March 21, 2019

Archives for April 11, 2013

Council denies registered presenter opportunity to speak (about fluoridation)

Public-Voice-And-Dental-Association-COF-COF-450-x-340By: Tara Gesner, Almonte/Carleton Place EMC News, Carleton Place, Ontario 11-Apr-2013 – Matt Ingram had something to say, but no one to listen.

Carleton Place council refused to let the local resident speak about water fluoridation during the physical environment committee meeting last Tuesday, April 2, even though he was registered to do so.

When a motion was moved by mayor Wendy LeBlanc to not allow Ingram to speak, it carried on a 4-3 vote, with LeBlanc and councillors Doug Black, Rob Probert and Gary Strike in favour and deputy mayor Ed Sonnenburg and councillors Louis Antonakos and Jerry Flynn in opposition.

“If we hear from Matt tonight, I feel we are looking at an unbalanced view,” said the mayor.

“Matt is here as a concerned citizen,” Flynn pointed out.

Antonakos concurred. “He is not here as an expert,” he said. “He is here as a resident.”

“It gives an unbalanced viewpoint,” reiterated LeBlanc.

Instead she wanted to move ahead with the decision made by council in September 2011: to bring in a proponent to have fluoride removed and an advocate of fluoride, such as the medical officer of health.

“We have someone who has asked to make a comment,” said Sonnenburg, “and they are registered to speak.”

He added council normally gives this courtesy to all members of the gallery.

“Allowing someone from the gallery to speak is always at the discretion of council,” stressed LeBlanc.

She explained the gravity of the issue influenced her decision to prohibit Ingram from speaking. Moreover, it did not uphold the spirit of 18 months ago.

In regards to the education session for council, Probert said there needed to be some type of timeline.

“Staff need to coordinate this,” said Sonnenburg.

LeBlanc indicated the session should happen before the June physical environment committee meeting.

“If something is not organized by then, then there is something terribly wrong,” said Sonnenburg.

Flynn chairs the physical environment committee.


“Matt Ingram’s democratic rights were denied as a registered speaker and a citizen of Carleton Place who wanted to address council on an issue that concerned him,” said Flynn in a follow-up email to the Canadian Gazette EMC April 3.

He stressed the resident was not there as an expert.

“I don’t remember ever having denied anyone an opportunity to address council, especially a registered speaker, no matter what the issue was,” said Flynn.

He added there are two sides to most issues, but council never demands both sides be present before allowing an individual to speak.

“As was pointed out, we were not going to vote on anything that Matt said, so all we were being asked to do was listen,” said Flynn.


In an email to councillors April 3, which was also sent to the Canadian Gazette EMC, Ingram stated he was thankful council decided to move ahead with an education session, to hear from proponents on both sides of the matter.

“That was my ultimate goal for last night,” he said. “So thank you for making that a priority.”

While he respected council’s position to not let him talk and wait to have speakers from both sides, he was “extremely disappointed” he wasn’t given the opportunity to make a “short comment.”

“It sounds like this has never happened before to a member of the public,” said Ingram. “And there is something very wrong when politicians are not willing to listen to even a short comment from a concerned member of the public.”

“I had expected that you would be disappointed in not being able to speak, and I most certainly appreciate that you understand why it is necessary to have a balanced playing field in the discussion of fluoride,” responded LeBlanc in an email in Ingram, which was also sent to the newspaper. “I, too, am pleased we are finally moving forward with the education session.”

She said fluoride can be an extremely contentious and, very often, divisive issue in a community.

“It is imperative we, as council, ensure we deal with the matter in a manner that is above reproach from any faction in the community,” explained LeBlanc. “To do anything less is unconscionable.”

“The press was there, your comment would have been reported on, we would then be off on an unequal footing,” she continued. “Please wait until the education session.”

Although details surrounding the education session for council are to be determined, the public can attend, but it will not be an opportunity for debate on the issue.

“This is to give council members enough information to move forward – or not – with a plebiscite (referendum type vote),” said LeBlanc.

Council of Canadians hosting public forum to discuss issues facing region’s water supply, including Lake Ontario – Saturday, April 27 2013

Council of Canadians, Media Release, Toronto, Ontario 11-Apr-2013 – On Saturday, April 27, the Council of Canadians is hosting a special public forum to discuss the pressing issues facing our region’s water supply, including our largest water source: our precious Lake Ontario.

Last year at this time, the Council launched its Great Lakes Need Great Friends speaking tour right here in Toronto. Our event later this month marks the return of the tour, and an opportunity for us to build on the great momentum that has been generated to protect water in our communities.

What: 2013 Great Lakes Commons Water Forum
When: Saturday, April 27 from 12:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay W, Toronto)
Guest speaker: Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and others

The Great Lakes Commons theme reminds us that the City of Toronto is part of a larger community and that our water sources are shared. We cannot talk about Toronto’s water without including other groups and communities who are doing their own excellent and important work to protect our lakes, rivers, watersheds and aquifers that bring life to our region.

Please come out and join fellow members in your community for this exciting event. You’ll hear from riveting guest speakers from the Great Lakes Water Walkers, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, National Farmers Union (Ontario), On the Commons, International Institute of Concern for Public Health, and Rising Tide Toronto. We’ll also highlight the threat the proposed Line 9 pipeline poses to our region’s watersheds.

The event is free and open to everyone, and we hope you can make it!

You can send us an e-mail, or call our chapter contact, Tracy Frohlick, at 416-975-3895.

We hope to hear from you and look forward to seeing you at our events this year!

Thank you for your ongoing support of the Council of Canadians.

In solidarity and activism,

The Toronto Chapter of the Council of Canadians