MDTA - Minnesota Debate Teachers Association

Question What is Parliamentary Debate?

Solution Parliamentary Debate is largely modeled after Canadian parliamentary debate. The affirmative side is called the Government and the negative side is called the Opposition. All remarks must be addressed to the Speaker of the House and not to anyone else.

Parliamentary Debate is distinguished from Policy, Lincoln-Douglas (Values) Debate, and Classic Debate by the lack of cross-examination and by a greater sense of style and reasoning over research and content.

There are three precepts of Parliamentary Debate: (1) The purpose of the debate is to convice an ordinary, neutral audience, thereby making delivery very important. (2) Parliamentary debate may involve only three or four major arguments, each with only one or two examples to support it. Further, many debates are decided by just one crucial point. (3) Finally, parliamentary debaters rely on logic rather than data to support their arguments.

For more information, access the Manitoba Speech and Debate Association website Parliamentary Debate. You may contact John Robinson at St. John's Ravenscourt School in Winnipeg (204) 477-2409. Additionally, Tom Kuster has shepherded parliamentary debate in Minnesota. Contact Tom at Bethany Lutheran College at (507) 344-7336.