Anti-fluoride crusaders in Owen Sound are crying fowl over the Municipal Elections Act and how the rules they have to follow, do not apply to the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
Members of “Fluoridation Free Owen Sound” were told October 7th that it is illegal to distribute buttons and other anti-fluoride materials because they failed to register their opposition before September 12th.
[This is the button they distributed. Photo by Denis Langlois.]
On the ballot for the Municipal election next Monday, Owen Sound residents will decide whether to continue putting fluoride in the water system.
According to Clerk Kristen Van Alphen, the requirement to register was posted on the city web site in April as part of the Municipal election information.
According to the Municipal elections act, groups expecting to incur expenses with respect to a question on the ballot must file with the clerk.
Member Marjorie Shu tells Bayshore Broadcasting news violating the act can result in a fine of up to 25 thousand dollars.
However, the same municipal act apparently doesn’t apply to the Health Unit which has been encouraging residents to keep fluoride in Owen Sound’s drinking water.
City Clerk Kristen Van Alphen says her read of the Act indicates that Boards cannot register their support or opposition, and the Health Unit would be considered a board.
Marjorie Shu says if Fluoridation Free Owen Sound knew about the requirement to register they would have, but they only learned of it this month.
She also complains that signs posted in the city by her group have been taken down.
Van Alphen says it is not the city that is removing those signs, and it would not be up to City hall to take any group to task for violating the Municipal Act.
The City Clerk says both the Health Unit and the anti-fluoride group probably should get legal advice about how the Municipal Act affects them.