Since the instructions on the forms seem clear to Gary, he cannot imagine why a claimant would understand them differently. Claimants have sometimes been able to help Gary to understand why they interpreted the instructions the way that they did.
Gary also thinks that he asks clear and straightforward questions. Claimants have sometimes been able to help Gary to understand why they found his question confusing.
Svetlana, Jamal and Araceli understood differently than Gary the instruction on the BOC form to “include everything that is important.” Svetlana explained to Gary that she had provided two examples of the ways that her husband had hurt her. She had never imagined that she was expected to describe every single occasion during the many years of their marriage. She had thought that these two examples would be enough to show the Board why she was afraid to go home. She had figured that if the member believed her, he would understand the danger that she faced. If he did not, then giving him more examples would not have helped anyway. Jamal explained that he had assumed that the instruction on the BOC form to “include everything that is important” meant that he should provide a summary of his experiences. After all, he could not possibly describe every time that he had been harassed, threatened or attacked. Araceli wrote that she had been threatened, and she knew that she would be able to describe these threats in more detail during her hearing. She explained to Gary that she thought that the fact that she was threatened was what was important, and that she would be able to tell him more details in person. Lester explained that he had understood the requirement to discuss any danger facing “you and your family” to be referring to his immediate family. He had been focused on telling his own story and had overlooked the reference in the instructions to “persons in situations similar to yours.
Mamun and Pia ran into trouble because of how they filled out the biographical data sections of their forms. Mamun had not included his aunt’s address in his list of addresses because the form asked him to list all the addresses where he had “lived,” and he had figured that he was only staying temporarily at his aunt’s house, not living there. All his belongings and his furniture were at his home, his mail was being delivered to his home, his telephone and internet service was still connected. During this period, Mamun explained to Gary, he still thought of his home as the place where he “lived,” even though for a time he was forced to stay elsewhere. Pia explained that she had simply not paid precise enough attention to the dates when she was filling out the form. She had not realized how important this information would be.
Gary asked Angela “Why do you think that your father is still looking for you?” because he wanted to know what reasons she had for thinking that her father was still looking for her. But Angela understood his question differently. She thought that he was asking her to tell him about her father’s motivation: what reasons he had for wanting to find her. When Angela realized what Gary had meant, she explained to him what she had thought that he was asking.
When Farzad realized what had happened, he explained to Gary that he must have misunderstood, that he had thought that Gary had been asking him about the second arrest. Gary did not seem to accept this explanation. Gary thought that his questions had been very clear. But because Farzad had raised the issue, after the hearing Gary listened to the recording of the hearing and then he understood why Farzad had been confused.
When Gary asked Zoya, “Why did you come to Canada?” he wanted her to explain why she had left her country. She thought that he was asking her to explain why, when she had had to flee, she had chosen to come to Canada rather than to some other country. When Zoya realized what Gary had meant, she explained to him how she had understood his question.