Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate

Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate
Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate
Formation 1978
Type Student debating organization
Location Flag of Canada.svg Canada
President Ashvin Singh
University of Toronto
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 Debating Association (APDA)".[6]

Many prominent Canadians were university debaters, including former Canadian Prime Ministers Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney, songwriter Leonard Cohen, entrepreneur Moses Znaimer, environmentalist David Suzuki, and journalist Ian Hanomansing. CUSID debaters have gone on to notable careers in business, government and academia.



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, and Queen's University 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.


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.[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.

Office Term President University
2011–2012 Ashvin Singh University of Toronto
2010–2011 Auyon Siddiq Dalhousie University
2009–2010 Vinay Kumar Mysore[14] McGill University
2008–2009 Adam Coombs Carleton University
2007–2008 Nick Shkordoff[15] University of Toronto
2006–2007 Padraic Ryan Carleton University
2005–2006 Jessica Prince[16] McGill University
2004–2005 Erik Eastaugh[17] University of Ottawa
2003–2004 Konrad Koncewicz[18] McGill University
2002–2003 T.J. (Tajesh) Adhihetty[19] Queen's University
2001–2002 Kevin Massie Trent University
2000–2001 Ranjan K. Agarwal[20] University of Ottawa
1999–2000 Robert Silver[21] University of Western Ontario
1998–1999 Michael Shore University of Toronto
1997–1998 Brent Patterson University of Western Ontario
1996–1997 Casey Halladay[22] University of Western Ontario
1995–1996 Mitch Wexler York University
1994–1995 Shuman Ghosemajumder University of Western Ontario
1993–1994 Kathy Sturgis University of Guelph
1992–1993 Gerald Butts McGill University
1992-1992 Sarah Dover University of Ottawa
1991–1992 Jason Brent University of Toronto
1990–1991 Stephen Pitel[23] Dalhousie University
1989–1990 E. Stephen Johnson University of Toronto
1988–1989 Todd Swift Concordia University
1986–1988 Matthew Mendelsohn McGill University
1984–1986 Paul A. Canniff Carleton University
1983–1984 Bob Lawson Royal Military College of Canada
1980–1983 John Robinson Dalhousie University
1979–1980 Sandy Beeman University of Ottawa
1978–1979 Steve Coughlan[24][25] University of Ottawa

Member societies

CUSID comprises over forty member societies:[26]

Region University Member Society
Central Bishop's University Bishop’s University Debating Society
Central Carleton University Carleton University Debating Society
Central Dawson College Dawson Debating Union
Central École Polytechnique de Montréal Société de Débat Étudiant de Polytechnique
Central University of Guelph University of Guelph Debating Society
Central Lakehead University Lakehead University Debate Society
Central Marianopolis College Marianopolis College Debating Society
Central McGill University McGill Debating Union
Central McMaster University MacDebate Society
Central University of Ottawa University of Ottawa English Debating Society
Central University of Ottawa Société Étudiante des Débats Français de l’Université d’Ottawa
Central Queen’s University Queen’s Debating Union
Central Royal Military College of Canada Royal Military College Debate Society
Central Université du Québec à Montréal Club de débats UQÀM
Central Université de Sherbrooke Société de débat de l’Université de Sherbrooke
Central University of Toronto Hart House Debating Club
Central University of Toronto Trinity College Literary Institute
Central University of Waterloo University of Waterloo Debating Society
Central University of Western Ontario University of Western Ontario Debating Society
Central Wilfrid Laurier University Wilfrid Laurier University Debating Society
Central York University Osgoode Debate Society
Central York University Debating Society at York
East Acadia University Paul Tom Debating Society
East Atlantic Baptist University Atlantic Baptist University Debating Club
East Cape Breton University Cape Breton University Debating Society
East Dalhousie University Sodales, The Dalhousie University Debating Society
East Memorial University Memorial Debate Society
East Mount Allison University Mount Allison University Debate Society
East University of New Brunswick University of New Brunswick Debating Union
East St. Francis Xavier University St. Francis Xavier Debating Society
West University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolf Speech and Debate
West University of Alberta University of Alberta Debate Society
West Brandon University Brandon University Debating Society
West University of British Columbia University of British Columbia Debating Society
West University of Calgary University of Calgary Speech and Debate Society
West University of Manitoba University of Manitoba Debate Union
West University of Regina University of Regina Debate Society
West University of Saskatchewan University of Saskatchewan Debate Society
West Simon Fraser University Simon Fraser University Debating Society
West University of Victoria University of Victoria Debating Society
West University of Winnipeg University of Winnipeg Debating Society


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.


  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. ^ Dalhouse hosts national debating championships
  10. ^ APDA Web - Home of the American Parliamentary Debate Association | American College Debate Association - About
  11. ^ North American Debating Championship Memorandum of Understanding
  12. ^
  13. ^ Past Executive | CUSID
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ The Debaters' Council: Jessica Prince and Alex Campbell to visit Sri Lanka
  17. ^ Tabaret: The magazine of the University of Ottawa
  18. ^ CUSID Fall 2003 General Meeting Agenda
  19. ^ 2002-2003 President’s Final Report: TJ (Tajesh) Adhihetty | CUSID
  20. ^[dead link]
  21. ^ Silver-Powers - The Globe and Mail
  22. ^ Casey W. Halladay | McMillan
  23. ^ The University of Western Ontario - Western Law
  24. ^ Golden Key: Dalhousie University
  25. ^ Archived September 19, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Directory | CUSID

External links

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