Debaters talk their way to the top

Jim Nicholson, ArtSci ’05 and Aron Seal, a masters candidate, placed first at the Central Canadian Debating Championship.
Jim Nicholson, ArtSci ’05 and Aron Seal, a masters candidate, placed first at the Central Canadian Debating Championship.
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Opposing the use of televised rugby games in New Zealand churches to attract parishioners helped Aron Seal, a masters candidate in economics and Jim Nicholson, ArtSci ’05, bring home the top prize from the Central Canadian Debating Championships last weekend.

Seal, who also won the Top Speaker award and Nicholson comprised one of the six Queen’s teams that competed at the University of Western Ontario.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Seal said. “It’s the type of thing where you compete for four or five years and it’s a nice culmination.”

The tournament brought together 26 teams from eight schools, including Carleton, Guelph, McGill, McMaster, Queen’s, RMC, U of T, and Windsor. According to league custom, Western, this year’s host school, did not compete.

Nicholson said he is “thrilled and honoured” to have won the intensive three-day championship.

“After three days of [debating], I’m mentally recharging right now,” he said.

The event, which began last Friday night, consisted of five qualifier rounds followed by quarter-finals, semifinals and finals. Each round consists of two teams: the “government” which is responsible for coming up with a debate topic, and the “opposition,” whose role it is to contest the topic.

Both teams competing in the tournament’s final round were from Queen’s. Seal said he thinks this was the University’s strongest showing in the past few years.

Queen’s last title tournament victory in debating was at the 2000-01 National Championships. The University last won the Central Canadian Championships in 1988-89, and last took the Top Speaker award at the Central Canadian Championships in 1990-91.

Both Seal and Nicholson will be attending the World Universities Debating Championship in Dublin, Ireland, from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5.

Seal will be on one of three Queen’s teams at the event, and Nicholson will be attending as a judge.

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