Canadian Election Debate Viewers’ Guide

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

I happen to believe that you’ve sold us out.

You had an option, sir!

Will tonight’s English-language Leaders’ Debate bring another memorable quip that will go down in history as the turning point in the campaign? We’ll see.

But while you’re listening for that memorable quip tonight, be sure to keep an eye on the party leaders’ body language, which might hold clues to how straightforward they’re being with the Canadian public.

Some of the more notable behaviours to watch for, according to an article written by two members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program:

  • Feet that fidget or point to the door communicate discomfort. If subjects sit behind a desk or table, officers should encourage them to relocate. Deceivers often use soda cans, computer screens, and other objects, both large and small, to form a barrier between themselves and investigators. Objects used in this manner create distance, separation, and partial concealment — behaviors consistent with dishonesty.
  • Eye aversion during difficult questions, as opposed to benign questions, can depict distress.
  • Head movements should comport with verbal denials or affirmations. For example, an inconsistent head movement occurs when individuals say, “I did not do it” while their head subtly nods affirmatively.
  • Truthful people tend to lean forward as they converse; liars tend to move away.
  • People who attempt to conceal information often breathe faster taking a series of short breaths followed by one long deep breath. This irregular breathing pattern can tip investigators to speakers’ increased anxiety levels. Additionally, stress often causes a dry mouth, resulting in repeated clearing of the throat, cracking of the voice, or jumping of the Adam’s apple (laryngeal cartilages).
  • Confident people usually spread out in an area. Less secure people tend to occupy less space, fold their arms, and interlock their legs.
  • Liars often slouch in chairs feigning comfort. Liars may even yawn repeatedly reinforcing the appearance of relaxation, even boredom. In addition, yawning during stressful situations or spreading out on a couch or chair when circumstances call for tension and discomfort portends deception.
  • Liars often keep their hands motionless and draw their arms close to their bodies into a position as if “flash frozen.”
  • If a man says, “After I took a shower, I ate breakfast.” The listener assumes that the man disrobed, turned on the water, got into the shower, washed his body with soap, rinsed the soap off his body, shampooed his hair, rinsed his hair, turned off the water, got out of the shower, and dried himself with a towel. Someone reluctant to tell the truth often uses this same technique to gloss over sensitive topics. For example, a person reports the following: “I left the house to go to work, and when I returned home, I found my wife lying in a pool of blood.” The text bridge “when I re-turned home…” should alert investigators to missing information. Investigators should examine, in detail, the man’s activities from the time he left the house until the time he returned.
  • Research shows that guilty people often avoid using contractions. Instead of saying, “It wasn’t me,” liars will say, “It was not me,” to ensure the listener clearly hears the denial.

Read the full article here.

And while we’re on the subject of politics, guess who has joined the ranks of the bloggerati? Yes, it’s former prime minister Kim Campbell. Campbell, who was briefly the Conservative prime minister during the four months between Brian Mulroney’s June 1993 resignation and the victory of Jean Chretien’s Liberals in the October 1993 election, quietly launched her Bite Size Chunks blog early last year. She does not post frequently, but has so far written posts on government transparency, Ukraine’s fledgling democracy, and the need for more women to enter politics, and has done so without engaging in the shrill partisan rhetoric that has become far too common in this day and age.

Given the rarity of being able to see things from the perspective of being a former prime minister or provincial premier — there are only about 60 people alive in Canada today who can lay claim to that distinction — it would be good to see more former first ministers join the blogosphere, as long as they do so to share their knowledge and insights, and not as a platform for launching blistering partisan attacks.


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

One Response to Canadian Election Debate Viewers’ Guide

  1. James Turner says:

    Awesome post. Thanks.

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