Fluoride Action Network

Calgary editorial: Kick in the teeth

Source: Calgary Sun | January 30th, 2011
Location: Canada, Alberta

We just have one word for members of council who appear so eager to toss aside the will of the people.


That is “a system of government by the whole population … typically through elected representatives.”

At least, that’s the way we always thought it was supposed to work.

But it appears some deep thinkers on city council have other ideas.

A cabal of aldermen, led by Ald. Druh Farrell, have led the charge to stop fluoridating our water.

This week, they even rejected an offer by the University of Calgary faculty of medicine to form an advisory panel to review the arguments and studies — pro and con — about fluoridation.

Instead, despite the opinions of doctors and medical officials from Alberta Health Services that fluoride is safe and effective at fighting cavities — the city’s utilities committee voted to get rid of it.

The matter still must go before council, where a majority of aldermen appear to support the move.

We’re not sure where the impetus to ban fluoride comes from.

There has been no great hue and cry that we know about.

We suspect more Calgarians worry about what they’re going to have for supper than they do about the fluoride in their drinking water.

Nonetheless, the majority of Calgarians voted in a plebiscite in 1989 to add the cavity fighting substance to our water.

In 1998, a small but vocal group of fluoride fighters forced another plebiscite, but Calgarians again voted to keep adding fluoride to our water.

The unilateral decision by these city aldermen is a kick in the teeth to Calgarians.

No matter how you feel about fluoride, there’s a much more important issue at play now.

That is, a small group of politicians don’t have the right to overturn a decision made by a majority of voters — not once, but twice.

The decision won’t be finalized before it goes before a full meeting of council.

If wiser heads prevail, the fluoridation issue should go to another plebiscite — where Calgarians can vote on it.

The anti-fluoridation crew should have more confidence in Calgarians to make sound decisions on issues that affect their own health.

Farrell told reporters fluoride must go because Calgarians “have a fear, whether it’s based in reality or not.” She believes Calgarians should have a choice about whether something is added to the water or not.

That she doesn’t appear to believe Calgarians should also have the right to make a choice at the ballot box verges on sheer hypocrisy