Laurier Debating Society finds competition strong

Last weekend, members from the Laurier Debating Society competed in the National Championships for Intercollegiate Debate held at the University of British Columbia.

Two teams represented Laurier. Members of Laurier’s first team, James Spaester and Jordan Schmidt, placed 36th out of 52 teams, whereas members of the second team, Kira Misiewicz and Peter Li, placed 50th out of 52 teams.

Members stayed to watch the finals where Ian Freeman and current national champion Richard Lizius from the University of Toronto won first place.

“This year we didn’t fare as well. Competition was tough,” said Spaester, president of the Laurier Debating Society.

Laurier competed in five rounds, debating on topics such as arranged marriage, foreign aid and euthanasia.

“We were each first propositioned twice on international relations topics, which are generally considered harder,” said Misiewicz, vice-president of marketing and communications for the Laurier Debating Society.

Schmidt explains that being first propositioned, meaning the first to speak, can be difficult.

“Statistically, first propositioned is most likely to lose the debate just because they’re the first two people to speak and then there’s two teams of opposition to kind of rip apart what they’ve said and then a second team of government who has had more time to prepare,” explained Spaester.

“First propositioned is the toughest spot you can get.”

Team members also felt that Laurier faced stronger competition due to this year’s venue location.
Schools part of the central division for the Canadian University Society for Intercollegiate Debate (CUSID), located in Quebec and Ontario, sent fewer teams as a result of the far distance.

“This year, the competition was harder because it was further away so that people from central were only going to send their very best teams,” said Misiewicz.

While the team members had hoped to place higher, Misiewicz explains the tournament was great practice for future competitions.

“It was good training though, we sent a second team this year because we wanted to also gain experience for the future tournaments such as world’s [which is] being held in Turkey this December.”

The Laurier Debating Society will continue to practice weekly until they send two teams to the World University Debating Championship in Turkey from Dec. 26 to Jan. 4.

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