Opening Government


Prime Minister

The debate begins with a seven-minute speech by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has two basic responsibilities: to define and interpret the motion and to develop the case for the proposition. The first of these responsibilities is to define and interpret the motion for debate. The definition and interpretation is particularly important because it sets the stage for the entire debate. Remember, the Prime Minster has the right to define the motion and the responsibility to do so in a reasonable fashion. Therefore, if the Prime Minister’s interpretation is a poor one, the likely result will be a poor debate.

The second responsibility of the Prime Minister is to construct a case for the proposition. Simply stated, a “case” consists of one or more arguments supporting the Prime Minister’s interpretation of the motion. Therefore, the Prime Minister will outline the arguments supporting the interpretation and begin to develop each of those arguments. The Prime Minister need not present all of the arguments for the First Proposition team. In many cases, the Prime Minister will state that the First Proposition team will have a certain number of arguments and that some will be presented in this speech and the Deputy Prime Minister will present the rest.

Deputy Prime Minister

The Deputy Prime Minister has three primary obligations: to defend the case presented by the Prime Minister, to refute any independent arguments presented by the Leader of the Opposition, and (optionally) to expand on the constructive case by arguing a new point.

First, the Deputy Prime Minister defends the case presented by the Prime Minister by engaging any refutation presented against the case by the Leader of the Opposition. The Deputy should take up the Prime Minister’s argument one by one and defend each argument against any refutation by the Leader of the Opposition. Thus, at the end of this section of the Deputy’s speech, the audience should see that the case originally presented by the Prime Minister still stands as strongly as it did when initially presented.

Second, the Deputy Prime Minister should refute any of the independent argument presented by the Leader of the Opposition. Like the Leader of Opposition, the Deputy should not try to refute all arguments, just the most important ones.

Finally, the Deputy Prime Minster may add an argument to the case presented by the Prime Minister, should there not have been sufficient time for the Prime Minister to make the entire Opening Government case.