Michael Schmidt talks about the fight over Site 41: “The Right for Water — Eight Days of Personal Resistance”

Police arrive at dump site 41 to arrest Michael Schmidt for the first time.

Police arrive at dump site 41 to arrest Michael Schmidt for the first time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I woke up with incredible inner pressure regarding dumpsite 41. A decision on the one year moratorium to stop construction will be coming next Wednesday. For over 20 years I have been following the growing resistance to the insanity to built a dump on the Alliston aquifer, one of the purest waters in the world. Rumors were swirling around that they will try to bring in the first load of garbage before the crucial vote. That itself was enough for me; I had to act to keep the pressure up until the last minute.

Thursday, August 20, 2009
We drove to Tiny Township and around 12 pm I started blocking the main entrance after I talked to the Natives who had set up camp opposite dumpsite 41. Huge gravel trucks, a fuel truck and several service vehicles could not enter dump site 41. OPP negotiators arrived after 20 minutes to convince me to let the work continue until the vote next Wednesday. Nobody trusted anybody anymore. The smell of corruption in regard to this project was too obvious. I stood my ground. After all, it was about the future of our children. On the other side of the road, many resisters showed their support, chanted and thanked me.

The work inside the gates where huge trucks, backhoes and bulldozers cleared the land for garbage, slowed down and came to a halt. After 4 hours, OPP rushed in and arrested me. On the way to the police station, I was informed that a tornado had hit Durham. It took less than two hours after I was officially charged to be released again. Returning home we were shocked by the dimensions of the tornado’s destruction. None of our buildings had been hit. The greatest damage was in the sugar bush and along the hayfields and pastures.

Monday, August 24, 2009
We decided to return to dumpsite 41 to continue the blockade. We bought a heavy chain with a heavy lock. Andrea, our part-time gardener, decided that this time she wanted to be part of the action and was not afraid of being arrested. Again, around 12 pm, we chained ourselves to the gates to stop the ongoing construction. This time, within minutes, the OPP negotiators arrived and realized that there was nothing that would convince us to stop the blockade. The entire road was now blocked by police to prevent any protesters from joining us. The OPP searched for hours to find a tool to cut the chain, without success; we finally unlocked the chains to prevent them from taking them away. After that, we just blocked the gates and within minutes we were arrested.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We ended up in a holding cell in Midland to be picked up the next morning by the paddy wagon to be transported with 16 others to the Barrie jail for our bail hearing. There I got my first taste of prison culture being in the cell with all kinds of human beings falling by the wayside of our present system. Drugs, attempted murders, rape and molesting children were all there bragging about their criminal record. Finally at 3 pm, I asked for another bail hearing on Thursday to make sure that the one year moratorium would pass first before I got out of jail. I had stopped eating and drinking as soon I was arrested. Chained together with other
prisoners, I was transported to the Penetanguishene super jail. 

Again, similar proceedings: holding cell, registering, strip searched, orange coverall, orange T-shirt, waiting and waiting and waiting. In the meantime, I was exposed every 5 seconds to the F-word, which seems to be the main ingredient of any sentence when you are arrested or in jail. As I was processed, the guards informed me that they had to inform the Ministry of Corrections that I was on a hunger strike.

Hand cuffed again and again I was brought into the segregation track and put into an isolation cell with bed and toilet, nothing else. Before the guard closed the cell door, he whispered to me that the one year moratorium to halt the construction of site 41 had been approved. Tears of relief. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009
There I spent the next days without any contact until Wednesday evening, when I was allowed finally to phone home and Beverley to try to find out about my status.

Thursday, August 27, 2009
At 6 AM I was called to the cell door, reached through to get my hand cuffs on and then escorted down to the holding cell. Same proceedings in reverse. Stripped down to change into my own clothes, chained together with 5 others in the paddy wagon on the way to the Barrie jail. Waiting, lots of  waiting. In the meantime, I saw again an inmate I was chained together with on Tuesday beaten bloody and blue by other inmates. Finally I was released on bail Thursday at noon.

In the meantime, according to a news report, all charges in relation to blocking dumpsite 41 will be dropped. Will see.

My main motivation for this action was to make sure that Simcoe council would vote in favor of holding off the construction of this insanity for one year and review all facts. A dumpsite on an aquifer with the best water. I wonder how much research is needed to understand that this is insanity.

After over 20 years finally we ALL made it happen.Thanks to the farmers, the neighbors, all the concerned citizens, our very dear friends, the keepers of our water, the First Nations Women and all their friends. Thanks to all of those who have been fighting for decades. Now we can look into the eyes of our grandchildren and be able to say: Yes, we saved the water for you.

From Milk to Water,
Regards Michael Schmidt

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Michael Schmidt talks about the fight over Site 41: “The Right for Water — Eight Days of Personal Resistance”

  1. Pingback: Charges stayed for Michael Schmidt and other protesters in dump site 41 case « The Bovine

  2. 4854derrida

    Hello

    I’ve recently uploaded two rare interviews with the Wobblie, anarchist, and activist Dorothy Day.

    Day had begun her service to the poor in New York City during the Depression with Peter Maurin, and it continued until her death in 1980. Their dedication to administering to the homeless, elderly, and disenfranchised continues in many parts of the world.

    Please post or announce the availability of these videos for those who may be interested in hearing this remarkable humanist.

    They may be located here:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/4854derrida

    Thank you

    Dean Taylor

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