and we will be there to ensure that the truth is known.

[Mark your “Have faith in the system” square]

Now before we have to start taking the Catholic church to court I am very hopeful that religious leaders will understand that this is something they need to participate in and not hide from. That forgiveness and redemption is a path that we all are told we should be walking on through our faith, and I am confident that the Catholic church is hearing these calls very clearly, and is understanding the kind of dismay and grief that many Canadians are feeling right now at seeing the continued lack of action.

Trudeau’s getting texts alerting him when he has to leave to go vote. That’s what that is. #whatatimetobealive we used to have actual human pages for that. Pages have been replaced by apps. Does that make it a gig economy job?

What does Ray Kurzweil have to say about that? Won’t Somebody Think Of The Underemployed Children Of The Aristocracy?

Camera DID follow Trudeau out of the room, but they weren’t talking at the time because by now they all know the camera won’t be on them.

Interesting question for Dr Tam about sequencing and what it can tell us about the spread of the delta variant in particular. It’s more transmissible than the alpha, which is troubling. In under-vaccinated populations that variant could well take off dangerously.

Dr Tam reiterates that two doses is better than one. Look, we’ll be happy to get the second dose if we can just dig it out of the back of Doug Ford’s beer fridge at the cottage, where he’s hoarding it.

Kevin Gallagher asks about the US study of teenage boys getting heart inflammation with the Pfizer shot. Dr. Tam replies that the study is international and a small number of second dose recipients of mRNA vaccine get a generally mild illness, with, at worst, a short hospital stay. Dr. Tam says they are trying to determine if the sickness is caused by the vaccine or just correlated with it. She says in Canada very few younger people have had two doses at this point, so the danger is mostly theoretical at this point.

Good question on when we will know the pandemic is actually over. Will we need to wait for the WHO to announce it? Dr Tam says a pandemic is a global phenomenon so Canada can’t possibly unilaterally declare it over.

Dr. Tam says we’re looking forward to a relatively safer time, rather than a completely Covid-free time. We need to keep an eye on the number of cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and “Death is a more long term indicator” which, YEAH you could say that. Hard to argue with that one.

Dr Tam says there will be continuing outbreaks that will tend to occur in undervaccinated pockets of the community, and if they’re more communicable variants, that will also be a factor in how quickly we can put the sternest of these restrictions behind us.

Good lord, they took another soldier off the Covid vaccine task force, this time for a racist comment. This is what you get when you actively recruit from the likes of Proud Boys and other bigotry-forward groups. We have got to do better than this. As I’ve said before, when a system has systemic bigotry whether sexism, racism, or any other ism, the leaders of the system tend more to be exemplars of those systemic problems than rebels against them.

Okay, time to collate all this and get transcribing. Post should be up 2:30ish unless the Roommate’s movie starts back in with the loud opera, in which case I’ll have to dispose of his body first and that takes time. Oh, this is so helpful to my work process. There is a lengthy catheter-changing scene in The Roommate’s movie. Last time he watched this scene I was trying to eat noodles. It did not go well.

Well, not for everyone.

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