KITCHENER — A bitter court battle stemming from the 2010 fluoride referendum in Waterloo ended quietly Friday with a minor admission of wrongdoing by the Ontario Dental Association.
The association pleaded guilty in a Kitchener courtroom to failing to register as a referendum participant before incurring “minor expenses” related to a public forum on the controversial issue.
That technically violated election financing rules under the Ontario Municipal Act.
Similar charges against two dentists who took part in the June 2010 forum — Dr. Harry Hoediono and Dr. Ira Kirshen — were withdrawn after the association itself admitted guilt.
The association was given a suspended sentence and did not receive a fine or any other penalty.
The charges were laid privately by activist Robert Fleming, who led a successful effort to remove fluoride from the city’s drinking water. A prosecutor later took up and pursued the case.
The dental association urged continued fluoridation as a public health measure to prevent cavities.
Residents of Waterloo voted 50.3 per cent in favour of ending fluoridation and city politicians respected the referendum results by doing so.
The legal fight between Fleming and the association included allegations of intimidation and smear tactics.
Fleming said the association’s guilty plea means justice has been “partially served.”