Canada celebrates another successful round of the elaborate political game: Electionball

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This morning Canadians awoke to find that they had successfully enacted another round of their esoteric national pastime: Electionball. Electionball has long been viewed as a distinctly Canadian affair which follows an archaic and elaborate set of rules and expectations that are inscrutable to outside eyes. Canadians are raised from a young age to successfully partake in the ritual which requires mastery over a unique series of aptitudes including bluffing, arbitrariness, and dedication. Over the past several instances they have seen great success, as the cosmopolitan country of many diverse communities continues to come together to meet the elusive target. 

The point of Electionball is to elect a minority government with as few seats changing hands as possible. Electionball takes place a minimum of once every five years, which is commonly referred to as an “inning.” An inning is over once an Electionball is finished and at that point the clock resets and the country’s leadership has another five years to call an Electionball. 

Our local Canadian expert, Scottie Emery, who has a Masters in Electionball from the University of Waterloo, explains further: “Canadians always need to be prepared to play Electionball. It can happen at any time and once an Electionball is called it can be completed in as little as 35 days. So Canadians need to be able to think quick on their feet”

Electionball (called ‘“Ball” by locals) is a delicately balanced team game, and so either everybody wins or everybody loses at each rendition. Losing is considered a national disgrace but winning is only half the battle since each win is then assigned a score at full-time. Canadians win Electionball when they elect a minority government but there are several ways to get bonus points to increase the score. For instance, bonus points are earned when the party with the most votes fails to win the most seats in parliament. Similarly, points are distributed on a sliding scale if one province votes overwhelmingly for a party that isn’t represented anywhere else in the country.

Critics have noted that Electionball is all about balance. The objective is continuity, and to keep things exactly as they are, so an extraordinary amount of effort goes into creating counter-intuitive rules that force voters into a complicated series of mental gymnastics and curious voting patterns. 

“‘Ball is inspired by democratic traditions in other Western countries,” Scottie adds, “but in Canada we do it differently. It works like this: cities have to vote red while rural counties should vote blue, some places get to vote orange unless they are in Quebec in which case they must vote for the light blues who only speak French. Regular blues stick to the prairies because that’s all they see in the sky but if you are on the coast then you are team red because red reminds you of lobsters. People who live in British Columbia get the privilege of voting green or doing whatever the hell they want because it really doesn’t matter. You get more bonus points if you switch teams but only if another riding switches to your old team so it’s an even trade and if a party leader loses in their own riding you can times the final score by three.”

Aside from the complexity of the scoring system there is also a distinctly idiosyncratic way that Canadians play Electionball. According to Scottie, “Although the game reaches fever pitch on it’s final day, which we call ‘National Civic Duty Day,’ Electionball is being played everyday by citizens all over the country. Once an Electionball is called and the inning draws towards a close, citizens take part by chirping the leaders of the other teams and referencing thoughtful proverbs like ‘enough is enough,’ ‘this guy is running the country into the ground,’ and ‘what about the logging industry, eh?“ Since the game is partly about bluffing, another way for people to get involved is to badmouth their own team leader by referencing their lack of commitment to the indigenous peoples, the way the(ir) police treat protesters, and note how many times they have dressed up as different ethnicities. This hopefully spooks other voters into remaining loyal to their last team.

Lots of Electionball happens online these days and social media is an active space as voters ignore party platforms and launch playful ad hominem attacks on people they’ll grab a beer with next week, unless the person is anti-vax in which case they have probably been quietly blocked and blacklisted from future in-person interactions” 

Returning to this most recent success, celebrations were held all over Canada in the form of hi-fives/ finger guns, sharing memes on Facebook, and apologising to those who wanted a higher score. Families rejoiced as the status quo was upheld and a favorable score of 37 was achieved, which measures one of the best in Canada’s history. While some critics opposed the cost of the latest affair, especially considering its proximity to the last round of Electionball, others have waved away the criticism since Electionball is the single most important thing to Canadians apart from winning the Stanley Cup or being better than the USA at something.

Overall, Electionball continues to be a favourite in Canada but it has yet to emerge globally as a viable competitor to games like Whackbat or Calvinball which entertain billions in the over-elaborate games category.

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