The race in Waterloo’s Ward 3 is between incumbent Angela Vieth and last minute challenger Michael Gagnon.
Gagnon is a self-styled “regular guy”. And I have to say, I’m grateful to him for running. Throwing yourself into the political arena is tough. Acclamations are bad for democracy, so I think he has done his community a service by running, and I’m thankful.
However, with no website and not much of a message, he isn’t posing much of a challenge to Vieth. He did submit a response to TriTAG’s candidate survey (wheras Vieth didn’t), but his answers could be expanded upon…
This blog endorses Angela Vieth for Waterloo Ward 3
I’m not just voting for her by default, either. I’ve met Angela and think she’s done good work for the ward. She’s an environmentalist and I like that. She performed well at the city council meetings I’ve attended. I’m happy to elect her for another term.
One thing that’s raised some eyebrows amongst some friends, however, is her push for a plebiscite on water fluoridation, which is going ahead in this election.
So I’ve had to think about this. All in all, I’ve had relatively few cavities in my life so far. I credit some of that to water fluoridation (Belleville fluoridates) as well as fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinse treatments in school and fluoride treatments at the dentist.
Thing is, though, there are people who do not want to ingest fluoride in their drinking water. I know some. They are not assuaged by protestations of safety. It’s their body, and they don’t want that in it.
So for me, it comes down to this: do I believe the state is right to make people ingest a chemical?
And I think, under some circumstances, yes, I do. I’m a firm believer in the public health practice of mandatory vaccination, for example. I’m quite happy to be living in a world without small pox or polio. But is the public good of fewer cavities enough to compel us to force people to ingest a chemical they might not want in their bodies?
I don’t think it is.
There are other cheap and effective ways to get fluoride on your teeth. If we want to talk about other public health measures to improve dental health–fluoride treatments in schools, like I had, for example–I’m very much open to that. But I don’t think it should be compulsory.
I have to say, though, I haven’t been impressed with the campaigning on either side. The No (to fluoridation) side uses wild rhetoric about “toxic waste.” The Yes side warns of a dental apocalypse (which, strangely, seems to have skipped over Kitchener, which doesn’t fluoridate) and doesn’t even bother to show up for debates because they say “there is no debate.” I’m sorry, I love scientists and all, but sometimes you have to get down off your high horse and talk to normal people. It’s hard, I know. Because there is a debate. There’s a question put to the people and they need to be informed and they need a framework upon which they can make a decision.
And I think I’ve come to a decision I can live with. I’ll be voting No to fluoridation.