The Debate


Students will present oral and written information on a specific topic to demonstrate understanding of the political process.


1 class period, about 45 minutes


  • Recording of O’Canada
  • Gavel
  • Canadian Flag
  • Name plates

The Lesson:

  1. Before the debate begins, provide students with a quick overview of the rules of debate. Insist that students stand and properly address members of the government (the Honourable) and the Speaker (Mr. /Miss Speaker). Remind students that there are rules of order in a debate and they must be followed. Failure to do so can forfeit the debate. You can brush up on procedures by watching televised Parliament debates.
  2. Move the classroom desks into a U shape. The Speaker takes his or her place at the opening of the U. Divide the U into sections to represent the political parties.
  3. Have students write out name plates, identifying the Party and the role they play (Minister of Revenue, Minister of Trade and Tourism etc.).
  4. Open Parliament with the playing of O’Canada.
  5. Ask each Party leader to make an opening statement on the topic of discussion.
  6. Follow up the statements with comments or a motion from the opposition or the MP whose ministry deals with the topic of discussion. Ask for responses from the opposition members responsible for the ministry portfolio.
  7. Open the debate to the rest of Parliament.
  8. When the debate lags, have the Speaker of the House call for a vote. Determine whether the motion passes or is defeated.


Ask students to reflect and then write a newspaper article reflecting both sides of the debate.