National Seminar 2012

The 2012 National Student Debate Seminar was held from Thursday, October 11th to Monday, October 15th, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario. The Seminar was organized by Rudi Lof and Kassie Dwarika of McLeese Debate and hosted mainly at Upper Canada College.

Student and adult delegates agreed that the Seminar was a great success! Students experienced three jam-packed days of debating rounds, workshops, cultural events and fun. Highlights included a Model Parliament at Hart House at the University of Toronto, a banquet at the Sheraton Centre in downtown Toronto, and a visit to the CN tower!


The Seminar gives several annual awards to recognize exceptional student delegates. You can read descriptions and past winners of the Seminar awards at the Seminar history page.

The Tom Lawson award (winners pictured to left), awarded to the student who embodies the spirit of the Seminar:
– Ben Peterson, NB
– Hana Amer, NS

The Speaker’s Citation, awarded to the top parliamentarian in the Model Parliament:
– Raunak Gera, ON
– Honourable mentions: Emily Jackson, SK and Logan Ye, ON

We also awarded several speaker awards for excellence in the mini-tournament:

Weedon award (top speaker): Jyotish Khanna, BC
Chief Justice of Canada award (top bilingual speaker): Jasmyne Kassam, BC
Founders’ Cup awards (top speaker from each province, pictured to right):
– Jyotish Khanna, BC
– Conrad Lowe, AB
– Emily Jackson, SK
– Benjamin Liu, MB
– Logan Ye, ON
– Philip Dubrofsky, QC
– Garret van de Wiel, NS
– Aidan Ingalls, NB
Mini-tournament champions: Jake Reedjik, BC & Aiden Ingalls, NB.


The theme for 2012 was urbanization and mega-cities.

More than 80% of Canadians live in urban environments and the gap between rural and urban citizens grows each year. The fastest growth is within Canada’s largest cities, a trend that exists throughout the world. The trend towards urbanization and megacities poses numerous social, political, environmental and cultural problems.


Friday: Model Parliament
The Model Parliament (pictured to left), held in beautiful Hart House on the U of Toronto campus, featured caucusing and motions based on the Seminar theme of urbanization and mega-cities.

Saturday: Debate and Thematic Workshops
On Saturday, we offered a variety of workshops for Seminar participants to choose from, held at Upper Canada College. Delegates chose among workshops on topics including an introduction to British Parliamentary debate, a bilingual round-table, and a practice debate critiqued by some of the top coaches in the country.

Sunday: Mini-tournament
We wrapped up the Seminar with an exciting mini-tournament at UCC, which consisted of three rounds in British Parliamentary style. Delegates debated on topics including a national cultural identity, parents rights in regards to their childrens’ electronic communications, and the costs and benefits of the Olympics. The top 8 speakers broke to a show final on the topic “This house believes that continuing global urbanization will do more harm than good.”