“I have a fear that fluoridation is going to turn out to be the Bill Cosby of water treatment processes”
One of Andrew Scheer’s federal Conservative candidates in Southwestern Ontario has a history of voicing strong opinions on the dangers of water fluoridation.
Earlier this year, during a local city council meeting, London-Fanshawe Conservative candidate Michael van Holst compared the water treatment process to women being drugged and sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby.
— Conservative Party (@CPC_HQ) May 16, 2019
The London City Councillor has publicly described drinkers of flouridated tap water as “victims” who are being “poisoned against their will.”
“They suffer physical trauma, emotional trauma, they have to discover the cause without help from a medical system that doesn’t believe the cause exists,” he told London City Council earlier this year.
But during a February 2019 Civic Works Committee meeting on “community water fluoridation,” van Holst went even further.
Van Holst cast doubt on the scientific conclusions of public health bodies such as Health Canada and the US Centers for Disease Control, warning city councillors and public health officials not to ignore the “harmfulness of fluoride.”
“It effects the mental health of the children and their mental development,” van Holst claimed. “That’s a huge concern.”
The Conservative candidate concluded his remarks by offering an analogy comparing fluoridated tap water to Bill Cosby’s sexual assaults:
“I have a fear that fluoridation is going to turn out to be the Bill Cosby of water treatment processes because it’s something that we have thought was irreproachable. But maybe, behind the scenes, it’s actually doing great harm.”
“Yeah, I almost jumped in on that comment about, um, Bill Cosby, um, not sure that’s appropriate councillor — but, we’ll leave it at that,” councillor Phil Squire responded.
Neither van Holst nor Conservative Party officials responded to multiple requests for comment from PressProgress.
At the time, van Holst claimed his analogy was meant “to educate and not offend.”
“The point I tried to make was that things we think are great may actually be causing us harm,” van Holst told the London Free Press, explaining that he only made the provocative analogy for attention.
“My goal was to be certain that attention would be brought to this issue,” he said. “For those who do not consider the parallels sufficient, I do extend an apology.”
Cosby had been sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for sexual assault only several months prior to van Holst’s remarks.
Earlier in the committee meeting, the Conservative candidate attempted to illustrate the dangers of water fluoridation with a bizarre presentation involving 100,000 cinnamon heart candies.
“Toothpaste is actually a thousand parts per million and this is 0.01, so if we’re going to compare those we would have to see what a hundred thousand cinnamon hearts looks like,” van Holst said as he stacked half-a-dozen plastic container bins filled with one hundred thousand cinnamon hearts on his desk.
Following van Holst’s speech, Ed Holder, London’s Mayor and a former Conservative cabinet minister under Stephen Harper, urged councillors to show more respect for the professional advice of medical experts and public health officials.
“We are not health professionals, I don’t think it’s our role to try to play doctor,” Holder said, adding it’s “critical that we respect and understand the professional references of the individuals that give us advice so that we can act in the best interest of our citizens.”
“I sure hope it’s not going to be based on broader influences that aren’t necessarily based on science.”
Other councillors accused van Holst of pushing “junk science” and suggested he was insinuating there was a “conspiracy of people who work in public health who are trying to protect the fluoridation manufacturers.”
As Global News reported, van Holst’s motion to end water fluoridation ultimately went “down the drain.”