Tuesday, September 25, 2007
STORIES FROM MY SIX MONTHS PROTEST IN FRONT OF THE NEW BRUNSWICK LEGISLATURE!!!!
This is my second week (July 7th), and I had a good weekend. I decided to hit the streets with my petition. I made a huge mistake by not starting the petition earlier.
It was good! I collected approximately 250 names!
On July 8th, I wrote that the situation was starting to get good since I started to hit the street with my petition. I would stay close to my tent and wait for someone to come and chat with me. I could sit
on my chair for and just watch the people walking by
on the sidewalk.
I finally decided, that if people weren't going to come to me that I would go to them!
So, with my big, ADD/ADHD mouth, that's exactly what I did.
My speeches started out long, but this time around I learned quickly that people are in a rush with their own lives! So, I learned a hard, fast lesson that I would have to shorten my speeches in
order to get the people to hear me. So, I was getting straight to the point.
I found that the young kids really do understand the issue of ADHD in the school system. I collected over 300 names while being near my tent, but, something told me that they amount would begin to
Especially, with being on the streets, and talking with those kids.
I must admit that it was very hard on my throat, but, for the kids I thought that to be a small sacrifice. I must continue the battle. It is a known fact that people with this disorder have a hard time
shutting up, therefore this was the perfect job for me.
Now that I read my updates, I see that my approach sure did change a lot from the early days when I had just begun. I had my columns from the River Valley News in hand. The reason that I carried all my
columns was to prove to the public that I was the real
deal. So, they shouldn't fear signing their names,
street, city or town.
I must have printed out 5,000 copies during my protest. Once the media began to cover my story, my task had become much easier.
Some people told me that kids would sign anything. Trust me, when I tell you, this is not true.
I remember a conversation that I had with a young person. He took 15 minutes to read my column. I told him that he could take it home with him, but he insisted that that he read it right beside me.
Afterwards, he asked me all kinds of questions. This went on for about 20 minutes. After this long debate, he finally decided to sign my petition.
At first, I was very patient with the public. But little did I know then, that I would need to become a little more straightforward in the future. The people would wish to debate with me, but I would answer-
"Hey! Maybe some people believe that drugs are okay
for children. But, I don't have the time to lower
myself to the people who agree with this logic." Then,
I would carry on to my next victim.
On July 9th, there was no media coverage, and I had to get my message out. Since my days in Saint John, I would write my columns
for the River Valley News and send it to different people. I had my own e-mail list of people whom I would send it to. But, I was curious. I had to know if the public was following my updates, and if they were
interested in my columns?
Or would they just discard them when they discovered them in their mail boxes?
Were people even interested in my protest?
On July 8th, I sent this little note over the net. " I have deleted all of your e-mail addresses from my list because my list is growing." I did this every 3 months or so. "
Anyhow if you wish to continue reading my views on different issues, or my on going battle with the government during my protest in front
of the legislature then, YOU MUST REPLY TO THIS
NOTE!!! If not then, don't reply and thank you for
reading so far. A la prochaine!"
I was very surprised with the amount of reprisals that I would receive during the next following days.
This would give me the strength that I needed to continue.
I had just received my 300th signature in approximately, two and a half days. Think about it, this is just while standing on a street corner! Of course there were many government employees who could not sign their names for their fear of losing their
jobs and being fired.
There was a new paper that came out in June. It's an independent paper like the one in Saint John. Let's pray that they would do a story on me and my protest.
I needed to get the message out to the public and that was an impossible task for me to accomplish with the Irvings owning all the papers.
I always went to the soup kitchen at 5:00pm. I could have gone to that needy place twice a day and eat all that I wanted to if I chose. However, it was my goal to stick close to the legislature.
One day at the soup kitchen, I noticed that the staff was giving out lunches to the needy. I asked George Pierce if I could have a lunch. He told me that they were doing this kind gesture for the working
poor. But since I was a protester for the kids, he allowed me a lunch as well.
He knew that I never went to the soup kitchen in the afternoon, so he allowed me to pick up my lunch when I went for my supper. It always gave me more energy to confront the public the next day, on the
emotional issue of ADD/ADHD.
In the middle of July, it was very hot. I often found myself at the brink of fainting. Across the street was the Art Gallery; the staff there treated me very well. I would run across the street and down the
stairs of the building is where I would fill my jug of water.
Once I returned, and was back on the grounds of the legislature, I would pour the water over my head.
My God! Did it ever used to feel good!
As a former cyclist who traveled across the desert of Texas on my ten speed bike, I knew what my limit was. So, I didn't want to over do it.
Often, my spirits were low. I would have much rather sitting down by a scenic lake, enjoying a couple of icy cold beers. Wouldn't that have been nice? However, I could never have risked that during
my protest. If the staff at the legislature had ever smelled alcohol on my breath I would've been out of there, and forced to leave.
Every morning I would go into the doors of the legislature and ask Andre who was the commissionaire, if the premier had left me a message. And everyday, he would respond with a small sympathetic smile, "Sorry Charles, No message yet."
We always had a good laugh over that daily meeting.
At that point, I had been there for over a month, but the premier still refused to acknowledge me. Why was he doing that anyhow? Frank McKenna would have been to see me on my first day!
On July 9th, I collected my 400th name. I was only seeing Liberals around my tent. But, then again they're very smart! They knew that they would have to go by my tent if they wished to go anywhere near the legislature. Very unlike the PC's who could just use
the side door and ignore my protest and me altogether!
However the Liberals weren't fortunate enough to be struck by the same lining of luck.
They were very intelligent with the manner in which they would treat me as well. While they walked slowly towards the legislature, they would see me on the front steps of the legislature, and they would
prepare for another story from Charles.
They all acted in the same manner, while they were slowly walking towards me on the steps of the legislature, they would acknowledge me and continue walking as they responded to my questions.
Bernard Richard, Shawn Graham and T.J. Burke all acted professionally in their line of work. They kept on talking until I was no longer in their sight.
I always told them that they acted like they were people
Little did they or I will know that in the future T.J. and myself would lock horns about this very remark.
I told T.J. that he had ADHD and he didn't appreciate that little remark in the very least.
On July 10th, I have 434 signatures. I wasn't in the mood to protest and I didn't feel much like talking. This day should have gone down in history, because my mouth isn't shut too often.
It was cold last night. The temperature went down to something like 6 or 8. Maybe this is the reason that I caught that cold, who knows?
I couldn't find any one with any Tylenol, but, that's the life of a protester, and the battle still had to continue.
On July 11th, I collected 500 signatures, I thought that was pretty good! Here I was a perfect stranger to this city, and it's full of civil servants. Many young native youths from different reserves around the province had brought to my attention their major
problems with the use of Ritalin on the reserves.
Hundreds of voters agree with me, but, they are forced
to refrain from signing my petition because of their
fear of losing their jobs. I have to admit, it would
be a cold day in hell before I would be fired from my
job because I signed a petition on an issue that I
On July 14th, I wrote this little newsflash in huge letters from the capital. "NEWS FLASH FROM CHARLES IN FREDERICTON! AT EXACTLY, 1:30PM TODAY, I HAD MY FIRST VISIT FROM A P.C. MLA! JUST SHORT OF MY 3 WEEKS WITHOUT TALKING TO A PC ABOUT
ADD/ADHD! HIS NAME IS JODY CARR AND HE'S YOUNG. I
MIGHT ADD THAT I DROVE THE GUY KOO KOO FOR 45 MINUTES.
I MADE UP FOR LOST TIME, I GUESS. HEY! MAYBE, THEY'RE
STARTING TO PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!! WHO KNOWS?
I have heard a lot of stories about this young politician. It was a real honor to have met him. He won the provincial election by 4,000 votes. Therefore, this sent me a message that he was a nice guy.
Bernard Lord almost lost the election a few months before. A
man that won by such a big majority should have been appointed to the cabinet. For the life of me, I couldn't understand Bernard's thinking by not appointing this honest guy.
On July 18th, I had 690 signatures, and was closing in very quickly on
700. I might add that last evening Trevor Holder bought me a large double double coffee from Tim's. Not bad! two P.C.'s in 24 hours.
The weekend of July 21st, I didn't feel like confronting the public on the issue of ADHD. I sat under a tree and read a book and
Someone suggested that I travel to the North Shore to continue the petition. I didn't think that would be a good idea, because it would take money to travel, which I didn't have.
This is my 28th day of my protest and since I chatted with Bernard
Lord on Thursday, I never heard back from him, again.
I also had a chat with one of those evil bureaucrats last night and he told me that it wasn't them who ran this province but the party in power.
The bureaucrat told me that Bernard Lord should tell me
the reason that he changed his mind on the issue of
ADHD and Ritalin since he became Premier.
I got to ask him that question when I saw him. Little did any one
know that I would have many confrontations with Bernard during my protest.
On July 22th, I wrote that the atmosphere was getting a little bad at the legislature. I almost told off a commissionaire, but,
decided that I should remain cool.
You have to understand that not everybody is always going to agree
with everybody else and their views. No one thinks the
same and I've thanked god for that one.
However, I've thought since that if they did, what a boring life it
The commissionaires were in a friendly group of people, but, there would be a couple of people who I couldn't stand and they felt the same about me.
I won't go into detail, but, it could have turned out like last year when I blew my temper with a Quebecer who was very rude with me!
I noticed lately that if someone is really rude towards me, I quickly tell
them off in a very short but stern matter.
On this day, once again, someone stole my chair. For the
life of me, I can't understand why someone would walk
around with a big, white lawn chair.
Hey! Maybe it was those evil bureaucrats playing games.
I had to sit on the steps of the legislature. I really hated to
do this but where else was I going to sit? I mean it might be the Quebecers house inside, but I feel that I have the right! I really do hate to sit there because I don't want to be in the way of everyone.
Hey! There's a reason for everything.