Should government have the ability to make vaccination mandatory?

Roger Watts Debate 2021

UBCO debaters argue for and against at annual Roger Watts Debate 

What: Roger Watts Debate: Be it resolved that the government should have the ability to make vaccination mandatory
Who: Top UBCO student debaters
When: Wednesday, March 31 starting at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom webinar

While many eagerly await their turn in the COVID-19 vaccination queue, UBC Okanagan student debaters are facing off in a provocative debate on public health and governmental power:
Be it resolved that government should have the ability to make vaccination mandatory.

“The pandemic has affected everyone in some way, and that’s the type of topic we look for—one with wide-reaching implications, one that nearly everyone has an opinion about one way or another,” says Dr. Julien Picault, associate professor of teaching in economics and event organizer.

“While the overarching theme of this debate is governmental power, it’s really pitting one’s right to public health and safety against one’s right to choose what goes into their body. Our students have been debating for weeks using thoughtful, evidence-based arguments. Our top debaters have made it to this final round and I expect a high-quality, engaging debate as always,” he adds.

Dr. Picault invites the community to watch these debaters argue their cases before a panel of community judges who will decide the winners. Prizes of $1,000 will be awarded to the first-place finisher, while prizes of $500 will be awarded to the runners-up.

This year student participants will also have the opportunity to compete for the newly-created $500 People’s Choice Award, selected by event attendees.

The annual debate is named after the late Roger Watts, a respected member of the Okanagan’s legal community, a skilled orator and strong advocate.

This event takes place virtually on Wednesday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m.

It is free, open to the public, and supported by local donors and community sponsors.

To register or find out more, visit:

About UBC’s Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC—ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities—the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

To find out more, visit: