The Defendant, Michael Schmidt, has been charged by the MNR and the GBHU with various infractions against the HPPA and Milk Act. Accordingly the Defense provides the following arguments and submissions for consideration.
As was well stated by your honor, the matter before this court is the right of an individual against the role of government. The Defense would expound and suggest that it is a matter of the freedom of an individual, versus the opinion and dictates of a multitude, enforced by The Crown. Continue reading →
I was born in Germany in 1954. Both my parents came from rural background. My grandparents lost our farm in Eastern Germany during the war to the Russians and had to flee.
I grew up in rural Germany, worked on farms all my life. After High school I started my formal training and studies in Agriculture. In 1978 I received my masters in Agriculture. My master thesis was the bio-dynamic farm concept, the earliest form of organic agriculture. This degree allowed me to start teaching young farmers in all aspects of agriculture. Since that time I have individually trained practically over 100 young farmers in the art of farming.
I developed the cow share concept already in Germany in 1980 for the purpose of reconnecting the consumer with the producer with the mutual understanding that a cooperation would be the only way how individuals can in fact ensure their safety of food and a safe milk supply. On our bio-dynamic farm in Germany I established one of the first organic micro dairies. Continue reading →
Toronto Life sums up the situation nicely in their Daily dish:
“Raw-milk enthusiast Michael Schmidt began presenting his defence yesterday at a courthouse in Newmarket. The Ontario farmer is defending himself in court after a 2006 raid on his property resulted in a charge of illegally selling unpasteurized milk. This is Schmidt’s second time in court, and he is lawyer-free once again. Is it just us, or is this issue lasting forever?”
So says Toronto Life magazine. See excerpt below from this story:
On the federal blacklist (origins disguised to protect the guilty): 1. A semi-soft cheese with a washed rind 2. A blue cheese from Quebec 3. Michael Schmidt's raw milk 4. Goat's milk cheese aged less than 60 days 5. A pecorino-style cheese made by local chef Marc Thuet 6. A soft sheep's milk cheese
“At the back of any good cheese shop, there’s a hidden stash: a few unmarked rinds stacked in the walk-in refrigerator or piled in a bin behind the cash register. You might find a cylinder of exquisitely runny blue-streaked Dragon’s Breath sealed in black wax; or maybe a sharp sheep’s milk cheese lovingly aged by a local chef for two years; or a washed rind from Quebec that tastes delicately of fruit and herbs. These are some of the best Canadian cheeses. They are also illegal.
Experts estimate that 25 per cent of domestic rinds in Toronto are contraband. High-end, mid-range, even neighbourhood restaurants keep something illicit in their kitchens to reward regulars. It might be homemade or it might be smuggled. One chef I know gets Nova Scotia curds mailed directly to his house, where there’s less chance of a visit from a food inspector. Like most black markets, this one is burgeoning due to over-regulation: our backward dairy laws often rubber-stamp the bland, the banal and the mass-produced. The smaller the dairy the more interesting and unique its cheese, and the less likely it is to have federal accreditation. Our local industry lags decades behind Quebec’s, but the lion’s share of Quebec’s artisanal cheeses can’t legally cross provincial borders, tantamount to banning the best stuff in Canada. Continue reading →
Thursday at 9:00 am both sides will give summary statements. Starting in afternoon, the Charter, section 7 part of the case will begin with Dr. Ted Beals from Michigan. Dr. Beals will address the pathogen aspect and talk about his experience advising cow share programs across the USA. On Friday morning Dr. Ron Hull will take the stand. Then the Attorney General’s office may begin Friday afternoon with their defence against Michael’s Charter challenge.
Today the Court denied Michael’s other Charter challenges from other sections of the Charter because they were filed late and the Attorney General’s office did not have time to adequetely respond. The judge was not also willing to grant a motion arguing that Michael’s witness statement from November 2006 was made under duress or given involunarily. The judge ruled after hearing evidence from those that did the raid. The judge did say that execution of the search warrant was carried out in a deplorable way — effectively confined Michael and his farm hands in their kitchen for 7 1/2 hours.
Wasn’t CBC Newsworld going to rebroadcast the award winning documentary about Michael Schmidt and raw milk around now. Has anybody heard when and if that’s a go? Here’s an excerpt from the latest CBCnews.ca website story on raw milk:
“Milk Given the Raw Deal?
With the current trends toward organic and raw food diets, some raw food supporters are saying it’s time to reopen the debate on unpasteurized milk.
It is illegal to sell raw, or unpasteurized, milk in Canada because of concerns about E. coli and other bacteria. But that didn’t stop Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt from setting up a deal where customers could own part of a cow, and thus get raw milk. In November 2006, his farm was raided and his equipment was seized, because authorities say he violated the Milk Act. He faces 20 charges related to illegally producing, storing and distributing raw milk.
In October 2008, Schmidt was found guilty of contempt of court for ignoring a court order to stop selling unpasteurized milk. In January 2009, Schmidt returned to court and announced plans to file a charter challenge on the grounds that the police investigation violated his right to liberty.
“The only thing that will stop me is if we — through a constructive dialogue — actually find out that milk might be dangerous,” he told reporters. “And I can guarantee it is not.” Continue reading →
Click image or link above to watch. It’s the same video as below.
Here is some video reportage of the scene at this week’s trial and of farmer Michael Schmidt talking to the press. This video was shot by a citizen who considers this case a matter of public interest. To watch the video, click here. Video by Marianne Else.
Click image or link above to watch movie.
We look forward to more videos from the same source, as the trial proceeds.
Here’s Kate Hammer of the Globe and Mail reporting again on what we hope will be the landmark raw milk trial of farmer Michael Schmidt. Nice that the Globe editors have assigned someone who’s covered the story before. Here an excerpt from Kate’s report:
“NEWMARKET, ONT. — Ontario’s dairy dissenter, Michael Schmidt, told a packed courtroom yesterday that the laws that criminalize the sale of raw milk compromise rights protected by Canada’s Constitution and are therefore invalid.
Mr. Schmidt faces 20 charges relating to the “cow share” program he operates from his dairy farm in Durham, Ont., near Owen Sound. Drained of funds after 15 years of battling the provincial government over the sale of unpasteurized products, Mr. Schmidt represented himself at his trial, which began yesterday in Ontario Court in Newmarket.
Mr. Schmidt pleaded not guilty on all counts.
It is not illegal to drink raw milk and Mr. Schmidt has attempted to tiptoe around the law by selling “shares” in his cows rather than bottles of milk. Co-owners pay for the room and board of their cattle at Mr. Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms, then enjoy the byproducts of their investment – raw milk and raw milk products.
About three years ago, Mr. Schmidt’s scheme came to the attention of the Grey Bruce Health Unit and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The ministry infiltrated the cow-share group and purchased raw milk cheese with the help of two undercover agents, lawyers for the Crown revealed in their opening statements. Continue reading →
"Bernard is right; the pathogen is nothing; the terrain is everything."
-- Louis Pasteur's deathbed words
"One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that 'an unjust law is no law at all'." (Martin Luther King - Letter from Birmingham Prison, Alabama)