The case is proceeding against the Ontario Dental Association and two former presidents of the organization accused of contravening the Ontario Municipal Elections Act during the run up to the fluoridation referendum in 2010.
Justice Arthur Child ruled last week against a motion to dismiss the case, and it is set to go to trial Nov. 13 in Provincial Offences Court. Child will preside over the case, and in his judgment last week ruled that the validity of the evidence against the Ontario Dental Association, and past-presidents Dr. Harry Hoediono and Dr. Ira Kirshen, is best decided before that court.
Defence attorney Murray Stieber, acting on behalf of the ODA, made the motion to dismiss last December arguing the charges were “frivolous and vexatious.” Stieber produced a sworn affidavit by Hoediono, a local dentist, saying he was intimidated during the referendum by anti-fluoridation activists. He argued the campaign of intimidation continued with the charges.
The incident stems from a June 17, 2010, public debate Hoediono and Kirshen attended in Waterloo where they provided materials printed by the ODA in support of water fluoridation. Robert Fleming, executive director of WaterlooWatch and the elected president of Canadians Opposed to Fluoridation claimed the ODA, Hoediono and Kirshen failed to file a notice of registration before campaigning as a candidate for the fluoride question.
He swore out a charge that the parties contravened the act by proposing to incur expenses with respect to a question on the municipal ballot and hadn’t properly registered to do so in time.
Provincial prosecutor Ralph Cotter decided to proceed with the charge in July of 2010. The motion to dismiss, made in Dec. 14 was put over to Feb. 6, and delayed again until a decision to go ahead with the case was made by Child on Aug. 27. There are four dates that have been set aside for the trial in Provincial Offences Court in Kitchener including Nov. 13, Dec. 18, Dec. 19 and Dec. 21.
It is unclear who will proceed with the case on behalf of the ODA and the two dentists named. Cotter will continue with the prosecution and declined to comment further on the details of the case as the matter is still before the court.
“I’m pleased that things are moving ahead to trial, where the merits of the case will be heard and the evidence will be weighed,” said Fleming, who brought the original charge as a private citizen. “This is a precedent-setting case.”