Non-Election Election Bingo, Part the First

So, Possums, here we are again. Justin Trudeau has jettisoned the Covid-specific Briefings in favour of popping up all over the country, announcing huge federal investments in the local economy, affordable childcare, and offering to walk your dog and cut your lawn, all of which can’t possibly be motivated by hopes of winning your vote, because he hasn’t called an election yet.

Or rather, since he’s got a minority government, the NDP and CPC would rather die than give him an election at the present time, he hasn’t been ABLE to call an election yet, really.

A very smart person I know said the inevitable election will be October 10, because new MPs won’t be vested in their pensions until October 9, and they would NEVER support a party leader who risked their pensions just because he had a 25-point lead on the nearest competitor.

Time, Possums. It will tell. It’s certainly unlikely until Parliament reconvenes, which isn’t until September. God knows, those cottages need an airing-out after all this time away from them. Ch’yeah, like they haven’t been going all this time. Meanwhile I’ve been sitting in the same chair in the same room since March of last year.

For this first iteration of Non-Election Election Bingo, we’ll be using the old Covid Briefing Bingo cards, so there’s not much of a learning curve. Once I figure out how to edit a PDF I’ll make some non-election-specific cards, but that day, it is not this day. I know you, you can roll with this.

So here is our video, CPAC willing. They were getting a little erratic, towards the end of the Trudeau Covid briefings. French narration over top of the PM talking, audio dropping, not getting the placeholder for the livestream up in time. We shall see. It adds an element of suspense to an otherwise predictable appearance in Brampton, Ontario, that global hub of intrigue and danger.

Mark your “shades Doug Ford” square.
One suspects he does not take ALL the questions. One, in fact, knows this for sure.

Aha, here we are, 45 minutes late. Did he like, walk there or something? Let’s do this. Let us do this motherfucking thing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau make an announcement on housing and takes questions from reporters in Brampton, Ontario. He is joined by Social Development Minister Ahmed Hussen and Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, as well as Brampton-area Liberal MPs Maninder Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, and Sonia Sidhu.

And our cards are here:

ere are our bingo cards:

Going to have to wait till the live event is over, in perhaps another half hour, to laterblog it. Sadly, you can’t just restart the video when it’s actually live, which it is now. Check back later and we’ll get ‘er done for you!

Off the top you can mark several squares. “Starts more than ten minutes late” is obvious. “Technical difficulties” is less obvious, but very real on this end, where my new, super-secure computer, will not open the existing bingo cards. We’re gonna hafta call it from memory, Possums, and my memory ain’t what it used to be, not that it ever was Hot Shit or even Warm Shit.

“On Location” and “Clean shaven” too, which for the longest time I thought we’d never get. In future I need a “in different province from previous day” and you know he’s going to be making up for all that sitting around at home he did for a year and a half. You can also mark your “I make coffee and forget it in the kitchen” square, as per usual. Prolly a good thing anyway, it’s too late in the day for coffee when you’re my age.

Make mine a double ancomm!

Here we go at the 40 minute mark. Pity the journalists who were there promptly, no later than 1:30 pm as per instructions.

We’ve got a summary of the whole speech up on the Prime Minister’s website, which is very useful, and much faster than normal, which is usually 7-24 hours lag time. So that saves me some tedious transcription.

“We know that finding an affordable place to live is a challenge for many Canadians in communities across the country. Today’s announcement is great news for families in Brampton, and the Government of Canada will continue to invest to increase affordable housing options for all Canadians. We will keep working to ensure that everyone can find a place to live, raise their families, and build their future.”

Justin Trudeau, PM of Canada

Feeling generous today, and it’s the blue/grey suit, so gonna give you the “Blue Suit,” the “Grey Suit” AND “Shirtsleeves” squares, because he isn’t wearing the jacket because why would you in this ridiculous heat? And, alas, the dreaded “Brown Shoes With Blue or Grey Suit WHICH IS JUST MORALLY WRONG” square too. Got a tan going on those forearms it seems, but in this climate it doesn’t take much. Speaking of climate the sky is overcast with haze and tinged pink from the wildfires in Northern Ontario. So, that’s happening.

Aha, and it looks like the elbow bump of last year has evolved into a full forearm bump, every so much more collegial and skin-contacty, particularly if one rolls up one’s sleeves. When will we go back to the Obama Terrorist Fist Bump of Yore?

Obama, Now Available in Vanilla
Obama, Now Available in Vanilla

Hey, I had a square for “Hard Hats” didn’t I? Trudeau’s not wearing one but everyone else is. Mark it. Oh, now he’s put it on. And “extras in the background” but I don’t think anyone has been required to stand on a box like they made Freeland do last year.

There’s the photo op where everyone stands at the fence and stares down into the big pit where a building is going to go. And a wave to some civilian out by the road, proper full-arm waving that definitely gives the impression he’s happy to see you. No comment on what he has in his pockets, except that the pants are every so slightly tighter than they were last year. Covid has been hard on all of us.

Mark “Oppressive security presence,” because that guy looks like he could do some oppressing if he felt like it. Cop shoes, they really are A Thing. We have no audio so mark “someone’s on Mute” only it’s everybody. Now we’re all over at another part of the fence with people in high viz vests loooking across the way at Trudeau talking to a blonde woman, and mark your “Someone’s hair is put up” square. No manbuns yet, other than the famous ones in the slightly-too-tight pants.

Camera is on Trudeau while the MP for the area is speaking, come on people. Okay, now they’ve pulled back and we can see Kamal Khera, who gives you the “Every step of the way” square. Is “Bramptonians” a word? I guess she’d know.

Also gives you “Building back better” twice. I think that expression is part of the mandatory G-20 talking points, because Boris and Joe have also been using it a lot. And it must be said that if it existed, this woman would give you the “epic hair” square. Mark your “Vaccine” square too. Oh, there’s “Building back better” again. Now Ahmed Hussen is up, and I don’t know what’s happening offstage left, but mark your square for “Drama occurring offstage.” And Trudeau in the background gives you two “Pushes hair back” so we await the gifs, they should be beautiful.

Hussen gives you “From coast to coast to coast,” so that was nice of him. He’s reviewing the ways the federal government gives money to make housing more affordable, but this particular investment is for developers, and those of us from Vancouver know how that goes: you give them money on the condition they do a certain % of social housing and they start construction and then complain they can’t afford to make the cheaper units, so that condition gets dropped. Call me jaded, but I’ve seen it a hundred times. If you want to house the houseless, give them houses. Don’t give developers money, because they’ll just keep it. Do I count this as “finds new way to give money to Canadians” or do I recognize that developers are international rather than Canadian? I’m gonna say giving it to corporations rather than citizens means that no, you don’t get that square. And probably not affordable housing either.

Trudeau gives you “strenuous nod” when Hussen says that the cost of housing is driving workers farther and farther away from where they have to work. And also “touches face”. Hussen says that housing is a major priority for Trudeau and introduces him.

He starts out by thanking people for following pandemic precautions, and reminds everyone that we passed the US in terms of fully vaccinated people (as a percentage of the population) and reminds people that you DO need a second dose. Mark “Pfizer” and “Moderna” squares.

And yes, “adjusted border measures” he’ll open the border, starting with Americans who’ve been fully vaccinated “in honour of our unique bond, especially between border communities.” It’s been so long I don’t even have a square for “reopens the border,” just one for “reiterates the damn border is staying closed, thankyouverymuch!”

Oh right, “Begins in English” square too. Mark that one.

He begins the announcement today by saluting the people of Brampton for their resilience, specifically citing their MP who went back to work as a nurse during the pandemic. And then goes on to list housing initiatives of his government. Name-checks Freeland, so mark that square. And yes, shout-out to the middle class but then goes on to talk about a grocery store workers, which is about as working class as you get. But in our society, everyone identifies as middle class, even Justin Trudeau.

Now he’s talking about converting vacant commercial space into rental housing, which is a very smart and perfectly timed initiative. I have a friend in commercial real estate and he says everyone is losing their minds, because their whole field is shrinking.

Here are the basics of the announcement:

Quick Facts

  • The Rental Construction Financing Initiative (RCFI) is delivered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).
  • Canada’s NHS is an ambitious, 10-year plan that will invest over $72 billion to give more Canadians a place to call home. Launched in 2017, the NHS is building and repairing thousands of housing units, and helping households with affordability support.
  • Through the RCFI, the Government of Canada is facilitating the construction of more than 71,000 new rental housing units.
  • To help Canadians find affordable housing, Budget 2021 provides $2.5 billion over seven years in new funding, and reallocates $1.3 billion in previously announced funding, to speed up the construction, repair, and support of over 35,000 affordable housing units.
  • As part of the reallocated funding, Budget 2021 allocates $300 million from the RCFI over two years, in 2021-22 and 2022-23, to support the conversion of vacant commercial property into 800 rental housing units. This plan provides an opportunity for property owners and communities to explore converting excess space into rental housing, enhancing the livability and affordability of urban communities.
  • The project announced today is located at 40 Lagerfeld Drive in Brampton, Ontario, and is being developed by The Daniels Corporation and the Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). As one of the largest developers in Canada, The Daniels Corporation has built more than 30,000 homes and condominiums in the Greater Toronto Area over the last 35 years. Choice Properties REIT is one of the largest REITs in Canada.

You get another “Building Back Better” from Kamal Khera, who introduces a hipsterish-looking spokesman for the developer, who seems a little nervous but he might just be melting, because he’s wearing a wool jacket.

Questions are up now. First one sounds from, was it Poynter? No, it’s from Brampton local news site The Pointer, and yay for local journalism! About the money going into housing. And Trudeau gives you “pushes hair back” and “Drinks water” squares. I’m going to give you the “Softball” square because this question gives him the chance to cite all the investments in housing the federal government has made and remind everyone about all the money they put into housing “And that’s why this government continues to step up…” etc and applauds the MPs present and says “there is more to do,” which he generally does. And mark your “Mask” and “Maple leaf accessory” squares. And do I have a “visible perspiration” square? Because mark that one too. Yes, we have that on the second bingo card, so mark it!

It’s much easier to work as a political journalist than to work actually IN politics. Exhibit A:

Another question about unionizing of Amazon workers, and for a NeoLiberal he comes out very strongly for unions and ascribes Canadian prosperity in large part to their work on behalf of the workers.

Excellent question about Canada’s debt to Afghan interpreters who are now targeted by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Trudeau stresses how Canada does indeed owe thanks and more than that to workers on the ground “and we are getting very close to announcing a plan…” and the followup is on how veterans are stepping in and doing their own work to resettle and help the interpreters. And Trudeau responds that the government makes announcements when the announcements are ready, it doesn’t make announcements about when it’ll make announcements. But of course, he just did that.

You can also mark your “Chevelure deteriorates” square, because that’s one hot mess bird’s nest.

Next question is about forced marriage for passport and immigration benefits. Trudeau says “it is a particularly vile practice that fraudulent immigration consultants impose on people…if someone says they can accelerate your case… they are lying to you.” He tells people to check the official government website to protect themselves from criminals. “We will continue to do everything we can to protect vulnerable people around the world form these criminal practices.” He says he has no intention of tightening immigration rules, because immigration is important. “It’s been a long pandemic and quite frankly Canada needs” immigration.”

Oh yes, mark your “Fails to translate the answer into the other official language.” But my French is getting better, because I can follow Trudeau, but Hussen’s French defeats me.

Mark “every step of the way.” Next question is about green energy and why places of worship are not included. And I’m like, do they actually generate energy? Does it go to the grid or only to the worshippers? Unclear. Hmm. You know the Catholic Church alone would look into whether children are considered a “green solution” or a “fossil fuel” but surely burning Catholic clerics would qualify as fossil fuel.

Missed the next question, because I was arguing with WikiLeaks supporters on Twitter about whether Assange is or is not a political genius, but it did contain the word “Donc” so you get to mark that square. Mark your “Heckler” square. Since the Q Fancier encampment by the War Memorial got taken down they’re free-ranging and showing up at these talks.

Mark “every step of the way” and “Building back better” which I believe gives you a bingo on that latter phrase. And on the re-opening question, mark your “From the very beginning” and “Biden” squares. Oh lord, and another “From the very beginning.”

And come to think of it, mark the “gingham” square because the construction worker behind Trudeau is wearing a nice red gingham.

There’s your gesticulation square when he reiterates that everyone needs to get vaccinated.

Interesting that there’s a federal plan for dealing with autism. And mark your “forgets mask” square, although he caught himself.

And that’s a wrap!

Waiting around for the government of Ontario in particular to anticipate and solve your problems is a waste of time. The People can get it done faster and better, so once again one is forced to ask: What is the government for?

Meanwhile, in the US, an armed invader of the Capitol on January 6 gets 8 months.

And greetings to our new readers from Russia! and a message to everyone else.

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