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The Munk Debates are a semi-annual series of debates on major policy issues held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They are run by the Aurea Foundation, a charitable foundation set up by Peter Munk, founder of Barrick Gold, and his wife Melanie Munk. The debate series was founded in 2008 by Munk and Rudyard Griffiths, who moderates most of the debates.
The Munk debates are held in Toronto, at steadily larger venues as they have proven popular. Tickets are sold to the general public, and sell out shortly after being made available.
A poll is taken from the audience both before and after each debate. The winner of the debate is determined by how many people are persuaded to move from one opinion side to the other. The debates have been broadcast on CBC Radio's Ideas as well as CPAC. The more recent ones have also appeared on international broadcasters including BBC and C-SPAN.
|May 26, 2008||Be it resolved, the world is a safer place with a Republican in the White House...||Charles Krauthammer and Niall Ferguson||Samantha Power and Richard Holbrooke||Pro||17%||Royal Ontario Museum|
|Dec 1, 2008||Be it resolved, if countries like Sudan, Somalia and Burma will not end their man-made humanitarian crises, the international community should...||Gareth Evans and Mia Farrow||John Bolton and Rick Hillier||Con||9%||Royal Ontario Museum|
|June 1, 2009||Be it resolved, foreign aid does more harm than good...||Hernando de Soto Polar and Dambisa Moyo||Stephen Lewis and Paul Collier||Pro||2%||Royal Ontario Museum|
|Dec 1, 2009||Be it resolved, climate change is mankind's defining crisis, and demands a commensurate response...||George Monbiot and Elizabeth May||Bjørn Lomborg and Nigel Lawson||Con||8%||The Royal Conservatory of Music|
|June 7, 2010||Be it resolved, I would rather get sick in the United States than Canada...||Bill Frist and David Gratzer||Howard Dean and Robert Bell||Con||7%||The Royal Conservatory of Music|
|Nov 26, 2010||Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world...||Tony Blair||Christopher Hitchens||Con||13%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|June 17, 2011||Be it resolved, the 21st century will belong to China...||Niall Ferguson and David Daokui Li||Henry Kissinger and Fareed Zakaria||Con||22%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|Nov 14, 2011||Be it resolved, North America faces a Japan-style era of high unemployment and slow growth...||Paul Krugman and David Rosenberg||Lawrence Summers and Ian Bremmer||Con||19%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|May 25, 2012||Be it resolved, the European experiment has failed...||Niall Ferguson and Josef Joffe||Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Peter Mandelson||Con||17%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|November 26, 2012||Be it resolved, the world cannot tolerate an Iran with nuclear weapons capability...||Amos Yadlin and Charles Krauthammer||Fareed Zakaria and Vali Nasr||Con||18%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|May 30, 2013||Be it resolved, tax the rich (more)...||George Papandreou and Paul Krugman||Newt Gingrich and Arthur Laffer||Pro||12%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|November 15, 2013||Be it resolved, men are obsolete...||Hanna Rosin and Maureen Dowd||Caitlin Moran and Camille Paglia||Pro||28%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|May 2, 2014||Be it resolved, state surveillance is a legitimate defence of our freedoms....||Michael Hayden and Alan Dershowitz||Glenn Greenwald and Alexis Ohanian||Con||13%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|November 5, 2014||Be it resolved, Obama’s foreign policy is emboldening our enemies and making the world a more dangerous place…||Bret Stephens and Robert Kagan||Anne-Marie Slaughter and Fareed Zakaria||Con||11%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|April 10, 2015||Be it resolved, the West should engage not isolate Russia…||Stephen F. Cohen and Vladimir Pozner||Anne Applebaum and Garry Kasparov||Con||10%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|Sept 28, 2015||The Munk Debate on Canada’s Foreign Policy||Stephen Harper, Tom Mulcair, Justin Trudeau||–||–||Roy Thomson Hall|
|November 6, 2015||Be it resolved, humankind’s best days lie ahead...||Steven Pinker and Matt Ridley||Alain de Botton and Malcolm Gladwell||Pro||2%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|April 1, 2016||Be it resolved, give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...||Louise Arbour and Simon Schama||Nigel Farage and Mark Steyn||Con||22%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|September 30, 2016||Be it resolved, Donald Trump can make America great again...||Newt Gingrich and Laura Ingraham||Robert Reich and Jennifer Granholm||Pro||6%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|April 28, 2017||Be it resolved, the liberal international order is over…||Niall Ferguson||Fareed Zakaria||Con||5%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|October 12, 2017||Be it resolved, American democracy is in its worst crisis in a generation and Donald J. Trump is to blame…||Andrew Sullivan and E.J. Dionne||Newt Gingrich and Kimberly Strassel||Con||3%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|May 18, 2018||Be it resolved, what you call political correctness, I call progress…||Michael Eric Dyson and Michelle Goldberg||Stephen Fry and Jordan Peterson||Con||6%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|November 2, 2018||Be it resolved, the future of western politics is populist not liberal...||Steve Bannon||David Frum||Tie*||0%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|May 9, 2019||Be it resolved, China is a threat to the liberal international order...||H. R. McMaster and Michael Pillsbury||Kishore Mahbubani and Wang Huiyao||Con*||2%||Roy Thomson Hall|
|December 4, 2019||Be it resolved, the capitalist system is broken. It's time to try something different...||Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Yanis Varoufakis||Arthur Brooks and David Brooks||Con||2%||Roy Thomson Hall|
* Meaning there was initially a mistake made with the counting of the votes that was corrected later
In 2018, the debates hosted Steve Bannon, resulting in calls by several Canadian politicians for the debates to be cancelled. A rally outside Roy Thomson Hall over the debates also resulted in the arrest of 12 people. The debate was held anyways. In November, the Munk Debates released a statement that a "technical error" had led to them releasing false information about the debates results, falsely stating that Bannon's arguments had swayed the audience in favor of populism.
In 2019, the debates continued to be "financially underwritten by the Canadian charitable foundation, Aurea." The Munk Debates began publishing podcasts of former debates in November 2019. In July 2020 one of the topics was whether the #MeToo movement had "gone too far."
2019 proposed debate
Munk Debates proposed a leaders debate on foreign policy during the 2019 Canadian election. Justin Trudeau, Andrew Scheer, Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May were invited. Singh, Scheer and May agreed to attend. Maxime Bernier was not invited.
- David Frum (November 4, 2018). "The Real Lesson of My Debate With Steve Bannon". www.theatlantic.com. The Atlantic. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- Stefanie Marotta (November 3, 2018). "Munk Debates blames 'technical error' for wrong results in Bannon-Frum faceoff". www.thestar.com. The Star. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- "'Technical error' blamed for wrong results at controversial Toronto Munk debate". www.ctvnews.com. CTV News. November 3, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- Christian Paas-Lang (August 9, 2019). "Munk Debates calls on federal leaders to sign up for foreign policy debate". www.nationalobserver.com. National Observer. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- "'Munk Debates' Podcast Aims To Provide A Forum For Civil Disagreement". Forbes. November 27, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- Donna Rotunno (July 16, 2020). "Munk Debates: Debating the #MeToo movement". www.nationalpost.com. National Post. Retrieved October 6, 2020.
- Paas-Lang, Christian (August 8, 2019). "Munk Debates calls on federal leaders to sign up for foreign policy debate". CTV News. Retrieved August 9, 2019.
- "Munk Debates". Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Paas-Lang, Christian (August 8, 2019). "Munk Debates Pitches Another Foreign Policy Showdown During Federal Election". HuffPost. Retrieved August 19, 2019.