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Debate Format Guides

There are many debate formats practiced around the world. In B.C., the three most common are:

  1. Canadian National Debate Format (CNDF)

  2. Cross-Examination Format (Cross-X)

  3. British Parliamentary Format

Canadian National Debate Format (CNDF)​​

CNDF is the most common form of debate in both British Columbia and Canada. It is the primary format for all levels of competition, including Regionals, Provincials and Nationals

This is a helpful video produced by the Saskatchewan Elocution and Debate Association that neatly breaks down the different aspects of CNDF style debate.

Examples of CNDF style debate are hard to come by on YouTube. However, this video by some students at Appleby College in Ontario is a good, simple example of what a typical CNDF style debate would look like at the high school level.

British Parliamentary Debate (BP)​​

British parliamentary debate is primarily a university-level debating style. However, over the past few years it has begun to appear more frequently in high school debate tournaments as well. Is distinguished from CNDF style primarily by the fact that there are 4 teams competing, rather than 2.


The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University host regular High School Tournaments in British Columbia which are great opportunities for senior age students to participate in BP style debate

This is a helpful video produced by the York University Debate society. It accurately and clearly explains many of the important features of BP style debate

If you prefer to learn by example, here is a video of a high-school level British Parliamentary debate provided by the Western Australian Debate League

Prefer to read about BP-style debate? Use our handy BP debate guide:

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