Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate
Formation1978; 42 years ago (1978)
TypeStudent debating organization
Mehdi Bouchentouf
Carleton University
AffiliationsWorld 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. Until the late 2000s, 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. More recently, communications are conducted through social media platforms such as Facebook.

Annual intervarsity tournaments held in Canada include the McGill University Winter Carnival, the Queen's University Chancellor's Cup and Sutherland IV, 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.

In 2020, for the first time in history, the society was forced to cancel its National Debating Championship due to the risk presented by COVID-19. Other tournaments affected included Carleton's Lord Dorchester Cup, the North American Womxn and Gender Minorities Debating Championship and numerous American tournaments. In July 2020, the National Championship was revived by hosting an online iteration organized by the year's original host institution, the University of Calgary Debate Society.


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 Atlantic, 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.[13] 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 six CUSID Presidents who won the National Championships during their term as President: Jason Brent (1992), Gerald Butts (1993), Robert Silver (2000), Vinay Mysore (2010), Louis Tsilivis (2013), and Harar Hall (2019).

Notable Presidents of CUSID[edit]


Many 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. In the early 2010s the "opposition choice" option was introduced. Rather than presenting the motion as it stands, the Prime Minister lays out the topic and the opposite bench has the option of choosing which side of the motion they would prefer.

"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.

Tournaments are otherwise held in British Parliamentary, sometimes known as WUDC style. Presently, all tournaments for the first semester of the academic year, September–December, use British Parliamentary as the format. This is for teams to prepare for the World University Debating Championship which occurs over New Year's each year. Since its introduction, British Parliamentary has become the more competitive of the two formats, largely because it is the format used for international competition.

National Championships[edit]

Year Host Winner Team Top Debater Team Public Speaking Champion Team
2020 Calgary Deborah Wong & Dhananjay Ashok Toronto Jacob Silcoff McGill Emily Xie Western
2019 Western Harar Hall & Isaac Botham Carleton Harar Hall Carleton Uman Tamann McGill
2018 Queen's William Onyeaju & Cole Bricker Osgoode Kiana Saint-Macary McGill Jacob Silcoff McGill
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[14] 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[9] 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 McGill ? ?
1980 Alberta Gary Boyd & Michael McCulloch Ottawa ? ? ? ?
1979 Queen's Thomas Gough & Michael McCulloch Toronto ? ? ? ?
1978 Ottawa Fred McMahon & Oscar Mullerbeck McGill ? ? ? ?

National Debating Championship By Institution

Institution Championship Wins Top Speakers Public Speaking Wins Years Hosted Last Championship Win
Toronto 19 12 4 0 2020
Queen's 6 6 1 4 2017
McGill 6 6 10 3 2010
Carleton 3 2 2 1 2019
Ottawa 3 2 3 2 2008
Dalhousie 2 3 2 6 1990
Osgoode 1 0 0 1 2018
UBC 1 1 1 3 2003
Western 1 3 3 4 1997
York 1 0 0 2 2004
Mount Allison 0 1 0 0 -
Memorial University 0 0 2 2 -
Alberta 0 0 1 5 -
RMC 0 0 1 2 -
Ryerson 0 0 1 0 -
Calgary 0 0 0 1 -



  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. ^ a b Dalhouse hosts national debating championships
  10. ^ "APDA Web - Home of the American Parliamentary Debate Association | American College Debate Association - About". Archived from the original on 2011-05-23. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
  11. ^ North American Debating Championship Memorandum of Understanding Archived 2011-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2010-05-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Past Executive | CUSID
  14. ^ McGill Wins CUSID Nationals

External links[edit]