Team Canada Selection Process

Each year, the CSDF holds a Selection Tournament, the event which selects the members of the Canadian team to attend the World Schools Championships. The selection process involves workshops on the Worlds style of debate, at least six debate rounds, submission of a resume and an interview process.

Each province can send three students to the Selection Tournament. The registration fee is $200 per student and travel to the event is entirely the responsibility of the competitors. Competitors must not be in their final year of high school and successful students attend a training camp during the summer following their selection. Those selected for the team are expected to attend a week-long training camp immediately preceding the World Schools Championship, as well as the Championship itself. Members of the Canadian National team should also expect extensive time commitments for researching topics and communication with the rest of the team. Please keep these requirements in mind when making the decision to try out for the team.

Team Canada 2015 Selection

Selection is currently underway for Team Canada 2015.

For provincial delegates, the application form (doc) is due March 1st. You should only complete and submit this form if you have qualified via your provincial tryout process.

If you have not qualified through a provincial process, you can submit an alternate application form (doc), which we will accept until March 7th. Successful candidates will be notified by March 14th.

Frequently Asked Questions

This list of questions was put together and answered by the Worlds Committee recently tasked with revising the selection process to ensure transparency and accountability while continuing Canada’s pattern of tremendous results. The Worlds committee currently consists of: Tracey-Ann Lee (Chair), Martin Poirier, John Baty, Pardip Chopra, Stephanie Dick, Harold Kyte, John Robinson, and Andrew Rusk. Coaches Josh Judah and Elisa Frank are ex officio members of the committee.

Question Answer
How is information provided in advance of the tryouts to the members and to eligible students?

The information comes through the provincial coordinator or provincial debate association presidents. It is also posted on the CSDF website.

Throughout the years, (as far back as 1999) the committee re-invited team members either directly into the teams, or since 2008, to the tryout, when the members association did not fill the spots. Starting in 2010, the committee can invite reserve members of the team directly to the training camp.

For the selection announcement after the try-out:

The selected debaters are phoned by the coaches within 2 weeks of the try out. The other delegates are informed through e-mails by the chair of the committee. The names of the selected debaters are then posted on the website.

How is the National Team Committee developing the number of students and coaches familiar with the style?

The first mandate of the committee is to win a Worlds Championship.

That being said, the committee understand that this goal will be more achievable if the provincial members hold more training and more tournaments in World Style. The committee support provincial member initiatives in that direction. The committee keeps contact with a great numbers of Alumni of the team that are ready to help provincial members. The committee will always support any coaches that would like to become a judge at Worlds.

In addition, 2 members of the committee have organized a World Style Tournament in their own region (Calgary, Vancouver) in order to increase the debaters and judges experience.
Here is an example of a one day tournament that Provincial members might want to try:

In Calgary, it is a short tournament, 3 rounds, followed by a final.

One Saturday, from 08:30 till 5:00, the first round is impromptu so that we can do the judges briefing during the hour prep, followed by two rounds and a final on the same topic, we make sure kids debate both side of the issue in our draw, it is a random 3 round draw (ie not bracketed after each round) but we make sure kids debate both side of the prepared round.

Alberta also holds another tournament to make our provincial selection for the National Team Try-out; this one is only judged by World Qualified Adjudicator or alumni of the National Team.

You can download an easy tabs spreadsheet (xls), created by John Robinson, for the Pan Am in 2006.

How are extra debaters selected to produce even numbers?

For the 2011 team, debaters from across the country were invited to apply directly to the committee in order to fulfill those spots. The Committee then ranked those debaters solely based on those applications. The top four were invited to the try out.

What information is made available to debaters in advance of the tryouts?

A prepared resolution is given to the debaters prior to the try-out.

The impromptu resolutions are picked from resolutions that have been previously debated either at the World School debating championship or at the World University Debating Championship. The resolutions debated at the try-out cover a vast array of themes usually debated at this level, from science to sports, from economics to World politics. The impromptu resolutions are picked by members of the committee that do not coach any of the debaters trying-out.

The committee tries its best not to pick a resolution that was used for training or competition by the team during the previous year.

How are the debaters evaluated?

The debaters are assessed on their debating skills, their ability to improve on those skills, their ability to work as a team member, and their commitment to the team.

During the try out and the summer training session;

The debating skills are assessed according to the criteria used at the Worlds. The debaters are given those criteria in advance.

Their ability to improve is judge by their ability to interiorise critics that is given after each round, since each debater is judge twice by the same judge during the try out, and again by committee members during the summer session.

Their ability to work as a team member is assessed by observation of the debaters by the members of the committee while the debaters are preparing their impromptu rounds.

The commitment is assessed by a committee member during a one to one interview.

Feedback is given to the debater after each round of debate. That is the extent of feedback after the try-out.

After the summer session, the coach communicates directly with each debater and gives extensive comments on the rationale for the final selection.

Throughout the process, it should be noted that the coaches also look at their needs regarding certain positions on the team, with the ultimate goal of bringing back the World Championship.

How many debaters are selected?

The committee will invite up to 12 debaters from the try out to the summer training camp.

When the selection should be made in relation to the Worlds?

The committee will hold the selection long enough in advance for the coach to prepare the team for the World Championship, by that we mean between 12 to 14 months in advance.

In the recent past, the try out has taken place around 14 months before the championship. We think this is reasonable. The result at the Worlds and at the Sr Nationals in the last 4 years seems to indicate that either the selection process or the training process is working, or probably both.

A comparison of the results of Team Australia, USA and Canada in the last few years demonstrates the need of having at least a full year of training.

The result at the Worlds compare to other nations in a similar situation as Canada and at the results at the Sr Nationals and the Oxford Cup in the last 3 years seems to indicate that this is working.

It is interesting to compare the results of the 2 countries that have a similar challenge as Canada. Both the USA and Australia have debating federation regrouping regional members spread over a vast geographical area. In 5 recent years, the results of those 3 teams were

Australia:

  • 2006:1 out 35
  • 2007:6 out of 35
  • 2008:11 out of 39
  • 2009:5 out of 39
  • 2010: 5 out of 57


Canada:

  • 2006:4 out 35
  • 2007:4 out of 35
  • 2008:6 out of 39
  • 2009:6 out of 39
  • 2010: 1 out of 57


USA:

  • 2006:13 out 35
  • 2007:12 out of 35
  • 2008:26 out of 39
  • 2009:28 out of 39
  • 2010: 29 out of 57


Please note:

Australia has only one debating style: Worlds Style.

In 2006, 2009 and 2010, Australia made their selection 10 months prior to the tournament, in 2007 and 2008; they made their selection 2 and 4 months prior to the Championship. The consequences on the results are self explanatory.

The USA made their selection a year in advance in 2006 and 2007.

The USA had a summer training session one year prior to the tournament in 2007. They abandon that system in the last 3 years. The consequences on the results are self explanatory.

Australia, even with all their debaters debating in World Style, needs 10 months to prepare their team. The committee requires that the Canadian coach be given at least 12 months between the first try-out and the Championship.

What is the process for reducing the role Committee members with students participating in the tryouts have for determining the outcome?

The scores given by a coach to his own debater are removed from the average of that debater.

The interview of a debater is done by a committee member from a different province.

What is the possibility of creating a larger development team model?

The committee will try its best to do so, and would support any member initiatives in that direction. The committee keeps contact with a great numbers of Alumni of the team that will be ready to help provincial members in creating their provincial team, provincial world style tournament or provincial world style training camp.

In addition, the Committee will support with enthusiasm the application of Canadian coaches wishing to attend the World Championships as judges or observers!

Should Regional Events be considered in the selection process?

By Regional tournaments, the committee is referring to tournament that have debaters from more then one province participating; the Western Seminar comes to mind. This event could be transformed into a Worlds Style tournament, and the top eligible debaters invited to the try out. If the provincial members are in agreement with this, the committee would support such initiative.

Again, the committee would look favourably into the application of eligible debaters doing well at regional tournaments done in Canadian, BP or World Style. Current tournaments meeting the regional criteria include several University-hosted outreach debating tournaments, such as the UBC and McGill High School tournaments.