On Thursday, September 11th, I had the opportunity to sit in on a Peel Regional Council Meeting and listen to lawyer Nader Hassan, on behalf of Liesa Cianchino and Concerned Residents of Peel to End Water Fluoridation, advise Council, “that we will be launching a lawsuit in Superior Court, asking the Court to declare that Peel’s water fluoridation program is unconstitutional”. I couldn’t help but wonder if launching a lawsuit is the best way to end water fluoridation.
I have read the Summary and Opinion presented to Peel Council on June 23, 2014 by Hasan on the Legal Arguments Against Water Fluoridation and while I agree with everything I have read, I am worried!
In my mind, a lawsuit creates duality; an “us and them” division that gets peoples’ backs up and creates defensiveness on both sides. I personally would rather see a discussion in moving forward, that looks at the science as well as the ethics regarding this potentially dangerous practice but I am not sure that is the answer either.
So what is the solution to draw attention to an issue that most people are unaware of and yet I feel needs attention?
In reflecting on how to move forward so that everyone feels heard, I decided to look at the principles that Mahatma Gandhi eschewed for moral action and conflict resolution.
Contrary to what many think, Gandhi was a fighter. He thought fighting was the way to find the best solution, or highest truth, and believed one should never avoid a fight. But since fighting is to achieve a better overall outcome, it must be done the right way!
The basic idea of Gandhi’s approach to fighting is to redirect the focus of a fight from persons to principles. Gandhi called it Satyagraha, or “grasping onto principles” or “truth force”.
Every fight, to Gandhi, was on some level a fight between different “angles of vision” illuminating the same truth. Even though one position may have more truth than the other, each side has some portion of truth in its possession.
Therefore, if I am to apply these Gandhian principles to the water fluoridation dispute, I must accept the fact that both schools of thought on this issue have elements of truth within their beliefs. Which I really do believe; as a member of the dental profession I understand the reasoning and defense of both positions.
But where do we go from here?
What do you think of the Concerned Residents of Peel to End Water Fluoridation launching a lawsuit? I welcome your feedback. You can connect with me via telephone or email or leave a comment right here on the website. Feel free to leave a link back to your own blog, via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,