Many of you asked me what happened at the Senate hearing in Moncton???
Well? Guess what? I received this email a few days ago from Ottawa!!! I was surprised they would write every words of my little speech on April 21st!
Now? You must read this with a French accent and it wasn’t written before hand. I only had 4 minutes and I was not amused. I spoke from what was on my mind.
Let me warn in advance? Be prepared for a straight forward Anti Irving little speech! Enjoy nut I missed a lot of issues!
I might add that none of my presentation was printed in any of the Irving's Newspapers! I wonder why??...lol
Mr. Charles LeBlanc, As an individual:
I just want to apologize. I am what you call a blogger, so I was in and out on the computer down the hallway. There are hundred people in the information Highway who want to know what is going on in here?.
I have a point of concern before I start.
I made a phone call about a month ago or two months ago, I said that I wanted to make a presentation.
In the past, I made presentations in front of standing committees in New Brunswick.
They told me yesterday I only have four minutes.
I was disallowed to make a presentation like everybody else. Could you tell me why?
The Chairman: Essentially, sir, the problem is we only have a little over a day and a half. We would like to have more; we would like to have a week, but we do not.
Mr. LeBlanc: Who chooses these people?
The Chairman: The Steering Committee of the Transport and Communications Committee has spent a long time looking at all the long list of witnesses, and I am very sorry if you feel you have not been treated justly, but we are doing the best we can.
Mr. LeBlanc: I just wanted to go on record because I was told this morning that B.C. has four minutes, and also New Brunswick. You cannot compare the population of New Brunswick to B.C. I mean there is more media, there are more newspapers in B.C. than here. Here we have a major problem because we only have one major owner.
But I have ADHD, attention deficit hyperactive disorder. I like to take my time on issues, but this morning I apologize for the way I am. I hitchhiked a ride from Fredericton. Sorry, I should take my hat off, but I hitchhiked from Fredericton to be here. So I just want to go on record that I have been, as the Senator from Sackville knows, that I have been very outspoken. I am the most outspoken citizen in this province for this issue. So what I will try to do, I would like to relax so I can concentrate on the issue at hand, but I have four minutes.
The Chairman: I will give you five minutes, how is that?
Mr. LeBlanc: Thank you very much.
The Chairman: Because you hitchhiked all the way here.
Mr. LeBlanc: I hitchhiked, yes, and believe me, I had to listen to two drivers who were complaining about what I am talking about. They agree with me 100 per cent.
Okay, here we go and I will try to put everything that I can. I hate to rush, but when I was told yesterday four minutes, I said, “Oh my God, that is almost impossible.”
I was born in Memramcook. I lived in Saint John for 18 years.
I have worked at the Irving Shipyard, and I am now living in Fredericton.
I started to write letters to the editor l’Évangéline, that is a French paper, and I enjoy writing.
I enjoy spreading my views with other people. I have a column in the River Valley News.
It has not been Irving bought yet, maybe, I do not know why? Maybe it’s because the Irvings knows what is going on through this paper.
That is why they are not buying it. I am allowed to write anything I want. I will leave you a copy.
It is a bi-weekly paper that is NOT owned by Irving.
During the frigate program, I was very well-known in Saint John to write my letters to the editor.
I wrote and got printed 500 letters to the editor. Not too many people in this province can say that.
If I wrote letters supporting the Irvings, they would turn around and say, “Oh, what a suck-up.” If I wrote against them, they would say, “Hey, don’t you know who your boss is?”
Well, on both sides, I could have vent, but I had the right to condemn the Irvings, had the right to praise the Irvings.
Then the Telegraph Journal, then something happened, I was working for a company, then I had a protest going on in front of the Golden Ball and the next thing you know there was a story in the Evening Times Globe stating that Charles LeBlanc was fired three times.
That was not true, and they allowed me to write a little letter to the editor, but the damage had already been done by Saint Johners to know the truth.
That is how the Irvings run it.
We heard a lot about Jamie Irving.
Jamie Irving is a nice kid.
I met Jamie, a very nice guy.
When I found out he was the editor, the publisher of the King’s County Record -- I am talking fast because I only have four minutes, I am trying, there are some many issues -- when I found out that Jamie was the publisher of the King’s County Record, I said “Okay, he is a good kid.”
Then I walked by through McAllister Place and then I saw a used picture on the King’s County Record, “J.D. Irving Sawmill record production.”
On the front page of the King’s County Record, that should have been in the workplace.
What was it doing on the front page of the King’s County Record that J.D. Irving Sawmill produced record products?
Then there was a big pollution spill in West Saint John on Christmas day. I wrote a letter to the editor about it. It was denied.
So I do not know what was going on? There were changes made. I made a complaint to the Atlantic Press Council and what happened, Ken Simms from Halifax was surprised once I told him I wrote 500 letters to the editor.
He said “500?” “My God,” he said “there is a procedure here. Then suddenly they stop. We will investigate this.”
So Peter Haggard, he is from Ontario, he is the publisher of the Telegraph Journal.
He called me and he told me, “We will not print critical letters of the Irvings by former employees.” So I turned around and I said, “Okay, so that means if there are 6,000 people in the shipyard that are former employees, they cannot write letters in the paper.”
Then, Rob Link from the Evening Times Globe, I wrote a letter, he told me, “We have to investigate what you wrote.” I said, “Investigate? I wrote 500 letters to the editor. Why do you suddenly have to investigate?”
In the summer of year 2003, Peter Haggard from the Telegraph Journal, wrote a column and told the readers, “We will only print one letter by one writer on any issues once a month.”
So I was shocked.
Now, they are stopping people from writing letters to the paper?
Three weeks later they announced that Saint John ShipBuilding was closed.
So, those three regular writers that wrote about the shipyard, they had their say, then they had to wait a whole month.
I mean, that is not right.
New Brunswickers’ rights are being denied, and that is what I am very concerned about.
In the summer of 2003, I decided to set up a tent in front of the legislature and I was protesting against the use of Ritalin for ADHD, stopping young kids, five years old, from being forced on these drugs, and next thing you know, it took 50 days for the press, the Daily Gleaner, to cover this story.
The Irving press never covered this story.
We are not talking about a tent that was in a cow field. On parle pas de une tente dans un parc a vache?
It was in front of the legislature.
The citizens of Fredericton -- I am sorry I am talking so fast, I am just going fast -- the citizens of Fredericton were wondering, “How come we have never seen this in the Gleaner?”
It took 50 days.
So what happened, suddenly, they stole my tent.
To make a long story short, I got good coverage at the end, but it took 50 days.
I turned around and came here to Champlain Place to collect names for my petition.
I collected 10,000 signatures and the Acadians, les Acadiens, they knew who I was because l’Acadie Nouvelle covered this story totally.
The Moncton Transcript, they never did. The English side. See, this is what I am talking about.
The Chairman: I do not like having to cut anybody off.
Mr. LeBlanc: It is a damn shame.
The Chairman: I do not like it; we do not like it. But you are not the only one that we need to hear from.
Mr. LeBlanc: No, I made a presentation.
Senator Trenholme Counsell: Mr. LeBlanc, I think there is no doubt that in the end you have made a very important point about Ritalin and ADHD, but your main frustration in this case, and I do not want to go back regarding your employment with the Irvings and all those other things. I know you as a person who has taken a very strong and valid and important position on ADHD. Do you feel satisfied in the end? It is like Terry Fox, you do not get recognition right away. Do you feel now that you have achieved your goal?
Mr. LeBlanc: No, I understand your question, but like I said, I had to speak so fast.
It had nothing to do if I reached my goal on Ritalin. My goal for freedom of speech, that is the problem.
When you have Frank McKenna come to me when I was protesting, I met him in Fredericton, I have known him for a long time, he came to me and he said, “Charles, how come we have not seen any letters from you lately?”
It is the freedom of speech.
I do not want to compare the Irvings to this province to Germany.
We do not go around and execute people.
But do not forget, when Hitler took power, he took power of the media.
The media here, they call it Brunswick News, It’s call Irving News.
I mean, my issue of Ritalin, okay, did I succeed? I do not know, but this is not the point.
The point is to have people, New Brunswickers, be allowed the freedom of speech and they are denied big time.
Like I said, I wish I could have made my presentation in whole.
We were talking about advertising. I heard one person from the Telegraph Journal say, “If you do not pay your bills, we own all the newspapers.” The Senate, this committee must - see, I am just trying to answer a question and trying to get some more comments in here.
Quickly, the Irvings gave St. Thomas University $1 million to study journalism, to train journalists. Why did the Irvings give $1 million to St. Thomas and l’Université de Moncton? These people, when they go out, they are not going to write critical stories of the Irvings.
Look, it is freedom of speech.
The Chairman: Mr. LeBlanc, I am going to give Senator Munson a chance to ask a question if he wants, but I am also going to ask you please, because we are running out of time, but you do a blog so, you know how to do email. Could you send us a letter outlining your difficulties? In the meantime, I will undertake tomorrow, when we have representatives of Brunswick News here, to ask if they have a written policy on letters to the editor.
Senator Munson: If there is another message you want to give us, I would certainly accept that. I would throw out the easy question for you if you missed one or two things in a minute or so.
Mr. LeBlanc: I really appreciate that.
One thing that I was concerned of is that during the 1997 federal election, J.K. Irving wrote a letter to the editor and it was printed on the front page. I did not know what was going on, but maybe it was good because Paul Zed lost. Maybe that is why he lost because J.K. Irving told the public to vote for his son-in-law, but we will never know. The question is still there.
I was allowed a week later to condemn J.K. in his letters to the editor, and I have seen him face to face and trust me, he just looked at me and said, “I own the paper and I will put the damn letter anywhere I want to.”
But anyhow, that is his point. But the bottom line is, personally I respect the Irvings.
I respect J.K. Jack, Arthur, Kenneth and Jamie but James???
James Irving, J.K. Irving’s son, is totally out of control.
He’s like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons. “I will crush you with my bare hands.”
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. LeBlanc. You made your point for us here.
Mr. LeBlanc: My blog is Charles LeBlanc, ADHD.
The Chairman: Thanks very much.
(French follows - continuing with The Chairman -- J’invite ...)