Skip to content

Articles are invited on all RCMP related topics. Opinion? Personal experience? Suggestion? Let\'s hear from you! Relevent comments are welcome and will be moderated.


Mes amis,

As I sit and type this message my memory runs wild and my mind is filled with our shared history; when we worked together either clinically or operationally; when I graduated from Depot; when I soon after, left the Force in frustration; when I took up the struggle to Unionize; and when your employer tried unsuccessfully to discredit me. It is now that I realize, that to engage in making a difference one must be willing to pay a price. I call to mind at this moment all those members who have paid with their lives; especially those so agonized and without hope they took their own.

Today the Union movement continues. It is slow but steady; and sometimes frustrating. I believe I have done all I can from my present position. I need to deal with my frustration, and have decided to let Re-sergeance go. However, I want you to know that my ties to you and your objective cannot be broken.

As I look back at my involvement in your struggle, I believe I have dedicated myself fully to our objective. My only failing was that I was unable to motivate you to greater militancy.

The days we spent together bound by our cause, were highly rewarding for me. I feel a great sense of pride in playing my small part. I have been truly impressed by your self control and your willingness to tolerate the abuse foisted upon you by your employer (and its’ master).

I have other options before me, and recognize many routes to our objective that may suit my modest contributions. The time has come for me to say goodbye to the task of maintaining your blog. I want you to know that I make this decision with mixed emotion. I will remain involved in the Union movement but will no longer service your Re-sergeance.

I will sustain new tactics with all I have learned from you; especially the necessity of preserving the Human Rights of workers; no matter what they do, or whom they do it for. At this point in my life my association with you gives me reason to rise every morning, and serves as a tonic for the most serious of ills.

I assure you that in my final moments, whenever they may come, all of you, your families, and the struggle we shared will be in my thoughts. I will be eternally grateful for all you have taught me. Thank you.

P.S. Looks like I’m the only one to volunteer my “credo”:

“Life isn’t about avoiding suffering, it’s about creating meaning.”

Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist
(BCCP #0655)


OK,OK The Agony is Over!

Our review of the literature on trauma, resilience, and “PTSD” seems to have produced a core set of findings. I promise to be brief and not too esoteric (oh shit!!!….do you suppose “Bobbles” is watching?….he’s likely to have a tough time with that one). The results we have reviewed show us that the investigators implicitly recognized that this should be a person X situation interactional model that would best explain the factors that influence resilience for different people in different situations. The “monkey-wrench” in the works however, seems to be the absence of a universal definition of resilience. Is it the absence of psychopathology? Is it a prolonged stress response pattern? Is it superior coping throughout one’s life? Is it a personality variable that moderates outcomes (remember hardiness, locus of control, ego strength?). Some investigators produced interesting data showing intelligence and information processing as being related to coping styles (e.g. avoidance, approach, problem solving) and the different types of ego defenses used in anxiety stimulating situations. We saw evidence that coping styles and ego defenses are related to the ability to muster and display protection against overwhelming and stress producing situations. Do you recall that these investigators interestingly identified protective factors like personal and social support mechanisms that take direct action to find solutions to the various problems created by a demanding situation?

I hope that our stroll through the literature has begun to impress upon you that, for anyone interested in “PTSD”, just jumping on the “pop-psychology” band wagon is akin to arriving at a murder scene and taking the first witness’ story as gospel. “PTSD” is not some newly discovered horror that is the plague of anyone who has witnessed anything ugly, out of the ordinary, and will curse that person for a lifetime. A more valid perspective seems to begin with our ability to define a conceptually meaningful continuum of adaptation and resilience that encompasses a normal, an acute, and a chronic form of the human response to stress. The zenith of coping and adaptation, at one end of the continuum involves highly resilient behaviours over short and long term periods of positive adaptation. On the opposite end of the continuum, minimal coping is acute and long term negative adaptation; and is associated with a significant risk for developing post traumatic stress issues and other psychopathologies. Most of all I hope that you recognize that post traumatic stress is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing; where no matter who you are if you are exposed to something traumatic you will respond and it will be just like everyone else’s response. I would like you to recognize (for your own mental health) that when we are speaking of resilience following a traumatic exposure it is best to think of a continuum of adaptation. As humans we are distinguished by our differences; even our responses to a traumatic exposure. And how you respond seems to depend on who you are in interaction with the situation you have experienced. There are those who have shaken worse than you have experienced off their backs, “like water off a duck”, and those who have “caved in” under less.

Well there it is. I’ll leave it with you for a bit, then return in a few days with an announcement of sorts. See you then. And until then……..think a bit about what your personal “credo” might be? Then send it in to me and I’ll post it. Can you guess mine? I’ll tell you next time.

Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist
BCCP # 0665

Time To Take A Stand?

G’day to you all. No matter where you are or what you are dealing with, I hope you can see the wisdom in the fact that you can interpret your situation in any way you wish. I am just back from Ottawa (more to follow) where I re-connected with a couple of members that I knew when they were in “E” Division. Not much has changed in the nature of their relationship with your employer, however they are able to see that the expectations they had of the “outfit” were unrealistic and were causing them more grief than the “outfit” itself. You and you alone are your ship’s “Master”; you are free to set whatever course you wish.

As for my trip to Ottawa, and as “Bobbles” has lacked the fortitude to come West to get this “Indian Strap Match” planned, I was hoping he would meet me on his ground. Well needless to say he didn’t show his “sorry ass” anywhere near the Senate Hearings on Bill C-7. Instead he sent several of his minions who put on a text book display of resistance to change, and increased political activity, in an effort to maintain the country club in which they have become the charter members and the rest of you their golf “caddies.”

In this piece I would like to give you a brief over view of my presentation; but first let me thank (MPPAC) President Rae Banwarie for his kind suggestion to the Senate, and to the Senate for agreeing and so graciously inviting me to attend.

There has been much discussion around the flaws in Bill C-7. In sum, it fails to respect and protect your rights as workers. Moreover it fails to recognize that Labour Rights are Human Rights! The Bill would make out of MPPAC nothing more than another impotent DSRR program.

Rather than more of the same criticisms of the Bill, I would like to address four critical issues (briefly) and use them to stimulate discussion among you. The opinions I will present are not subjective in nature, but have been supported by mounds of empirically derived data dating back to 2001 (and conveniently ignored by your employer simply because they didn’t like what the science said!!) . The issues are as follows:

I. Key Conclusions:

– the RCMP is better at developing strategies than implementing them.
– the RCMP is not a “change ready” nor “change receptive” organization.
– the RCMP is not attracting nor retaining the best.
– the RCMP is hindered by its’ structure (i.e. RMs, CMs, PSs) and scope (i.e.
municipal, provincial, and federal policing).
– the RCMP is caught in a downward “success spiral” i.e. in the belief that the
way things were done in the past are good for today and will be so tomorrow.
– the RCMP’s paramilitary model is anachronistic and is in need of flattening.
– RCMP members are skeptical, cynical, and mistrusting of senior management;
they have been over-promised and under-delivered.
– extant data suggests management and leadership behaviour are critical factors
with respect to positive change.
– tinkering with existing systems and structures has been and will continue to
be ineffective–the organization is in need of “transformative change” (e.g.
it is time for the “March East”; out of municipal and provincial policing;
downsized; focused on federal statutes only i.e. Canada’s FBI: Commissioner no
longer a Deputy Minister; and the RCMP is no longer the Prime Minister’s
private police service i.e. arm’s length from the government).

II. RCMP “Uniqueness”

– the organization is tripping over its’ “uniqueness” and consequently denying
its’ members the rights that should be enjoyed by all workers.
– the organization once considered a national icon is fast becoming a
national disgrace.

III. Harassment

– a much more sophisticated issue than perceived by most.
– harassment (sexual or not) is a Human Rights issue, as it effects the
workers’ ability to feel safe in the workplace.
– harassment can be used as a tool i.e. as the technology of harassment.
– there are multiple (potential) motives for harassing someone at work
e.g. rank, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, appearance,
achievement, attraction, behaviour, associations and class, just to identify
a few.

IV. A Naive Assumption

During debate in the House one MP suggested that the Liberals were starting
“…….with the assumption that employees and RCMP membership will work
collaboratively with their supervisors and upper management to achieve
workplace goals.”

I would like to remind him and others who share his naive assumption
that the majority of commissioned officers see few problems with the Force,
and their management of it; while the majority of non-commissioned members
have little or no trust in those at the top and describe them as “careerists”.
This is not a recipe for collaboration!

Well, there it is. What say you? If you don’t speak out by, at the very least, joining your brothers and sisters who are already members of MPPAC, you have become part of the problem. Here is something to cogitate upon until next time…….


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

Post Traumatic Stress: Emotion as a Moderator

G’day to you all! I hope you are well wherever you are. We are having a bout of cool wet weather out here on the West Coast. Good for creativity? For this installment, I would like to wrap up a review of the research before taking a look at putting it all together in a generic model reflecting the response to psychological trauma.

There is a body of work compiled by two well respected investigators (Block and Kremen) that conceptualizes resilience as a personality characteristic (e.g. hardiness, locus of control). In this work the relationship between intelligence and “ego resiliency” was examined. The work generated further research and a wide set of results. When the influence of intelligence was controlled it was found that both resilient men and women shared an outgoing, warm, assertive, calm, energetic, independent, active, productive, humorous, and poised nature. The body of work was summarized by the original investigators in this way: “The biosocial problem of the individual is adaptation. Insufficiencies of adaptation are signalled to the individual by the intrusion of affect. Yet, current expanded conceptualizations of intelligence have remained ‘cognitive’ and still largely ignore affective and motivational aspects of behaviour.”

The authors of this key body of work have added to the “state of the art” by asserting that ego resilience seems to reflect not only personality qualities, and how they are used to adapt, but also a capacity to modulate the stress response (including traumatic stress). The work provides support for the idea that positive emotions establish a foundation of effective behaviours with regard to the modulation of stress.

This work was replicated by a number of other researchers and their findings. Those findings suggested that the psychological survivors of extreme hardships and threat to life could be characterized by: high levels of hardiness, and low levels of perceived stress; but also by the presence of gratitude, interest, love, empathy, and a string of other positive emotions.

So there it is. A quick review of the literature in the areas of “PTSD”, resilience, and coping. I hope you have been able to grasp that our approach to the phenomenon of post traumatic stress should be based upon more than sentiment, sorrow, and sensationalism. Next time I shall attempt to clearly communicate the key variables that interact dynamically to determine resilient behaviours triggered by (potentially) traumatic life experiences. Until then………


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist
#0655 (BCCP)

“Survey Says….”: ‘Hardiness’ is the Key!

Top of the day to you all! I hope all is well in your part of the world. If not, remember it could always be worse. Do you remember where we left off? I think we were in some interesting work done on comparing combat veterans with their POW confreres and how they differed in their post-war display of post-traumatic symptoms. Interestingly the predictors of symptom severity were thought to include degree of trauma during imprisonment, resilience (individual) factors, and post-war social support. The severity of the trauma during imprisonment was related to distress experienced 40/50 years later. The amount of this distress was inversely proportional to the level of education and age at the time of the traumatic experience. This means the older and more educated the subject at the time of exposure, the less distress later in life.

In another related body of work a Person X Situation interactional analysis of the variables significantly associated with the persistence of post-traumatic symptomology was employed. These results as a whole revealed that approximately 55% of subjects reported post-traumatic symptoms 40 years after their WWII internment. Demographic variables suggested better outcomes were related to higher military status (e.g. Senior Non-Commissioned and Commissioned Officers interned) and education.

“Hardiness” as a personality trait has been examined in direct relation to coping, dealing with daily life problems and developmental life stressors. This work is directly related to traumatic exposure, and resilience in those characterized as “hardy”. Investigators found that “hardiness” predicted actual transformational coping better than statistically measured “optimism”. Those subjects who had been identified as “hardy” used more active coping and planning. The “hardiness” variable was negatively correlated with behavioural and mental disengagement, denial, and a proneness to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. “Hardiness” was also positively correlated with instrumental (“let me help you with that”) and emotional (“wanna’ talk about it?”) types of social support. The authors of these studies suggested that the phenomenon of “hardiness” was related to active problem solvers who had a capacity to organize resources (internally and externally) to achieve desired outcomes.

I feel for ya’ if you don’t have the patience to read research results; however, this is where the empirically supported “state of the art” lays. You won’t find it in well meaning articles (blogs) guided by sentiment, sensationalism, and sorrow. Let’s slog through one more body of research conducted on Israeli POWs of the Yom Kippur War. In this body of work “hardiness” was regarded as either a direct, or moderating, effect leading to long term positive (or negative) change as a result of exposure to war trauma. The work of two highly respected theorists (Antonovsky and Bernstein) provided a framework for this investigation. The role of “hardiness” in shielding POWs from long term negative consequences of internment and abuse was the focus of attention. In general it was discovered that “hardiness” was more active in protecting those exposed to extreme stress rather than those exposed to lower levels of stress. As we have come to see, “hardiness” played a role in moderating stress in POWs but not so much on controls who fought in the same war but experienced less exposure (e.g. to torture). There was an inverse relationship between “hardiness” and negative changes in both the POW and non-POW groups. (That is, the hardier the subject the less negative change experienced). Generally POWs reported more negative life changes following war-related trauma than did their non-POW counterparts; however, the “hardy” POWs were less effected by post-war negative life changes than were their less “hardy” fellow POWs.

Once again, enough for now. The research seems to be moving toward a generic model of resilience in response to psychological trauma. I think we will be able to identify key variables that interact dynamically in the determination of resilient behaviour triggered by traumatic experiences. I hope you are able to see how the study of resilience is a more fruitful scientific enterprise than the constant generalizing and sensationalizing around “PTSD”; and how it could shed light on the difference between a chronic stress response to bullying/harassment at work and an acute response to the e.g. horror, abuse, or torture during internment as a POW?


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

The Role of Hardiness in”PTSD”.

G’day to you all! I thought I would get back to our literature review and give “Bobbles” a well deserved rest from my abuse. In this article I would like to share with you the research on resilience as it pertains to “hardiness” as a mediating variable. It seems that some of us are “hardier” than others and that this can have an effect on how we respond to a traumatic exposure.

There is no disputing the fact that not everyone develops “PTSD” following a traumatic exposure. This fact makes the study of resilience both fascinating and critical to an understanding of the human response to potentially traumatic events. In order to understand the human adaptation to a traumatic exposure it is crucial that we understand the factors of vulnerability and resilience.

Psychological investigators have delineated the difference between chronic, non-life threatening stress and acute life threatening stress: the consequences of the latter are thought to lift, upon the termination of the stressor; be sudden and impactful, triggering rapid and sudden change in physiological and emotional processes. The chronic reaction showed effects that developed over time; with physiological and emotional processes degrading over the same time; the sense of being overwhelmed and struggling to cope with the long term consequences of prolonged stress often resulting in feelings of fear.

Several studies examined trauma, resilience, and “PTSD” in relation to war, internment, civil violence, and terrorism. The results from this work suggested that both male and female veterans who scored high on “hardiness” (i.e. control, commitment, challenge) exhibited fewer symptoms of “PTSD”. Not only was “hardiness” associated with fewer symptoms, it also seemed to contribute to the subjects’ ability to establish relationships that aided in coping when symptoms were present. These results are thought to reflect the interaction between personality characteristics, coping styles, and the use of social support.

A group of studies looked at stress, and the presence of “PTSD” in veterans of the Gulf War. The data here are similar; they support the notion that as a dimension of personality, “hardiness” can reduce the effects of war-zone stress, and post-war coping with civilian stressors.

I think that’s enough for now. I imagine your heads are swimming? I’ll ask again, do you see how this post-traumatic stress phenomenon is not a one size fits all kind of thing? That is, whenever a human is exposed to a potentially traumatic stressor we do not all respond in the same way. The literature is suggesting to us that some of us are “hardier” than others. Those that seem more vulnerable lack social support, have an avoidant coping style, and a strong tendency to “self blame” (wallow in guilt?).

I’ll conclude by presenting a very interesting finding. It is well accepted that less than 30% of combat veterans manifest a lifetime occurrence of “PTSD”; in contrast, POW’s have a lifetime occurrence of 67%, suggesting that the greater the torture and weight loss during imprisonment the greater the post-traumatic symptomology. Mediating variables included pre-military trauma, personality type, age, and post-deployment social support.

Next time we’ll dig into the predictors of severity of the post-traumatic response, until then……..


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

“Bobbles”: Muchas Gracias Amigo!

Ola muchacho! (Now remember what I have been couching all of these missives in?) This is your Master Class in how to work the “stick”. This is how your opponent “Iron Mike” (not to be confused with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Iron Mike) drew the fans ($$$$$). You could use a little help. Much of the time you look like what you think a commissioner should look like, rather than being your self……whoa, not sure that would work either?

Anyhoo, to the business at hand. This time just a couple of comments in response to “RCMP culture of bullying at root of harassment allegations commissioner says.” by Peter Zimonjc (CBC News, 23/02/16). I don’t profess to be computer literate so be patient with me; however, it seems that Mr. Zimonjc was commenting on that “sighting” we had of you back in February?

It was all there again, but this time I figured out how to watch you on the little film clip that was included. It was just like watching game films. I don’t want to beat this to death but there it was, in full motion: the “professorial peek-over” of the eye-glasses (looking down on everyone?); the hand gestures as if to put your thesis in picture form for us dummies?; the “prayer position” of your hands, perhaps creating an impression of reverance?; the spinning of the wedding ring, often thought to be comforting, although in your case I am told maybe not so much?; the threatening glare to keep us at a distance?; and the cheeky shot at one member of the panel who had the audacity to ask you who victims could take their complaints to (i.e. “…..they could take them to you”, you fired at him).

I’m more interested in expanding on my comment to you (and the “polit bureau”…..better give’em a shake) regarding the technology of sexism. Largely because I think it is a concept entirely foreign to you and your minions. This concept (and please notice how serious I am, I haven’t even asked you if you have “Teddy” or “Blankie” on hand) questions whether sexuality is even the right form of analysis through which to gain the meaning of interpersonal practices such as sexual harassment (I know this is confusing for you as in your world, “we calls ’em as we sees ’em). There are a tonne of examples in a very extensive literature of sexual acts being used to promote a variety of ends including racial, religious, dominant, organizational, and persecutory.

In any case it would be an error for us to reduce the pain suffered (e.g. Catherine Galliford) by victims to the level that it is always sexual in nature. As a mental health professional, I will suggest to you that many of the perpetrators at the CPC and the subjects of the complaints of the female members’ class action (including Ms. Galliford’s aggressors) were driven by mixed and multiple motives. Moreover, there have been many cases in the media of those who have lost jobs, respect, investments, children, and self esteem in addition to their right to say no. In these cases, I suggest it is critical to focus intensely on how sex can be put to work for racial, religious, ethnic, political, psychological, or corporate (i.e. organizational) ends. I think it is intelligent and broad viewed to regard sexism as technology; and how sex as a tool can be implemented to crush men, women, femininity, masculinity, whatever sexual preference, or career (e.g. in the RCMP) regardless of the obvious sexual aspect.

So “Bobbles”, if you and the “polit bureau” are sitting there scratching your heads (or pounding on your table laughing) and asserting that “….he outlines a problem but gives no solution”, then cogitate upon this………


* Hint…..attend a session of Equine Facilitated Learning where members suffering with various posttraumatic stress issues learn to control massive horses without ever touching the horse, sitting on it, or having a rein in hand……..

Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

Thanks “Bobbles”: Great Picture!

Yo’ “Bobbles”, thanks for the picture. It couldn’t be better. I’m referring to the picture of you accompanying Alison Crawford’s piece, “Allegations of bullying, harassment emerge in RCMP’s Witness Protection Program (CBC News, 20/05/16).

Most of the stuff we went over in the last post is there! Thanks for your cooperation and assistance. (You might even suspect that Ms. Crawford and I are working together?) You’ve provided in a moment in time morphemes, kinemes, gestures, and signals.

Let’s include some context to aid in our reveal. So back in February of this year you said, “Yeah, we had [note the past tense, suggesting it doesn’t exist anymore in your mind?] a bullying problem, there is no question about that, and we are working on that, and recent events not with standing, I am here to tell you we are doing better at it”. (Note the gobbledy-gook, “we’re doing better at it”…..what the hell does that mean?…….you are doing better at bullying people?) This sort of drivel (confusion, lack of clarity?) is often associated with an unfamiliarity with the truth, I am told.

So back to the picture, there they are, the “knitted brows”. Trying to be “serious”? Displeasure with the situation? Showing disdain for someone who you believe has no business sticking her nose into your world? There’s the “professorial peek-over”, the glasses as you school someone? Hiding behind the eyeglasses? Not really present? And there’s the “lip-puff”, most often followed (I am told) by a big exhale signalling….boredom?…..disdain?…..superiority? And of course the “glower”. Your fans have suggested that this is to put people in their places?….to scare them away from the truth?… intimidate?… set limits?

All of which, I am told, is consistent with keeping us away from something that you figure we wouldn’t understand. Something that we “peons” don’t need to know. This all puts me in mind of someone you have a striking similarity to. Now this is me talking “Bobbles”, not the professional interviewers that have been interested in your performance to date….nudge-nudge-wink-wink-say-no-more-say-no-more?

Do you recall a Tom Cruise character named Colonel Nathan R. Jessup? He was a “straight up” Marine who commanded the Division at Guantanamo. He walked the “wall” and believed he kept America safe from the Communist foe. He gave a “Code Red” order to “tune up” a young Marine (Pfc. Santiago) who wasn’t up to “snuff”. Santiago was killed and Lt. Kaffee (Cruise) had Jessup on the stand. Kaffee asked for answers. Jessup responded, “You want answers?” Kaffee shot back, “I want the truth.” To this, Jessup lost it and snapped back, “You can’t handle the truth!” And then he launched into a disclosive rant that outlined how he saw the Marines, and what he did as above the law. There is some discussion that you “Bobbles”, suffer the same kind of distorted view regarding the RCMP’s place in Canadian society. Time to regroup amigo, you have lost your place in the grand scheme of things.

Once again let me refer you to Sir Robert Peel, sir. And I’ll leave you alone…..until next time?


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

“Bobbles”: The Gift That Keeps On Giving.

Yo’ “Bobbles”, guess who? Sorry for being such a pest, but you are too great a source of personal mismanagement for me to pass up. I’ll start right off by saying there are many who don’t believe you on the, “I said no three times but then caved on a less severe form of spying on journalists Joel-Denis Bellavance and Gilles Toupin” thing. These disbelievers have watched you closely and heard about too many of your manipulations of the truth (e.g. speeding tickets, the degree of your involvement in “witch hunts”, what you did and didn’t know about the CPC thing). And by the way, allowing the boys to spy on journalists, “on a limited basis” only, is sort of like only punching the assault victim once; or only being a little bit pregnant. You did it!

So here’s the deal. Not only is the consensus that you were untruthful, but I’ll try and illustrate what has given people (mostly RCMP members) the sense that you were untruthful.

Perhaps you remember that for approximately 20 years I instructed on several investigators’ courses at the Canadian Police College. The units of instruction I provided were variously titled “The Detection of Deception” and on Undercover Courses “The Techniques of Social Influence”.

I, of course, and as you would expect, am entirely in your corner, but here is what is making others uneasy about your performances. Just to put it all in perspective “Bobbles”, did you realize that with each outing you are providing between 200-5,000 bits of information per second. And only the tiniest percentage of all that data is verbal; the rest being non-verbals running from body movement to what you do with your eyes.

Your speech (i.e. sounds, words, sentence and paragraph construction) stood out for some. The smallest units of your speech (sound?), referred to as “morphs” and the largest referred to as “morphemes” really caught some of your investigators’ attention. You know, that using big words thing you do, the meaning of which you have no idea of? You seem to stumble over them regularly. Almost as if you have a coach who has no idea of how to create credibility other than to get you to tell “stories” that awkwardly fall from your mouth?

Your body movements were another area of interest to some of your better interviewers. These can be divided into “kines” (the smallest) and “kinemes” (the largest). This is an area of great potential for detecting deception as there are approximately 700,000 distinct gestures, postures, movements of arms, hands, and fingers. In North America we regularly use about 50-60 of these “kinemes” for face and head (recall here that “deer caught in the headlights” look of yours, and your penchant for “cocking” your head to either side…..feigned confusion?, interest?, surprise?, designed to mislead?)

Then there are “signals” and “gestures”. The “signal” is made with the conscious intent of communicating a particular message (e.g. the way you glare at the Senator, as if to say, “time to back off, you’re making me look bad”?). The “gestures” are movements made without conscious intent to communicate. “Bobbles”, you would make these out of your awareness and moreover, they would have become habitual behaviours by now e.g. your eyeglasses to make you look intelligent and beyond reproach?; your “scowl” used to intimidate?; the dazed (“duh, I just got here, how would I know?”) look; the lip thing (“puffing”)?, designed to look relaxed?; reaching forward (“the warm up”) designed to appear ready or relaxed?; and the clasped hands (the “reverential look”) designed to convey piety?. Your faithful observers have remarked that the forgoing seem to be your “go to” moves. All intended to make you appear honest and in control?

Your fans are also taken with your finger wagging thing (you don’t think you do…. check the films coach?). This “tell” is often associated with someone who wishes to portray himself as an authority and scare off challenges to his position. It is also thought to be used by the “authority” in the presence of “underlings” who need to be reminded of their place. Getting too close to embarrassing “the boss”?

You know those things you do with your eye-glasses i.e. the “professorial peek-over” and the gesticulating with them? There are some who think that the former is designed to intimidate others with your knowledge of whatever is being talked about; and to scare them off of the topic? The latter is often interpreted by some of your observers as you using your glasses as a weapon; to slash at your questioners and scare them off?

I admit that what is to follow is my favourite, as you provide so much data here. The eyes are the most revealing of the non-verbal behaviours. What I find so interesting here is that your eye can’t take (observe) without giving (telling). For example two parties, like you and the Senator, who are neither intimates nor total strangers would provide a good exemplar. When the Senator talks he tends to look away from you. The Senator will glance at you from time to time, usually as he pauses at the end of a phrase or sentence. When he does look at you, you respond by nodding or saying “uh-huh” to indicate you are listening.

The Senator then looks away again. His glances at you last about as long as his glances away from you. When he arrives at the end of his speaking turn, he’ll look at you for a longer time. Now you speak. The Senator begins to spend more of his time looking at you, much more than when he was talking. The next time you two meet, you’ll likely follow the same set of rules, but neither of you could elucidate the rules you followed previously.

This conversational eye traffic control makes good social sense. Looking away while talking allows you to formulate your thoughts; as looking back at the speaker signals interest. The head nodding is feedback, or at least a show of politeness. “Bobbles”, your variations from this choreography are significant (you either never learned how to do this dance or you have a hidden agenda) and might indicate a greater or lesser degree of anything from dominance to veracity? (No? Check the game films big fella’).

Not to beat the eye-glasses thing to death, but some think that constantly perching them on your nose when “on the carpet” is an attempt to avoid eye contact or to create an illusion (i.e. “I’m not really here”; “You can’t see me”). Why?

Your stare (“glower”?) is also interesting. We can stare at each other safely at around 8 feet. When we get closer it is more appropriate to cast eyes down as if to say, “I respect you enough not to make you feel uncomfortable”. When you “glower” at the Senator (or Reporter) up close and for longer than 3 seconds you may be trying to communicate something different (e.g. “Do you know who you are messing with?”; “I’m dominant here.”) and create an emotional reaction in the other?

Just one more thing about your facial expressions before we shut ‘er down for now. Of course these are culturally programmed and must be regarded in context; but that “knitting the eye brows” thing that you do…….a threat?…..a warning to tread lightly?…… a signal that you’re not very bright?……confusion?…….interviewer getting too close?

Anyhoo….time to give it a rest. I imagine the next time you know I’m watching you, you’ll be so worried about me, you’ll be like the batter that is so intent on his own process, he just freezes and couldn’t hit a beach ball! (I’m in your head aren’t I “Bobbles”? And the more you try to push me out, the more I set up house.) Until next time “Bobbles”!! (Don’t panic, it’s this kind of banter that sells tickets!). This one’s for you………


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist

Mr. Paulson: In Over His Head?

Yo’ “Bobbles”, guess who? I’m taking a break from regular programming to address more of your missteps. I just read Amanda Connolly’s piece (17/05/16) covering Commissioner Ian McPhail’s response to your denial of “muzzling” members on the Sexual Harassment issue. You gotta’ be kidding right? You can’t be that obtuse and occupy the chair you do?

It seems Mr. McPhail emailed you several weeks ago questioning why complainants should have to identify themselves to you before going to speak with him. Now let me get this straight… haven’t answered him yet? Who the hell do you think you are, you putz? That’s the government of Canada knocking on your door! “Bobbles”, I assure you that not answering the door does more to destroy the public’s faith in the Force than members exercising their legal right to complain about being sexually harassed on the job. You are exhibiting to the entire country an obnoxious “sense of entitlement” to which you are not entitled.

OK, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to “dumb down” an argument as to why sexual harassment is really a form of sexual discrimination, so you (and the rest of the “polit bureau”) can grasp it. Have you got “Teddy”? Are you sitting comfortably? No you can’t have your “soucie” just yet. After we’re finished.

Now follow this. It will give you a hint as to why you are being a naughty boy. There is a link between sexual harassment and sexual discrimination; which of course makes your recent hiring campaign look like wasted motion. In the absence of a real understanding of the above noted relationship, the RCMP (and other police services) have developed a body of sexual harassment policy that trivializes the sexual discrimination that exists in law enforcement. Are you still awake? No you can’t have “blankie” until we are finished.

In brief, the theoretical arguments behind my criticism of your sexual harassment policies are these: i) they violate formal equality principles (who did the PM just recognize?); ii) sexism is alive and well in the fact that the conduct is sexual; and iii) sexual harassment is an example of the subordination of females by males.

I’m sure this will put you over the edge but what about those marginal cases of same sex harassment? Ooooops, never thought of that did you? You see “Bobbles”, the discriminatory wrong of sexual harassment, no matter which sexes are involved, is better understood as the technology of sexism. No I’m not referring to your computer games.

I’ll underscore my point and then quit as I imagine your limited understanding of the real world is beginning to exhaust you. “Bobbo” m’boy the key issue is this: the sexism in sexual harassment lies in its’ power as a regulatory practice that feminizes women (now you’re interested huh?) and masculinizes men; rendering women as sexual objects and men as sexual subjects. The world doesn’t work that way any more. There are a multiplicity (that means lots “Bobbles”) of human sexual preferences to which a modern society must be sensitive.

I better stop as I can see your eyes are spinning and you are close to nap time. (And never forget each one of our encounters is a Master’s Class in “working the stick” to get “heat” for our upcoming match). The world has changed “Bobbles” since the old days in Chilliwack when you specialized in “sucker punching” intoxicated farm boys. You just might be out of step with the times. You’ve reached the limits of your intellectual capacity. Listen, I’ll make you a deal, c’mon out here and I’ll assist you with an orderly withdrawal so you can leave with some degree of respect from Canadians. OK, here’s your “blankie”, you were a good listener. This one is just for you……….


Dr. Mike Webster
Registered Psychologist