This week CBC Windsor's municipal affairs columnist Cheryl Collier is calling the move to go against the advice of local health officials and remove fluoride from the water system a political manoeuvre.
Despite advice from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit and other medical professionals, Windsor City Council decided to stop fluoridating the city's water at a special meeting on Jan. 28.
"There's no mandate that says we actually have to listen to what they say," said Collier.
Collier said health units are designed to offset health care costs by focusing on prevention and education.
Now it boils down to money and since fluoride will soon be a thing of the past, the health unit wants money to mitigate the dental damage it says may follow after fluoride disappears from the city's water.
But Collier doesn't think city council will fund the health unit's $2.8 million request to send a toothbrush and toothpaste to residents every three months, especially since council wants to hold the line on taxes.
In addition, the Windsor Essex County Health Unit is asking for a seven per cent budget increase.
Health units have been around before Ontario was a part of a confederation, Collier said.
Since the 1950s local health units have been receiving provincial funding.
Roughly $125,000 is spent annually on water fluoridation in Windsor, which Collier calls a short-term cost savings.
Political fallout, if any, Collier said remains to be seen.
Cheryl Collier is a professor of political science at the University of Windsor. She can be be heard on the Early Shift with Tony Doucette at 8:14 a.m. on Mondays. Tune in to 97.5 FM or listen live online at www.cbc.ca/Windsor.
To hear Monday's piece, click on the audio box above.