Raw milk injunction application hearing wrapped up late Monday June 5th

Our Farm Our Food member Lewis Taylor spoke on behalf of the coop during the court proceedings on Monday June 5th. Here he is being interviewed by Mike Walker of CTV Barrie over lunch.

What turned out to be a four-day hearing into the application for injunctions against continued operation of a milk plant at Glencolton Farms and distribution of raw milk in the Regions of York, Peel and Simcoe, wrapped up late Monday afternoon.

In the morning, Lewis Taylor presented to the court on behalf of intervener, Our Farm Our Food Coop. Much of the afternoon was devoted to a presentation by farmer and respondent Michael Schmidt. This was then followed by about an hour of rebuttal by lawyers for the Regions and the Crown.

The judge has made no promises as to when he will announce his verdict in the case. Respondents will be notified of his decision by email.

More than 100 people — mostly members of the OFOF coop or other farmshares — were crammed into courtroom 401, which is smaller than courtroom 108 where the case began last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But in an effort to accommodate all the people who showed up, the judge allowed audience members to occupy the jury benches as well as the spectator gallery.

A television reporter and cameraman from CTV Barrie was present throughout the morning. The reporter, Mike Walker, interviewed both Michael Schmidt and Lewis Taylor for the evening news.

You can watch Mike Walker’s CTV report online at this link.

Farmer Michael Schmidt being interviewed by Mike Walker, for the Monday night television news, prior to his presentation in Newmarket court on Monday afternoon, June 5th.

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Another look at the laws about raw milk

Contrasting Ontario Laws and Acts about Raw Milk in Courts with other Major Jurisdictions (Part 2)

by Raoul Bedi, BASc

I – Introduction :

Last week we listed some of the major acts, laws and regulations being cited by Crown Lawyers in the latest manifestions, in the form of the 2 applications listed below, in the never-ending case(s) against Organic Raw Milk and its adherents, consumers, supporters, co-op members, farmers and producers in Ontario and Canada. For brevity’s sake we gave only the relevant sections from the Ontario Milk Act and Milk Regulations to begin with .

We then observed, in Newmarket Court, the Crown Lawyers for Gavin Downing, director for the Milk Act, and the York Region Municipality, systematically work through all of those major acts, one by one in great detail, stating first which sections were violated, what they say and mean, and then the evidence (from myriad affidavits, discovery and testimony) to support their claims of violation, and punishment(s) sought.

In addition to all the Acts and Regulations listed last week and again today, the Crown’s Legal team consisting of 4-5 lawyers, also cited 6-10 examples of Case Law which we will not list here. Of interest was the fact that they cited case law from England to justify the enforcement of certain bureaucratic regulations, and the need for concomitant restraining orders where they have been continually violated.

The SUPREME IRONY here is that they failed to cite the most important Laws and Statutes of all , from the United Kingdom , namely that Fresh, Organic Raw Milk from Grass-fed cows is 100% legal and freely available from Her Majesty the Queen’s homeland . Please see https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/dairy-guidance/rawmilkcream#toc-4

How can this be one might ask ? Continue reading

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Third day of injunction hearing May 31 — hearing continues Mon. June 5th, with Michael Schmidt and OFOF

Markus, Elisa, and Michael with a stack of documents outside the Newmarket court house after day three. Elisa said she just wanted to go home and sleep, after presenting for most of the day.

Day three of the hearing of the injunction applications from Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing, and the Region of York was devoted to presentations from the respondents — Elisa van der Hout (on behalf of the Agricultural Renewal Coop), Rev. Jonah Evans (on behalf of the Christian Community church) and Markus Schmidt (representing himself).

Michael Schmidt and Lewis (Skip) Taylor (speaking on behalf of Our Farm Our Food coop) will present their responses to the application on Monday June 5th.

Michael Schmidt will be appearing in another court later this week to answer obstruction charges related to the Oct. 2, 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms.

A more detailed report on what was said will follow later in this space, but for now, here’s a video from Marianne Else, about the day’s proceedings:

Also watch the video and read the report on day three from Roger Klein at CTV Barrie

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Second day of injunction application hearings for Glencolton Farms, May 30 — the hearing will continue on May 31

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Neither rain nor sleet nor day-long court hearings….

Today, Tuesday May 30th was another full day of presentations by the Crown lawyers (representing Milk Director Gavin Downing) and by the lawyers for York Region (also representing Peel and Simcoe regions).

Which means the hearing is not over yet. It continues with presentations from the several respondents, and from Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) as intervener, on Wednesday May 31st — probably all day — and then if that’s not enough time, the judge may be able to find another half day somewhere in his schedule. He apparently doesn’t have any longer times available until 2018.

They Come From Away

You meet the nicest people at raw milk trials and hearings. Yesterday and today we had the opportunity to meet Raoul Bedi who is originally from Ontario, but has been living in BC, where he has been helping promote the raw milk cause. Raoul occasionally contribute material to the Bovine, such as this recent article on legal terms.

Also at this hearing we have Liz Reitzig from Maryland (or somewhere in New England). She’s here to help Michael with media relations and whatnot.

And at the hearing today we had a couple of journalists from England interviewing farm-share members. Perhaps they’ve come to document the unbelievably quaint customs out here in the former colonies — such as the official total prohibition on raw milk. Canada’s the only G8 country to have that, as you may have heard.

Yesterday, a raw milk farmer from the Ottawa area who has been in the news not long ago — Michael Ilgert — made the 4 1/2 hour trek to Newmarket to show his support.

In the News:

Read the York Region Media Group story on the hearing, by Lisa Queen who was here Monday to interview people.

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First day of injunction application hearing for Glencolton Farms, May 29

Lewis (Skip) Taylor talks to a reporter from CTV during the lunch break.

About two hundred coop shareholders, supporters, and interested members of the public came out today to Newmarket court to hear the start of the application for injunctions regarding the Glencolton Farms raw milk operation.

Although the hearing was scheduled for 9:30 am, it was nearly 11 am by the time things got underway in earnest. Some of that first hour and a half was taken up with a motion from the lawyer for Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing (subsequently referred to here as “the Crown lawyer”). This motion would have converted Our Farm Our Food Coop’s status at the hearing to that of a respondent (from being an intervener). Council for OFOF, Lewis (Skip) Taylor objected to the motion, saying he would need time to consult with the members, because the motion had been filed so late. The Crown lawyer decided not to pursue it further.

The lawyers for the Crown and for the Region of York agreed that the ARC Coop and the Christian Community church could be represented by non-lawyers. Elisa van der Hout will represent ARC, which is the workers coop at the farm, and Jonah Evans will represent the church.

Most of Monday was taken up by presentations by the lawyer for the Crown. Both he and the lawyer for York Region were to have finished their presentations today — which raises the question as to whether the proceedings will be finished on Tuesday as originally envisioned. Tuesday was to have been devoted to hearing from the respondents, and presumably some counter-arguments after that.

Two reporters were on hand to cover the proceedings. A York Region Media Group reporter was there in the morning, interviewing people outside the courtroom. And a reporter from CTV Barrie was present during the morning court proceedings. He stayed to interview Lewis Taylor, counsel for OFOF, Michael Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout, over lunch hour. Continue reading

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Background reading for proposed raw milk injunction Court hearings May 29th and 30th re Glencolton Farms

Raoul Bedi, BASc, has thoughtfully compiled some background material for us to study in preparation for going to Court May 29th and 30th in Newmarket (50 Eagle Street) at 9 am. 

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Michael Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout with some of their preparatory reading for this week’s court appearances.

Ontario Court Lexicon for Current Raw Milk-related Matters (Part 1) Compiled by Raoul Bedi, BASc

Newmarket Court Case File Numbers :

                  1. CV-16-125371-00

                  2. CV-16-125250-00

The Applicants, Gavin Downing, Director under the Ontario Milk Act, and the “Regional Municipality of York” draw upon , at least, 7 different sections of law, including laws at the municipal,provincial and federal level, in their claims, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, against the defendants, Michael Schmidt, ARC inc., Glencolton Farms, The Church of the Christian Community in Canada, et al . These include :

                1. The Ontario Milk Act RSO 1990 cM.12

                2. The Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990,Ch.7

                3. Provincial Offenses Act, RSO 1990, cP.33

                4. Municipal Act

                5. Rule 40 of Civil Procedures

                6. Section 101 of the Courts of Justice Act

                7. Section 127 of the Criminal Code

Breaking it down further, the 2 cases most heavily involve #1 , The Ontario Milk Act, and #2 , the HPPA followed by #4, the Ontario Municipal Act, where 4 sections are drawn upon.

The following focuses on the laws and regulations the plaintiffs seek to apply from the Ontario Milk Act and the Ontario “Milk and Milk Products” regulations 761, to interfere with and/or ultimately halt the private, member-only operations of “Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc.”, it’s employees, supporters and friends in the enjoyment of their god-given food and private property rights and good health.

I – The Ontario Milk Act Continue reading

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The Last Spike in Raw Milk’s Coffin?

Glencolton farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF farm-share members on a tour of the farm’s dairy barn in April of 2017.

The injunctions being sought at Newmarket Court next Monday and Tuesday may well be the final nail in the coffin of raw milk, if Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and the Region of York have their way.

The proposed injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near the town of Durham, and would also prohibit the continued distribution of raw milk from the farm to people in York Region. The injunctions would prohibit even advocating the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have subsequently joined the injunction application, so people in those jurisdictions would also be affected, as well.

This farm has, in the past, faced numerous raw-milk-related charges, most recently arising from a raid in 2006. However, in the past, charges have been on the level of regulatory offenses. If the injunctions being sought are granted by the court, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for the persons named — Michael Schmidt, Elisa Van der Hout, and Markus Schmidt — but also for any John or Jane Doe, and for the Christian Community church which has been a distribution site. Continue reading

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