“From Acquittal to Responsibility”

Farmer Michael Schmidt reflects on the judge’s verdict:

Farmer Michael Schmidt with litigation director Karen Selick, of the Canadian Constitution Foundation

Dear Friends

I have been reflecting on the reality of the judge’s ruling. I like to note, that the importance of his ruling is NOT in the acquittal but in his reasoning for the acquittal. I was glued to his face, not because I was hoping for a positive ruling, but to hear, how he would acknowledge our 16 year long struggle for justice.

As I followed his dissertation, his artfully legal composition, I began to feel the heavy burden of responsibility on our shoulders. This was not a ruling to open up the raw milk market; this was a ruling based on a very specific and sophisticated cow share operation built on 32 years of bio dynamic farming experience.

The judges ruling endorsed fully our due diligence in every aspect of our operation. It is important to point out, that he also recognized the consistency of our actions and messages, which have been the same since 1994.

It is of utmost importance to realize that most likely we received the judge’s attention, because he was able to sense our sincerity and our commitment to society, to culture and the current legal frame work.

I tireless pursued the path of approaching the legislators to look into changes of the current legislation in order to accommodate the needs and wishes of an increasingly educated segment of society. Yes, it seemed hopeless for most of us. Not for me.

However the days after the ruling I experienced a profound sadness, that we had failed to communicate to those in power, to those in office our sincerity and openness to work together.

Why do we fail in so many ways to resolve small and big problems through the art of communication? Why did this process take 16 years and still we had to enter the court room to ask somebody to rule, on the issue at hand?

To enter into a dialogue is for many an admission of weakness and loss of control. For me it is opening up the world into a third dimension — the dimension of understanding each other and therefore the ability to move forward together.

With this ruling we received justice without the third dimension.

That’s what is so sad and that’s the reason, why we are not where we should be.

Our responsibility is now to take this decision with utmost respect and demonstrate to the other side that we are acting respectfully and responsibly, so that eventually they can accept what we had asked them for: Respect for our individual rights, which we never lost but gave away too quickly and too trustingly.

This ruling is not a green light for raw milk; this ruling is an acknowledgement of the difference between public and private.

Cow sharing is caring. Caring for the farm, the cows and the people, who want the milk. Cow sharing is an immense responsibility.

Warm regards Michael


Filed under News

5 responses to ““From Acquittal to Responsibility”

  1. Level Headed

    I understood that before, but not clearly enough to put it into words as you have now down. But I understand it more clearly now — thank you for saying it so concisely.

  2. The distinction between public and private is at best insincere, and at worst fraudulent. Transactions between consenting adults were once considered private. So many areas the state has decided to abuse its position and impose its will. A will that is guided by an agenda. It is guided by the corporations. All of these regulations exist to make the corporate processes compulsory to destroy the competition of the corporations, because they know that small businesses can outpace them. Pasteurization is a key example, but look everywhere. Employment laws, for example, have made the corporate HR function compulsory even in small firms, thus adding an extra un-productive element to stop small firms competing with the big boys. Here in Europe, we can drink raw milk, but in Canada you can’t. Can you imagine how productive Canada would become if it gave its people just a little bit of liberty, with all that land?! You probably have enough land to feed the entire world! But we can’t have small family farmers doing that now, can we, that is the agenda, that is why it took 16years. These things don’t happen happenchance, they are planned that way.

  3. David

    Great post Michael!

    I have been thinking a lot about the last half of your post.

    During all this time, the government has treated you as a criminal, raiding your property, taking your belongings, treating you as a law breaker. In 16 years, they did not stop to consider that they were encroaching on your personal constitutional rights as they were enforcing their laws. Not once, did they stop, reflect, and take the time to understand the significance of the laws they were enforcing.

    The ruling that you were given by Paul, is the ruling that should have been required before the police were ever allowed to consider enforcing the laws and entering your property.

    Until the government can start being more self-reflective, inclusive, and treating its’ honest hard working citizens as family, that third dimension you wish to have will fail to reveal itself.


  4. thebovine

    Salt Spring News has picked up this story along with related news items:


  5. Thanks for this! Very interesting.

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