Queen’s Park raw milk debate Dec 2 ’08

Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Huron Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell

At the 2008 International Plowing Match, left to right: Agriculture Minister Leona Dombrowsky, Premier Dalton McGuinty, Huron Bruce MPP Carol Mitchell. Photo from Carol Mitchell's website photo gallery. Read Carol and Leona's debate below:

Official Records for 02 December 2008

Mrs. Carol Mitchell: My question is for the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Minister, there has been some media attention lately associated with the sale and distribution of raw milk. Ontario has required pasteurization for over 70 years in order to kill pathogens which can flourish in raw milk if it’s not properly handled. Advocates have suggested that our law banning raw milk is antiquated, as new technologies are now in place that could allow raw milk to be safely produced, sold and distributed to consumers across the province.

Minister, can you explain the government’s policy on raw milk and why we should continue to not allow it to be sold in this province?

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: I’m delighted to have the opportunity to address this issue that we have been reading about in the media a good deal in recent weeks and months. Food safety is a priority of the government of Ontario. I appreciate the arguments that have been made about consumer choice, but I think it is very important that the government take the responsibility very seriously.

In order to reduce the presence of food-borne bacteria, we do require that all milk that’s sold in the province is to be pasteurised. A little bit of history on this: It was the rural women in Ontario, through the Ontario Women’s Institute, who went to then-Premier Mitch Hepburn-and I know you know that great character in Ontario history-and convinced the Premier of the day why it was important to reduce illnesses and deaths of Ontario citizens by requiring that milk in the province of Ontario be pasteurized before-

The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?

Mrs. Carol Mitchell: I certainly appreciate that the government strives to protect the health of all Ontarians, and I think all members of this House stand united behind support for government doing all that it can to protect public health. However, these same people will argue that times have changed and that things are different now from when Premier Hepburn was in power. They will also say that they have the ability to sell and distribute raw milk, and it could open up new market opportunities for our farmers. Minister, does the government have any plans to study this issue before closing the door on raw milk products?

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky: I’d like to make two points on that. First of all, I’d like to quote from Dr. Murray McQuigge, who is the medical officer of health for the Grey Bruce Health Unit, who said, “To be blunt, there were no good old days when it came to the harm that raw milk inflicted on thousands of people…. To bring in legislation to allow the sale and distribution of raw milk would be tantamount to manslaughter” in the province of Ontario. That’s from the chief medical officer of health.

The other thing I think that people in Ontario need to be aware of, one thing that has not changed, is that E. coli bacteria is deadly, and we in the province of Ontario don’t have to look back very far in our history to know that. It is for that reason that our government remains absolutely committed to ensuring that we have legislation in place that will make sure that all milk and milk products sold in the province of Ontario will have been pasteurized before they are made available to the public. This is good sense.

Who are these people and how can you get in touch with them?

Carol Mitchell, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Huron-Bruce, Liberal

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
777 Bay St, 17th Flr
Toronto ON M5G 2E5
Tel : 416-585-6768
Fax : 416-585-6777
49 – 50 Albert St
Clinton ON N0M 1L0
Tel : 519-482-5630
Fax : 519-482-3149

322 Lambton St
Kincardine ON N2Z 1Y9
Tel : 519-396-3007
Toll Free: 1-866-396-3007

Hon. Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Prince Edward-Hastings, Liberal

Ministry of Agriculture and Food
77 Grenville St, 11th Flr
Toronto ON M5S 1B3,
Tel : 416-326-3074
Fax : 416-326-3083
15 Dairy Ave
Napanee ON K7R 1M4
Tel : 613-354-6630
Fax : 613-354-0232
Toll Free : 1-877-536-6248

81 Millennium Parkway, Unit C
Belleville ON K8N 4Z5
Tel : 613-962-1144
Fax : 613-969-6381


Michael Schmidt thought it was interesting that it was a Liberal who was raising this question.  [Ed — I guess that’s in reference to the role of  the Liberal government in defeating MPP Bill Murdoch’s private member’s bill to study questions around raw milk, back in 2006. Bill Murdoch is a conservative MPP from Grey Bruce.]

The Bovine notes that Murray McQuigge is no longer the medical officer of health for Grey Bruce. And we are encouraged to see that people like Carol Mitchell are getting the message that raw milk could be a major growth opportunity for Ontario’s dairy industry — presuming of course, the kind of deep, process-based quality assurance that’s being pioneered at Glencolton Farms. We think there’s some progress being shown here.



Filed under News

2 responses to “Queen’s Park raw milk debate Dec 2 ’08

  1. Michael

    This might be just bad theater in parliament.
    The answers from the Minister of Agriculture,which supposed to be an honorable person, are very ignorant of the real facts. If somebody like that makes policy decisions based on people like Dr.McQuigge who likes to appear as an expert but has failed successfully many times with his uncontrolled emotional attacks. I have collected a few documents which seems to suggest that Dr. McQuigges expertise in fact lies in belting out the wrong facts. The discussion as it appears I bet was scripted very much to the liking of those who control the issue of raw milk.
    As much as I wish to respect those in power, I am loosing a lot of faith in their moral and ethical standings. They are the worst examples of true leadership. We need to expose, and force them to become responsible. The reality that they do not look at the facts and keep talking about a situation 70 years ago which itself is more then doubtful how it is presented today shows ,they are not interested in doing what they are elected for.
    But no worry people are waking up.
    I am always appalled how people change once they in power.
    Cheers Michael

  2. Bernie Bailey

    Is this the same Carol Mitchell that is my member of parliament that I went to see about the forced closure of Sun Rise Dairy by corrupted civil servants ,the last dairy in south western Ontario and she never returned my calls until she was up for re-election and I was at every public debate asking if she would look into this for me . I then received a letter from her saying that she would forward my info on to Mrs. Dombrowsky, you now the information that her staff said they lost and is this the same Carol Mitchell that said at the Formosa election meeting in front of every one that she could not address this issue because of ongoing litigation—first and last time I heard that I was in litigation with the corrupted civil servants– and is this the same Minister of Agriculture who met with me at Queens Park looked at my info and said– just take legal action—yes Michael Schmidt they want you to use all your money going to court as they the government have more than you so they will drag it on until you are broke because I have learned through my experience that unless you can find that one politician that will stand up for the people like Jack Riddell former Minister of Agriculture you have no help from politicians that let the civil servants dictate to them how the government works Please Google Bernie Bailey for more info on this

    I am still one vote

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