Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate

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Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate
Formation 1978
Type Student debating organization
Cassandra Cervi
University of Western Ontario
Affiliations World Universities Debating Council

The Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID generally, and SUCDI in French) is the national organization which governs all competitive university debating and public speaking in Canada.[1][2][3][4] It sanctions several official annual tournaments and represents Canadian debating domestically and abroad. Its membership consists of student debating unions, sanctioned by their respective universities, from across Canada.[5] CUSID has been described as "a student-run, parliamentary debate league with close ties to the American Parliamentary Debate Association".[6]

Many prominent Canadians were university debaters, including Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, MP John Godfrey, Canadian Supreme Court justices Ian Binnie and Morris Fish, songwriter Leonard Cohen, entrepreneur Moses Znaimer, environmentalist David Suzuki, and journalist Ian Hanomansing. CUSID debaters have gone on to notable careers in law, business, government and academia and the presidency of the organization is a highly sought-after position.


CUSID was officially founded in 1978, although it held its first annual tournament in 1977.[7] The regular tournaments held under its auspices, such as those at the University of Toronto, McGill University, the University of Western Ontario, Queen's University, and the University of Ottawa predate CUSID's formation by many decades.

Founded as a national organization with strong central Canadian region roots, over the years, individual regional differences—particularly the separate identities of "CUSID East" and "CUSID West"—have become more pronounced. One of its primary functions is facilitating communications between its members institutions. In recent years, those communications have been primarily through their online forum, CUSIDnet, first set up in 1994, as the first online student debating forum in the world.

Annual invitational tournaments held in Canada include the McGill University Winter Carnival, the Queen’s University Chancellor’s Cup, the Carleton University Lord Dorchester Cup, the University of Toronto Hart House IV,[8] the University of Ottawa Father Guindon Cup, and the Wilfrid Laurier University/University of Waterloo Seagram Cup.


Presidents of CUSID
Term President University
2017–2018 Cassandra Cervi


2016–2017 Mitchell Dorbyk Queen's
2015–2016 Mo Niaz Carleton
2014–2015 Brent Schmidt Western
2013–2014 Meghan Ackland Carleton
2012–2013 Louis Tsilivis[9] Toronto
2011–2012 Ashvin Singh Toronto
2010–2011 Auyon Siddiq Dalhousie
2009–2010 Vinay Mysore[10] McGill
2008–2009 Adam Coombs Carleton
2007–2008 Nick Shkordoff[11] Toronto
2006–2007 Padraic Ryan Carleton
2005–2006 Jessica Prince[12] McGill
2004–2005 Erik Eastaugh[13] Ottawa
2003–2004 Konrad Koncewicz McGill
2002–2003 Tajesh Adhihetty[14] Queen's
2001–2002 Kevin Massie Trent
2000–2001 Ranjan Agarwal[15] Ottawa
1999–2000 Robert Silver[16] Western
1998–1999 Michael Shore Toronto
1997–1998 Brent Patterson Western
1996–1997 Casey Halladay[17] Western
1995–1996 Mitch Wexler York
1994–1995 Shuman Ghosemajumder Western
1993–1994 Kathy Sturgis Guelph
1992–1993 Gerald Butts McGill
1992-1992 Sarah Dover Ottawa
1991–1992 Jason Brent Toronto
1990–1991 Stephen Pitel[18] Dalhousie
1989–1990 Stephen Johnson Toronto
1988–1989 Todd Swift Concordia
1986–1988 Matthew Mendelsohn McGill
1984–1986 Paul Canniff Carleton
1983–1984 Bob Lawson RMC
1980–1983 John Robinson Dalhousie
1979–1980 Sandy Beeman Ottawa
1978–1979 Steve Coughlan[19] Ottawa

CUSID is subdivided into three regional bodies, representing each region of Canada:

  • CUSID Central, for Ontario and Quebec, which sponsors the Central Canadian Debating Championship (Léger Cup)
  • CUSID East, for the Atlantic Provinces, which sponsors the Atlantic Canadian Debating Championship
  • CUSID West, for the Western Provinces, Territories, and the U.S. state of Alaska, which sponsors the Western Canadian Debating Championship (McGoun Cup)

CUSID nationally and internationally sanctions several official championship tournaments, including:

The president of CUSID is the head of the organization and leads an elected executive team of six national and regional officers.[24] He or she also represents CUSID and Canadian debating interests inside and outside of Canada, and is the Canadian representative on the World Universities Debating Council. He or she is elected annually by the member institutions at the National Championships.

There have been five CUSID Presidents who won the National Championships during their term as President: Jason Brent (1992), Gerald Butts (1993), Robert Silver (2000), Vinay Mysore (2010), and Louis Tsilivis (2013).


CUSID tournaments are held in the Canadian Parliamentary Style of debate. This style emphasizes argumentation and rhetoric, rather than research and detailed factual knowledge. Each round consists of two teams – the government team and the opposition team – each of which consists of two debaters. Teams alternate between government and opposition at tournaments. The speaking times in CUSID Central and East are:

  • Prime Minister (Constructive): 7 minutes
  • Member of Opposition: 7 minutes
  • Minister of the Crown: 7 minutes
  • Leader of Opposition: 10 minutes
  • Prime Minister (Rebuttal): 3 minutes

A new modification to the above times was introduced at the 2003 McGill University Winter Carnival Invitational called the Prime Minister's Rebuttal Extension (PMRE). The PMRE allows the government team the option to take a 6-minute PMC and 4-minute PMR and was designed to help compensate for the alleged inherent advantage to the opposition side. In most rounds, the resolution is “squirrelable”, meaning that the government team can propose any topic it wants for debate. The Prime Minister Constructive (PMC) lays out the topic for debate and presents arguments in favor of its position. The opposition team must then immediately present opposing arguments. New arguments can be presented in the first four speeches; they are prohibited in the rebuttal speeches.

"Points of Information" are generally permitted and expected in the standard Canadian Parliamentary style. With POIs, debaters may rise and attempt to ask a question of an opposing debater, who can choose whether to accept or refuse the question. It is generally considered good form to accept at least a few questions during a speech.


CUSID comprises more than forty member societies in its three regions:

Central: Bishop’s University Debating Society, Carleton University Debating Society, Dawson Debating Union, Société de Débat Étudiant de Polytechnique, University of Guelph Debating Society, Lakehead University Debate Society, Marianopolis College Debating Society, McGill Debating Union, McMaster Debating Society, University of Ottawa English Debating Society, Société Étudiante des Débats Français de l’Université d’Ottawa, Queen's Debating Union, Royal Military College Debate Society, Club de débats UQÀM, Société de débat de l’Université de Sherbrooke, Hart House Debating Club, Trinity College Literary Institute, University of Waterloo Debating Society, University of Western Ontario Debating Society, Wilfrid Laurier University Debating Society, University of Windsor Debate Union, Osgoode Debate Society, Debating Society at York, Paul Tom Debating Society and most recently, the Trent Debate Society

East: Atlantic Baptist University Debating Club, Cape Breton University Debating Society, Sodales: The Dalhousie University Debating Society, Memorial Debate Society, Mount Allison University Debate Society, University of New Brunswick Debating Union, St. Francis Xavier Debating Society

West: University of Alaska Seawolf Speech and Debate, University of Alberta Debate Society, Brandon University Debating Society, University of British Columbia Debating Society, University of Northern British Columbia Debate Society, University of Calgary Speech and Debate Society, University of Manitoba Debate Union, University of Regina Debate Society, University of Saskatchewan Debate Society, Simon Fraser University Debate Society, University of Victoria Debating Society, University of Winnipeg Debating Society

National Championships[edit]

Year Host Winner Team Top Debater Team Public Speaking Champion Team
2017 McGill Betsy Studholme & Ksenia Podvoiskaia Queen's Ryan Howson Western Cassandra Cervi Western
2016 Alberta Mitchell Dorbyk & Tavish Logan Queen's Mitchell Dorbyk Queen's Janel Comeau Alberta
2015 McGill Sam Greene & Joe McGrade Toronto Julia Kirby Queen's Carmen Reilly Toronto
2014 Dalhousie Julia Kirby & Michelle Polster Queen's Veenu Goswami Toronto Daniel Milton McGill
2013 UBC Veenu Goswami & Louis Tsilivis Toronto Veenu Goswami Toronto Travis Gritter UBC
2012 Osgoode Anisah Hassan & Joshua Stark Toronto Deirdre Casey Toronto Alex Amar McGill
2011 Western Steven Penner & George Trotter Toronto George Trotter Toronto Husein Panju Queen's
2010 Alberta Sophie McIntyre & Vinay Mysore[25] McGill Sean Stefanik McGill Christopher McMillan Calgary
2009 USask Richard Lizius & Paul-Erik Veel Toronto Richard Lizius Toronto Dan Powell RMC
2008 Dalhousie Monica Ferris & Jon Laxer[20] Toronto Richard Lizius Toronto Vinay Mysore McGill
2007 Queen's Adrienne Lipsey & Richard Lizius Toronto Mike Jancik & Jason Rogers McGill Leon Grek McGill
2006 Carleton Ian Freeman & Gaurav Toshniwal Toronto Laura Kusisto Queen's Jason Rogers McGill
2005 Alberta Rahool Agarwal & Michael Kotrly Toronto James Renihan Toronto Ian Freeman Toronto
2004 McGill Emily Cohen & Omar Fairclough York Kevin Massie Queen's Marc Laferriere Ottawa
2003 Dalhousie Greg Allen & Rahim Moloo UBC Kevin Massie UBC Emma Lowman McMaster
2002 UBC Rory McKeown & Aaron Rousseau Toronto Nicola Matthews Queen's Michael Meeuwis Toronto
2001 York Nicola Matthews & Mike Podgorski Queen's Michael Meeuwis Toronto John Whelan Memorial University
2000 Memorial Ranjan Agarwal & Robert Silver Ottawa Robert Silver Ottawa Andrew Zadel McGill
1999 Western Sacha Bhatia & Dena Varah McGill Nathan MacDonald Guelph Duncan Retson Acadia
1998 Alberta Jacob Glick & Grant Yiu Toronto Mike Shore Toronto Melanie Marshall Ryerson
1997 Dalhousie Brent Patterson & Robert Silver Western Casey Halladay Western Marc Field Memorial
1996 Ottawa Allen Middlebro & Jordan Tan Carleton Ron Guirguis Guelph James Clitheroe Carleton
1995 Bishop's Randy Cass & Frank Cesario Toronto Randy Cass Toronto John Bielby Concordia
1994 York Peter Balasubramanian & Gerald Butts McGill David Orr Western Awi Sinha Ottawa
1993 Guelph Peter Balasubramanian & Gerald Butts McGill John Haffner Dalhousie Marc Weber Waterloo
1992 Western Jason Brent & Tom Meehan Toronto Marc Givens Queen's Marc Weber Waterloo
1991 Coast Guard Jason Brent & Tom Meehan Toronto Kevin Whitehouse Ottawa James Rocchi Western
1990 RMC Tim Daley & Laura Stewart Dalhousie Chris Wayland McGill Steven Johnson McGill
1989 Queen's Judy Hearn & Stephen Pitel Carleton Justin MacGregor Toronto Justin MacGregor Toronto
1988 Waterloo Diane Brady & Paul Paton Toronto Mark McKeegan Carleton Chris Chandler McGill
1987 Memorial Matt Colledge & Neil Steinman Queen's Matthew Mendelsohn McGill Mark McKeegan Carleton
1986 UBC Ian Hanomansing & Cyril Johnston Dalhousie Ian Hanomansing Dalhousie Ian Hanomansing Dalhousie
1985 Concordia Doug Cooper & Paul Cooper Toronto Ian Hanomansing Dalhousie Ian Hanomansing Dalhousie
1984 Dalhousie John Duffy & Jeff Nankivell Toronto ? ? ? ?
1983 Victoria Gary Boyd & Michael McCulloch Ottawa Ian Hanomansing Mount Allison ? ?
1982 RMC Dale Darling & Gwynneth Jones Queen's Tom Gough Toronto Sean May Ottawa
1981 Dalhousie Charlie Lavergne & Joe Pollender McGill Joe Pollender ? ? ?
1980 Alberta Gary Boyd & Michael McCulloch Ottawa ? ? ? ?
1979 Queen's Thomas Gough & Michael McCulloch Toronto ? ? ? ?
1978 Ottawa Fred McMahon & Oscar Mullerbeck McGill ? ? ? ?



  1. ^ Meany, John and Shuster, Kate. On That Point!: An Introduction to Parliamentary Debate. International Debate Education Association, 2003. ISBN 978-0-9720541-1-9. Page 318.
  2. ^ Howe, Brendan. An Introduction to English Language Debate in Asia. Ewha Womans University Press, 2005. ISBN 978-89-7300-631-1. Page 86.
  3. ^ Shuster, Kate. Art, Argument, and Advocacy: Mastering Parliamentary Debate. International Debate Education Association, 2002. ISBN 978-0-9702130-7-5. Page 334.
  4. ^ Bartsch, Tim-Christian; Hoppmann, Michael; Rex, Bernd. Was ist Debatte?: ein internationaler Überblick. Göttingen Cuvillier, 2005. ISBN 978-3-86537-477-6. Page 132.
  5. ^ Freely, Austin and Steinberg, David. Argumentation and Debate. Wadsworth Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-495-09590-3. Page 475.
  6. ^ Rogers, Jack. Transforming debate: the best of the international journal of forensics. International Debate Education Association, 2002. ISBN 978-0-9702130-1-3. Page 141.
  7. ^ Debaters find bit of arrogance can be benefit,86433
  8. ^ World Debating Website: Hart House BP Invitational
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ The Debaters' Council: Jessica Prince and Alex Campbell to visit Sri Lanka
  13. ^ Tabaret: The magazine of the University of Ottawa
  14. ^ 2002-2003 President’s Final Report: TJ (Tajesh) Adhihetty | CUSID
  15. ^
  16. ^ Silver-Powers - The Globe and Mail
  17. ^ Casey W. Halladay | McMillan
  18. ^ The University of Western Ontario - Western Law
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b Dalhouse hosts national debating championships
  21. ^ APDA Web - Home of the American Parliamentary Debate Association | American College Debate Association - About
  22. ^ North American Debating Championship Memorandum of Understanding
  23. ^
  24. ^ Past Executive | CUSID
  25. ^ McGill Wins CUSID Nationals

External links[edit]