Montreal has asked the provincial government to make a decision on whether cities should add fluoride to water, says a member of the executive committee.
However, the city wants to see all municipalities abide by whatever the government decides.
“In September, the mayor of Montreal, Mr. Gerald Tremblay, had forwarded a letter to Mr. [Philippe] Couillard, who was the Health Minister at the time and asked him to intervene on the fluoride issue for all of the cities in Quebec,” said Sammy Forcillo, executive committee member responsible for infrastructure, the roadway system and water management. “We had nobody among us on the executive committee that had the medical knowledge to say if it is good or not to fluoridate water.”
Forcillo said the city has not yet heard back from the health ministry, adding that the decision to consult Quebec was made to settle the issue for good.
He said the issue is one of public health and should not be left up to the cities to decide.
“For Montreal, given that the scientific community, or the medical community, is very divided on the subject, we prefer that the government of Quebec, if they are considering to fluoridate water, to not do it solely for Montreal, but for all of the municipalities of Quebec,” he said, adding that the city was also reluctant to impose on the rights of residents who did not want fluoride in their water.
“Why should we put fluoride in the water when there are people that don’t want it?”
Noushig Eloyan, leader of the opposition Vision Montreal party, agreed that the provincial government should not leave such a “controversial” decision up to cities.
She cited recent examples of Scandinavian countries and Holland who no longer fluoridate their drinking water.
“So why have they decided to abandon something that they imposed also some years back?” Eloyan said.
“I’m convinced that important issues like this cannot be left to the cities to decide. It’s a public issue, it’s a public health issue so the government has to take its responsibility like they did on other matters.”
She said whatever the government decides “it’s a public health issue, therefore it has to be debated publicly.”