The following is from a news release dated Friday February 12:
Farmer Michael Schmidt will hold a media conference on the Province’s appeal, Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 9:30am, in the Press Room, Queen’s Park
Stung by a court ruling last month that declared its enforcement of raw milk laws “deplorable,” the Province is appealing Justice Paul Kowarsky’s decision from January 21.2010
They’re clutching at straws,” says Michael Schmidt, the Durham, Ontario farmer whose innovative “cow-share” program for raw milk consumers elicited a raid by the Ontario Ministry of Health in 2006, and a six day trial that began in January, 2009.
That trial ended Jan. 21 with a ruling by Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky that Schmidt’s program – in which consumers become “part-owners” of Schmidt’s dairy cows – was legally exempt from the Province’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and from its Milk Act. Kowarsky dismissed 19 charges under the acts.
The current Government is underestimating the Food Freedom Movement,” Schmidt says. “This is not about milk, this is about the respect for the individual’s right to make choices without Government interference. This is now the next stage in a serious battle, a clear declaration by Government to rob people of their fundamental freedoms.”
Schmidt will hold a press conference Tuesday, Feb. 16 to respond to the government’s legal manoeuvre. He will be joined by Karen Sellick from The Canadian Constitution Foundation, whose organization has supported Schmidt, and offered to represent him in court in case of an appeal.
Says Schmidt: “In 2006, after the raid on our farm, I said the Government made a big mistake using an army of 25 armed officers to shut a farmer down. Justice Paul Kowarsky proved me right.”
In his decision, the Justice described as “deplorable… the actions of the officers who were in the process of executing the search warrant and interrogating the defendant.” He added these actions “should be viewed with disdain”.
Schmidt says he is “ready to move to the next level. And I have thousands of people ready to stand with me.”