Monthly Archives: January 2009

CBCnews.ca tries not to sound too enthusiastic about raw milk — but lots of commenters provide good content

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

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Live video from Michael Schmidt trial

Click image or link above to watch. Its the same video as above. 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.

Click image or link above to watch movie.

 We look forward to more videos from the same source, as the trial proceeds.

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Farmer turns to Constitution for defence at raw milk trial

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

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Raw milk is like Sunday shopping was a few decades back: an idea whose time has come — Karen Selick, in the Post

Seems like the facts of the raw milk case are finally becoming clear, at least to people like Karen Selick, writing here in yesterday’s National Post:

“Last month, Ontario farmer Michael Schmidt was sentenced to pay $55,000 for contempt of court. He had persisted in delivering unpasteurized milk to the members of his cow-sharing program, contrary to a court order. He goes to trial today on his main charges of violating the Milk Act and related legislation.

What’s a person to do when the laws themselves are contemptible, and the people who hold the power to change them are behaving contemptibly?

Twenty years ago, Toronto furrier Paul Magder answered that question this way: You continue doing what you believe is right until the lawmakers finally smarten up. Magder racked up huge contempt fines merely by opening his store on Sundays. But the province eventually yielded to public pressure and legalized Sunday shopping. The sky didn’t fall, and today Ontarians take Sunday shopping for granted.

I see Michael Schmidt as the Paul Magder of this era — the unsung hero who will make it possible for us, 20 years hence, to say, “Was it not always thus?” Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt’s opening statement in court January 26, 2009

It is an honor to be here. It is an honor to be here because I feel that I am standing here to defend provincial offences charges, which many can face, given the nature of our current acceptance of Government’s role and assumed responsibility, but also because of our own lack of understanding of our individual rights. What we are dealing with here, is so fundamental for our future, for the future of our individual rights and for society at large.

The core issue at stake here is not really about milk. Anybody can drink milk in Canada; there is no regulation, either federal or provincial, that in fact has outlawed the drinking of raw milk. No, the issue here is about something other than milk, something much more important than milk. The issue in front of this court deals with the most fundamental elements of our human nature.

It touches the core values of our God-given rights, our rights as spelled out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, our rights as spelled out in the Canadian Bill of Rights, and our rights and freedoms protected by our own Constitution.

These rights are not only endangered by government or bureaucracy; they are endangered because we ourselves are afraid to set boundaries. And we don’t set boundaries because we don’t know our rights. We assume too easily that government, bureaucrats and law enforcement know and respect our rights. It is a known fact as well that, with apparent ignorance, democratically-elected governments pass laws that, in effect, limit the liberties of everyone without giving due respect to the reality of our individual unalienable rights.

This case before us here, Your Honor, is straight forward. Continue reading

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Canadian Press — Michael Schmidt case

The Canadian Press reports on Michael Schmidt’s court case — which begins today and continues into February — on charges from 2006:

“TORONTO — Ontario’s infamous raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt says he knows the old expression that anyone who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client.

Still, when he returns to court Monday to face criminal charges related to an armed police raid on his farm in 2006, he won’t have a lawyer at his side.

But he’s confident and feels completely prepared to argue that people should have the right to drink and enjoy raw, unpasteurized milk – even if the government thinks the drink is hazardous to your health.

“When it comes to our own body and what we put in our body as food, the government should respect what people want to do,” he said in an interview.

“A lawyer doesn’t milk the cow, a lawyer doesn’t drink the milk, a lawyer very often only makes the arguments without understanding what is really behind the whole thing.”

For years Schmidt has been selling raw milk from his Durham, Ont., farm through a so-called “cow share” program, in which customers buy a share in one of his cows, rather than the milk itself.

His customers over the years – he has a stable of about 150 with a waiting list around 70 long – have included high-end chefs and former provincial finance minister Greg Sorbara, who spoke out about the benefits of drinking raw milk….”

Get the whole story here.

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Investigation Timeline in the case of raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt — which will be heard beginning today and continuing into Feb. in Newmarket

Feb   22. 2006  Roger Weber CFIA agent. First surveillance of Farm, photographed  buildings and goes to Chicory Commons Health Food Store to gather  intelligence on Michael Schmidt
               
June 13. Dominic Fortuna sees Bus phones Judy Hope reg Blue Bus

June 14. York Region phones MNR or OMAFRA or MINISTRY OF HEALTH?????? Susan Atherton checks License plate MTO, checks criminal records of  Michael. Checks Internet. Roger Dunlop: information was received by York Region Health

June 19  Roger Dunlop surveillance. at farm

June 20   Fortuna called Atherton” Bus in Richmond Hill”. Fortuna and Atherton surveillance

June 24.  Brett Campbell meets Atherton in Peterborough Continue reading

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