Pet Drones, Jason Kenney, and Other Friday Mishaps
We made it through the week, I’m so proud of us. I’m Nour, and I’ll be your tour guide through the Friday Daily Passage. You might remember me from my recent Passage article on psychiatry and carcerality. I’ve also been published in Chatelaine, Hazlitt, Xtra and elsewhere. You can follow me on Twitter @nour_regrets.
Thanks for inviting me into your inbox; I won’t overdo my stay, I just have a few things I think you’ll want to hear about.
COVID-19 testing continues to suck, and the country is staunchly committed to keeping it that way. Ontario teachers are urged to return from retirement, because sending older adults back into the lion’s mouth is a necessary sacrifice. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney wants us to direct our attention away from racism and sexism and toward oil and gas. Plus, Amazon’s response to 2020’s political turmoil is a police informant home security drone. Welcome to the badlands, folks; let’s do this.
Updates in Our Beloved Brain-Probing Ritual
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario officials have been urging anyone who feels like getting their mucous membranes tickled to get tested, regardless of symptomatology. Now, as the flora begins to wilter, so is the province’s laissez-faire attitude. The second COVID-19 wave has been rendering testing centres across the province incapacitated with requests for the probe, spurring frustration, rage and incredulity among those forced to wait — sometimes for hours. Ontario has now joined Alberta in telling asymptomatic people to give the testing centres a wide berth.
The test is, however, going to start moving beyond its comfort zone relatively soon. Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Wednesday that starting today, Ontarians who make an appointment in advance will be able to get tested at up to 60 pharmacies across the province. In order to receive a test at these locations, you’re expected to be asymptomatic. The disabled and elderly, who are especially susceptible to infection and require access to these pharmacies for their medications, couldn’t be reached for comment. We’re sure they’re all busy celebrating this decision.
Half a year after the government swore up and down that rapid testing would soon be available, it’s still nowhere to be seen. Health Canada has let us know that at least 14 rapid-testing devices are “under review”, but won’t tell us what, exactly, that means. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has formally stated that we need to chill out about this and stop pressuring them. We’ll get there when we get there, they say, while new daily cases surpass 1,100 again.
Retirement as a Temporary Stage Between Labour and Labour
School is back in Ontario, and through the pandemonium one thing is clear: it isn’t working very well. To soothe our nervousness around dozens of screaming and spitting children crowding into rooms together for six hours a day, desks were pushed a little bit apart, and classroom sizes were implemented that have often been exceeded. This has exacerbated a timeless problem: there aren’t enough teachers.
Instead of encouraging an expansion of the workforce by, say, bettering working conditions and pay, the solution floated by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) is an appeal to magnanimity. The OCT has sent a letter to former and retired teachers, urging them to please, please think of the children. If they want to end their retirement early and spend their day exposing their infection-vulnerable selves to tiny creatures incapable of understanding sanitation protocols, they’re in luck.
Jason Kenney Is Tired of Hearing That He’s a White Man
Kenney responded to the Throne Speech in an expectedly baffling way for Canada’s darling of the alt-right. Continuing to fan the Wexit flame by upholding the characterizations of the ‘practical, everyman’ Western Canada and the ‘frivolous, dandyish’ Eastern Canada, Kenney railed against the Throne Speech for distracting the populace through its emphasis on racism and women.
“There was space for every bright shiny object, every possible political distraction. Kooky academic theories like intersectionality found their way into yesterday’s throne speech,” says Kenney in a bumbling, impassioned response. To reiterate for a moment: intersectionality is a framework explicated by lawyer and critical race theorist Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, who advanced it as a way to explain the particular systematic barriers faced by Black women like herself. Through an intersectional lens, we can understand how positions of race, gender, class, sexuality and ability intersect, and what this means for how we move through the world.
Kenney’s inner-circle chump Matt Wolf prefers Ben Shapiro’s definition, though. The Director of Issues Management provided us with a helpful insight into Kenney’s thought processes by tweeting out a PragerU clip after the premier’s criticisms, in which Shaprio explains intersectionality as a hierarchy where your opinion is more important the further away you are from a straight white male. For all that society purports to silence white men, they sure do say a lot of stuff, don’t they?
ICYMI: Soon We Can All Buy House-Broken Robocops for $249.99
This week in fresh hell: Coincidentally coinciding with a year in which the United States has been wracked by political turmoil and fear-mongering, Amazon’s home security business has announced a sparkling new advancement in home security. For a quarter of a thousand U.S. dollars, the union-bashing corporation will send you a cute little drone that flies around your house looking for trouble.
The robot surveys your castle with its high-definition eye, streaming the feed to your phone. If it detects motion, it’ll hover over to that spot and let you know what’s going on. The cool thing about this is that Ring, the subsidiary launching this drone, is well-known for partnering with police departments throughout the country. Amazon has previously been eager and willing to share doorbell-camera footage with the police, but apparently seeing your porch wasn’t enough for them. Now they’d like to come inside, too.
That’s all I wanted to run by you for now; you’re free to go about your day. This is Nour signing off; see you all next week, same time, same place.