Last weekend marked the opening of the debate season for eager members of our competitive debate team.
Dora, Grade 10, Jenny, Grade 11, and a classmate participated in the four-day Canadian Student Debate Federation National Seminar. The annual conference is tailored to support new debaters, and this year it focused on the theme of “Reconciliation: Making the Calls to Action a Reality.” This seminar was a timely event with the opening ceremony address delivered by Opposition Leader of Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly Wab Kinew on the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The students devoted time to developing private members’ bills in a model parliament session, learning about the process of consensus, gathering information and expertise about case construction in parliamentary debate from Mr. Brian Casey, and gleaning information about courageous consensus-building discussions with Judge David Arnot. Additionally, the students considered the difference between Indigenous and Canadian school systems in a presentation led by Senator Brian Francis from Prince Edward Island. The weekend concluded with two parliamentary debates on the following motion: “This House believes that Canada has an obligation to provide Indigenous peoples with a standard of living equal to the Canadian average.”
Balmoral Hall School’s participants noted that this was a lengthy and valuable weekend that expanded their understanding of Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples and why reconciliation is an important step for the future.
In the junior division of competitive debate, Grade 8 students Lauren and Natalie participated in a virtual tournament hosted by Lower Canada College for the full day on Saturday, October 2.
The tournament consisted of four rounds of parliamentary competition. In the morning, the students debated a prepared motion: “This House would lower the voting age to 14 in Canada.” The afternoon consisted of two different impromptu debate rounds, meaning that competitors had only 20 minutes to prepare their cases before clashing with their opposing team. The team debated that: “This House would ban zoos,” and “This House would institute a one-week social media ban.” Of course, the irony of this final resolution was the scramble and disruption that occurred on Monday when a global internal technical issue left Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram offline for six hours. Imagine an entire week without social media!
Lauren and Natalie clearly made a favourable impression with their judges as they placed 15th overall in the tournament! According to Lauren, this was “an experience to repeat at the next LCC virtual tournament on Saturday, November 6.” After her very first tournament, Natalie commented: “Competing in the tournament was a great start to what I hope will be my long-term involvement with the competitive debate team.”
Congratulations to our debaters for their hard work and excellent results on the weekend!