Interview of Michael Schmidt with himself on his thoughts about the trial, the consequences, and the only possible outcome.
M.S.: Thanks Michael for taking the time to look at some of the events of the past. The trial is over, what next?
Michael: Well the trial might be over, however the final arguments regarding the constitutional challenge regarding section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, which refers to the issue of Governments infringement on our individual liberty, has not been made. The Judge agreed that we should have the transcripts of the trial first, before we formulate our final arguments.
M.S.: How long do you anticipate this will take
Michael: We have to submit our written closing arguments around June 16.
M.S.: When can we expect a decision in this matter?
Michael: Realistically may be in August may be later.
M.S.: How do you feel about the trial?
Michael: Yes most people want to know how I feel about the trial. My answer is always the same: I feel good, I feel inspired and I feel satisfied that the court is the right remedy to challenge those in authority. It was revealing, it was fun and it was Shakespearian drama at its best.
M.S.: Why do you say that?
Michael: We all know the term court room drama. I felt it was a wonderful experience to see all the actors on stage in all their different capacities and authorities, either as investigators or as expert witnesses. Every one played his or her role according to the rules and at the end of the day we parted not as enemies but as human beings. It is drama at its best. You have those who do their job enforcing the law, and those who get paid to testify as experts how dangerous raw milk is, but admit at the same time that the most hazardous foods are not banned, like Maple Leaf Products which apparently killed over 20 people last year, or cigarettes or alcohol. It became very clear that everything is arbitrary it all depends on who calls the shots.
M.S.: Some people argue that it is impossible to fight the current law on raw milk because of the very powerful dairy lobby behind it.
Michael: They are absolutely right, if they believe it is impossible. I do believe it is possible, therefore I see a very good chance for change to come.
M.S.: The question is at what cost and when?
Michael: Let’s look at the reality of cost. I personally believe, that the cost of being compliant to unjust laws is far too high when you think of our future and our children’s future. In the so called western world we have lost our will, our courage to stand up against injustice. We tend to think, that if a law is passed by Parliament, it must be right and just. You will be surprised how many laws are passed, where the members of Parliament had no idea what was in the package and what gets finally signed into law. There are layer’s of bureaucrats, which control these complicated proceedings and know how to keep control.
In respect to the time, time is on our side. As longer those in power refuse to enter into a constructive dialogue as more people wake up and join the battle.
M.S.: Are there organizational allies?
Michael: There are very committed allies in this battle. One of them are the Ontario Landowners known for their clear position against over regulation of property owners and small businesses. There is a wide range of groups which joint over two years ago and continue to play a vital role by networking, educating and informing more and more people.
The groups are very different, because they understand the principle of this fight. It is not about raw milk. It is about this fundamental principle of defending our God given rights of freedom.
Food in future will create major conflicts in society. On one hand we have no way to know if we eat GMO food because of labeling laws to protect those in control, and on the other hand we are not allowed to make a food choice, when we know very well it is much better for us.
Look at the health care system, look at education, look at farming, we in fact living in the most destructive decades since the beginning of time. All is caused by us human beings.
M.S.: Lets slow down a little bit before we look at the big picture. You must encounter opposition which does not come from the Government, can you talk about that.?
Michael: Lets look at that very rational, we need to ask first what is real opposition, what is forced opposition and what is personal opposition.
Personal opposition is based on fear, experience and principle. They are all valid arguments. However one needs to understand, that I do not have the position that every one should be forced to drink raw milk. This is up to every individual to make that choice. All I am asking is, do not force your personal opposition to raw milk unto others who have different experiences.
I also very often face the argument, that I should not break the law, because it is the law. They also argue, that I should obey court orders and the law is here for a reason. I do respect these comments but as you know, I do not agree.
Let me give you two examples of hypocrisy connected with this case.
Two years ago we went to California to explore the raw milk situation there which, as you know is allowed. You can buy your raw milk in the super market.
When I returned I met the chief medical officer of health in Grey Bruce Dr Hazel Lynn and tried to paint her a picture about the situation there. As I recall she replied : “Michael why don’t you move to California. The only thing what bugs me is, that you broke the law ,”.
The other example was the unethical offer by the lawyer acting for York Region. Before trial last fall, he pulled me aside and offered me a deal before we went into the court room.” Go south of Keele street or anywhere else outside of York Region and he would be willing to drop all the charges. “
This highlights only the fact that this whole thing has nothing to do with health.
M.S.: What other opposition do you encounter?
Michael: Well, there is the forced opposition, which has its roots in unhealthy dependency. Farm organizations like the, the Ecological Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Cheese society but also friends and other businesses think they cannot take a position because of fear of repercussions. It is all matter of principle.
If they are afraid to open their mouth because they might loose funding, members or friends, they also loosing credibility. I have no expectations anymore, but I am really thankful whenever people have the courage to stand up for the principle.
One group I like to mention is the Canadian Chefs Congress and all the chefs which continue to root for the cause in Canada.
M.S.: What is best possible outcome?
Michael: There is only one outcome.
M.S.: What do you mean with that?
Michael: Since it is a matter of principle the only outcome can and will be, that people have the right to choose if they want to drink milk raw or pasteurized. Once we have that achieved this 15 year old battle will finally end.
Let’s not look at that in a negative sense. Battles are good for society, for us, for our future. They express that we are alive, as long as we do not forget to love our enemy.
That’s part of this tragic that so many on the so called other side agree with us but have to do their job.
M.S.: You have been ordered to pay a fine and cost of $55,000 at your trial in September, what are your plans?
Michael: The crown had an awful dilemma. They did not want to make a martyr out of me, but wanted to force me to stop providing people with their milk.
The judge himself faced another dilemma. He slammed civil disobedience as a self defeating act, ignoring history of the last 100 years completely. I do not believe that the judge truly in his heart believed what he was saying.
I asked for the maximum penalty not because of wanting to be a martyr but to expose how our legal system has to fail if it is not challenged on principle, we talking about man made law. Man made law can be wrong and needs to challenged.
No, I will not pay and I will not resist if they get me. They created the problem of starting a trial on an issue which has not been yet ruled on:.
Did I in fact break the law? Does the law they accusing me of breaking conforms with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, and if not, it is no law at all. How can you get a court order under these circumstances? As they wade deeper into this legal jungle the more confusing it will get for them.
Why do I not stop? Because I owe it to society, I want to live in it and fell responsible.
M.S.: Does Jail time scare you?
Michael: No. It might be just part of a journey I have to take. At the end the resolution could be so easy. Goethe in his fairy tale of the Green Snake wrote a wonderful line.
“What is more valuable than gold? The answer is: “Dialogue”. Dialogue will be the solution. Dialogue is all I am asking for.
M.S.: Thanks Michael. Stay strong.
Michael: Thanks to all those, who tirelessly support this wonderful battle. The Milk of Human Kindness will flow until the cows come home, to those who deserve it. A toast to all the fearless cowshare members.