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U of O plays host to Canada-wide debate tournament

Jesse Mellott | Fulcrum Staff

The championship for the central division title of the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID) took place March 8–10. The University of Ottawa English Debating Society (EDS) hosted the Léger Cup as participating schools fought for first place in CUSID’s central division.

CUSID is divided into regional sections: east, west, and central.

The eastern division includes the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island; Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia make up the west; and Ontario and Quebec round out the central division.

Kerry Sun, president of the EDS and second-year political science and public administration student at the U of O, explained why the Léger Cup is important.

“Whoever wins the Léger Cup is known as the CUSID central debating champion,” she said. “It is the lead-up to nationals. Every division hosts one tournament like this; it’s supposed to be the most competitive of all tournaments this season.”

Sun, who serves as deputy chief adjudicator (DCA), plays an important role in the tournament.

“The chief adjudicator is the one who sets the motions [and] advises debaters of any particular stylistic things that he or she wants for the particular tournament,” Sun said. “So my role as DCA is to assist the chief adjudicator’s duties.”

Hosting the event meant the U of O’s debating society was unable to take part, but they did provide food, beverages, and judges.

Jade Craig-Payette, a second-year U of O student and member of the EDS, was one of the two equity officers and a judge at the tournament. Craig-Payette’s position as equity officer created an outlet for the debaters if they had any complaints.

“Before, I just debated, I never actually judged; so this is going to be my first time judging and serving as an equity officer,” she said. “In case of instances of harassment or discrimination, people can come to me or report to the other equity officer.”

Playing host to a tournament like this requires a lot of time and coordination.

“Tournaments are a pretty comprehensive thing,” Sun said. “We take care of billeting, socials, dinners, stuff like that; it’s an intense experience.”

The tournament’s winners were the Hart House team comprised of University of Toronto students Louis Tsilivis and Auyon Siddiq. They debated the question of which post-secondary extra-curricular was more beneficial to a post-grad career in politics: debate or student government.

After each division has participated in a regional cup, the winners start preparing for the national championships. The 2013 nationals are being held this weekend (March 15–17) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.