Remember the little presentation I gave to the Senate over one month ago? I just received the transcript from Ottawa!!!!
Thank you all for coming. Much appreciated.
Senators, we have one walk-on today, Mr. Charles LeBlanc?
Mr. LeBlanc, we appreciate your coming and being with us. I know you have a statement and we will probably have time for one or two questions before we have to catch a plane. Go ahead with your statement. Thank you very much.
Mr. Charles LeBlanc, As an individual: I am glad to hear that I was supposed to appear at 4 o’clock.
Senator Trenholme, nice to see you again. This is twice in front of Senate and you are here. I shook my head I said, “Oh my gosh, she has to listen to me for another four minutes.” I just want to go on record, I was told that you will not be asking question with my presentation?
The Chairman: We will ask one or two because we have got time. Normally we do not. It is a function, frankly, of time.
Mr. LeBlanc: Well, I thought because it was mental illness that I was not intelligent enough to answer the question. That is why I was concerned.
The Chairman: No, when we did this with business guys on bank mergers it was the same thing. So, no, no.
Mr. LeBlanc: Okay. No problem. So you saw how I acted the last time. Four minutes, can I do it? Did I do well the last time? Now, I got to go fast. Four minutes.
The Chairman: Okay, away you go.
Mr. LeBlanc: I was born in Memramcook and brought up in Saint John.
I found out six years ago that I have ADHD. I wrote a column in the Reader and the Telegraph Journal in Saint John. After that column appeared I received about 40 phone calls from parents who were crying on the phone how their kids were treated in the school system. I have no kids of my own. Thank God for that. I contacted Bernard Lord and I said to Bernard, I said, “Listen Bernard, as leader I have got to talk to you about the issue of Ritalin.” He said, “Charlie, I know there is a major problem, I get so many phone calls at my office in my Moncton East. Once we get in power we are going to study the issue.” He got elected Premier and then after that he goes, “Ritalin, what are you talking about Charlie? There is not a problem.”
So what happened is when I found I had ADHD I worked for the Irvings. The Irvings hired me for a construction company. Then I had to go for a urine test. You know, they check for drugs and all that. I told them - I am talking very fast, I am very sorry, I have got to hurry up. So anyhow what happened they turned around and they checked for drugs. I told them I do not take drugs. I said, “I am on Ritalin; I have ADHD.”
I expected them to say, “What you are one of them? My God you are full of energy, come on join the team.” They said that I was not allowed to learn a trade or anything else.
I am going fast. I am very sorry. I only got four minutes. This is such a big, big problem.
I made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission of New Brunswick. They faxed a memo; I got the memo right here. I do not have time to read it, but they said that I am limited because I told them I had ADHD, and I was on Ritalin, I was limited. I was not allowed to learn a trade. I was paid the lowest wages than everybody else, and I was not allowed to drive a car.
Now what happened, the Human Right Commission in New Brunswick, which is a big farce here in this province, excuse my language, they said that people with ADHD are limited, close to mental retardation. That is a big lie.
People with ADHD are highly intelligent.
So in 2002, I went on a hunger strike in front of the legislature for 12 days. Then the government did not want to have a study to study the issue of Ritalin. The year 2003, I sent up a tent and I stayed in the tent in front of the legislature for six months.
You know that, Marilyn? Anyhow I turned around, I collected 10,000 names that said that I agree -- this is not funny. I got two girls inside behind there just laughing their head off.
The Chairman: They are interpreting. They are having trouble.
Mr. LeBlanc: I mean, I am distracted.
The Chairman: Please continue.
Mr. LeBlanc: Is it funny what I am saying? I mean, I only got four minutes.
The Chairman: You were talking quickly and they were trying to interpret it.
Mr. LeBlanc: I know, but what can I do?
The Chairman: Just continue with your statement, please.
Mr. LeBlanc: People with ADHD are easily distracted. That is what I am getting at. You have inclusion in the classroom. You have autism, ADHD and MS, all in the same classroom. Kids with ADHD are easily distracted with all the noise. That is why inclusion does not work in this province.
I collected 10,000 names with a sign that said “I agree that Ritalin is over-prescribed in this province.” Citizens of New Brunswick asked for a study on this issue.
I hear during the protest that kids were labelled no less idiots, stupid, when they are taking Ritalin. That is sad. Some kids do need it. Let’s face the facts here. But if you take it you are labelled.
Under the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, a decision held behind closed doors, if you take Ritalin, you are close to mental retardation, and that is not right.
I hear these stories on the street. I was in a tent, you know that. And I turn around and I hear of kids who were forced to take Ritalin and after that they go onto stronger drugs like pain killers and all that. These kids are highly intelligent.
Bill Gates has ADD. Vince McMann from the WWF, you must have heard of him, I mean, he went on 60 Minutes. He said that he has ADHD. Only an ADHD brain will come out with a soap opera, they come out on the wrestling.
I mean, his mind is always going. Bill Clinton has ADD. Do not tell me he does not have it, he cannot shut up and they pay him millions, you know. I mean that is the bottom line.
These politicians in Ottawa and here in Fredericton, if you see them act on the floor, they refuse to take the Ritalin. They all have ADHD. Here in New Brunswick, it is cheaper to drug our kids than to treat them with dignity.
Two more points and I am done.
I hear that there are people on social assistance who are taking an upgrading class and there are 22 parents in that classroom. All their kids are on Ritalin. What is happening is the majority of the poor people in this province, it is called a double blind study, you go through the psychologue, I cannot say it in French? Thank you. I cannot say that word.
The pharmacist, the psychologue and the teacher.
One day the pharmacist gave a vitamin pill and the other day he gives a Ritalin, and they all mark it down, how was the attitude of the child? But unfortunately that cost $1,400 and there is a lot of poor people that cannot afford that. So what do they do?
Like Dr. Furlong used to be the Minister of Health and Education and he told me, “Ritalin is not over-prescribed, it is over- diagnosed. It is too easy to be diagnosed with ADHD.”
Ritalin is a problem across Canada. The drugging and the killing of our children must come to a stop. That is what I have to say.
The Chairman: Mr. LeBlanc, thank you very much for coming. In fact, we will not have time for questions because there is a second walk-on. Am I correct?
Chief Susan Levi-Peters, As an individual: Yes, but I will only take one minute.
The Chairman: That is fine.
Mr. LeBlanc: I do not think she has ADHD, so she only has one minute.
The Chairman: Thank you very much for coming. Much appreciated.