Kelowna debate tackles the personality vs. issues question

Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KELOWNA - With the likes of Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump and now perhaps Kevin O’Leary, it can be said that personality has become more important than ever in the game of politics.

At a public debate tonight, March 30, in Kelowna participants will be arguing just that.

The topic of the fourth annual Roger Watts Advocacy Debate, is ‘Be it resolved that personalities have replaced issues in politics’.

Two teams comprised of student debaters from UBC Okanagan will argue for and against the topic, starting at 5:30 p.m., at the Mary Irwin Theatre in Kelowna.

Local lawyer Marvin Geekie is one of the event organizers as well as debate coach at UBCO. He says this the topic is especially pertinent.

“There’s nothing but personality littered through politics,” Geekie says. “It trickles all the way through, personality can consume issues and vice versa.”

Four individuals were chosen based on their performances at a runoff debate held March 1. These individuals were then split into two teams, who will debate at tonight’s event.

“I’ll be looking to see the lessons we’ve been drumming into them that they’ve paid attention,” Geekie said. “Particularly I’m looking forward to the open round, where the teams get to fire questions at each other and respond and raise volume.”

The open round was an element introduced into the debate two years ago. It is an eight minute round placed in the middle of the debate.

A panel of five judges will be evaluating the debate. They include Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, the Judge Jane Cartwright and Kelowna author Sharron Simpson. AM 1150 radio host Phil Johnson is the M.C.

“I had someone come up to me last year saying it was the best two hours of entertainment they could find,” Geekie said.

The two hour event is free of charge and open to the public.

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