Upper Canada College students Malcolm Risk and Brent Leung finished second in the National Oxford Cup Debate Tournament in Winnipeg on Nov. 19 and 20, and qualified to represent Canada at the Oxford Cup Tournament in Oxford, England.
The two boys went head to head with Canada’s top young debaters and breezed through the first two rounds on Friday, placing first and then second. There were four closed adjudication rounds on Saturday and Risk and Leung performed well enough in the British parliamentary-formatted debates to advance to the quarter-finals on Sunday, where they debated the motion “This House would make drug addiction a medical issue rather than a criminal one” as the opening opposition.
“They were diligent in refuting the proposition’s case and developed the stance of a no-tolerance society to advance into the semi-finals,” says Lulu Wang, who coaches UCC’s debating team along with Courtney Turner.
Risk and Leung debated as the front proposition for the motion “This house as a western government would not engage in international trade agreements” in the semi-final round. Risk delivered a content-rich speech during his first opportunity to speak as a prime minister while Leung successfully refuted the opposition’s case. Their strong performance secured a berth in the final with two other Ontario teams and a British Columbian duo.
“This house believes indigenous people should have a veto over resource extraction projects which will significantly impact their territory” was the motion debated in the final. The boys presented their points well to finish second overall.
Risk was the third-ranked debater in the tournament while Leung placed 18th overall among all of the speakers.
“They debated with grace and utilized every ounce of their knowledge to further themselves in the competition,” says Wang. “Courtney and I are more than proud of their success.”