“I was reminded last week of the social critic and stand-up comedian George Carlin. He was quoted as saying about causes that “Just because the monkey got off your back, doesn’t mean the circus has left town.”
Emotions ran high last week when city council debated the merits of possibly ending London’s fluoridation of water supplies. They hit their lowest point when councillors discovered material left on their desks linking the use of fluoride to Hitler’s death camps, to subdue and sterilize inmates.
It quickly became apparent the material was not from one of the opponents in the galleries, but from one of their own, Coun. Steve Orser. Orser did apologize to councillors offended by his action, but said it was sparked by his interest in such issues because his father had been a prisoner-of-war. The final vote was 10-5 in support of the ongoing use of fluoride.
However, it wasn’t the first time opponents have called for the end of fluoride in water supplies, and it assuredly won’t be the last. Causes which stir deep emotion, particularly those which may affect health, have the staying power of a game of whack-a-mole. You knock it down here, it pops up over there seemingly immediately.
In a bid to upload a major headache, council recommended the province of Ontario be asked to rule on use of fluoride on a provincial basis, removing it as a municipal issue.
It was much the same 84 years ago when a Southwestern Ontario native, the late Liberal Premier Mitch Hepburn, pushed through legislation to mandate the pasteurization of any milk sold in the province. The colourful premier took his stance in the face of tremendous opposition by his own base, the agricultural voters in the province. Major cities already were required to pasteurize milk.
Health officials took Hepburn on a tour of a tuberculosis ward in Toronto, advising him none of the children with Bovine TB came from Toronto, but from smaller rural communities. He was told that passing a provincewide requirement for pasteurization, could empty the children’s ward of patients in the future. He reportedly replied, “Done!”…”