Media snippets on Province’s appeal of Michael Schmidt’s raw milk acquittal

First off, here’s a bit from a Canadian Press story dated Feb 12, from the CTV.ca website:

The man at the centre of the controversy, raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt.

“TORONTO— The Ontario government is wasting its time by appealing a court ruling that found raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt was not guilty of violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Durham-based farmer and activist said Friday.

The Ministry of the Attorney General confirmed it is appealing last month’s decision by a justice of the peace to dismiss 19 charges against Schmidt to the Ontario Court of Justice, but did not elaborate on the reasons.

“They’re clutching at straws,” Schmidt said in a release.

A yearlong trial that ended Jan. 20 found Schmidt’s innovative “cow-share” program for raw milk consumers — which elicited a raid by the Ministry of Health in 2006 — did not violate provincial laws.

Justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky ruled that Schmidt’s program, in which consumers become “part-owners” of his dairy cows, complied with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and Milk Act, despite the prohibitions on selling unpasteurized milk.

While raw milk is legal to drink, it’s illegal to sell in Canada because it’s considered a health hazard.

During Schmidt’s trial, food scientists and health experts testified that mandatory pasteurization laws are needed to protect public health.

Schmidt argued that government officials and food scientists could not guarantee the safety of any food, and suggested informed consumers should be able to buy raw milk if they want.

Kowarsky also acknowledged the growing trend towards the local food movement, and said he found many cow-share programs existed around the world.

The Liberal government is underestimating the food freedom movement, Schmidt said Friday after learning of the province’s decision to appeal.

“This is not about milk, this is about the respect for the individual’s right to make choices without government interference,” he said….”

Read the whole story on CTV.ca

And now, from Megan Ogilvie at the Toronto Star:

“Dairy farmer Michael Schmidt will be heading back to court for the next round in his ongoing fight to keep milk flowing from his raw milk operation.

The Ontario government is appealing the Jan. 21 ruling that found Schmidt’s cow-share program does not break any laws against selling unpasteurized milk.

The 55-year-old farmer from Durham said the government’s appeal to the Ontario Court of Justice signals “the next stage in a serious battle” for food freedom.

“This is not about milk, this is about the respect for the individual’s right to make choices without government interference,” Schmidt said in a statement. The farmer was handed the notice of appeal on Thursday.

On Jan. 21, Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky ruled Schmidt’s cow-share program is exempt from legislation set out in Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. He found Schmidt, who defended himself at trial, not guilty on 19 charges under the two acts. In his 40-page ruling, Kowarsky said the farmer does not advertise his product to the public and cited the lack of evidence that people got sick from consuming Schmidt’s dairy products….”

Read the whole Toronto Star story here.

And this is what we learn from “Better Farming”:

“A justice of the peace “erred in law” when he acquitted Michael Schmidt on charges of selling raw milk, says a notice of appeal filed by the Crown in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket Thursday.

The Crown wants the Ontario Court of Justice to overturn the Jan. 21 acquittal of Michael Schmidt by justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky and convict the Grey County farmer of violating sections the Milk Act and The Health Protection and Promotion Act between Aug. 17 and Nov 22, 2006. The Crown is also seeking an unspecified penalty against Schmidt. As an alternative, the Crown wants an order for a new trial.

Kowarsky ruled that Schmidt didn’t sell raw milk or distribute it to the public. He decided Schmidt actually provided milk to members of a co-op that bought shares in cows that Schmidt managed on his farm near the town of Durham.

Brent Ross, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, confirmed that an appeal had been filed on Feb. 11. “Given that it is before the courts, I can’t comment further at this time,” he says.

The Crown’s five page notice of appeal says the justice of the peace:
“misapprehended and misapplied evidence;” “erred in law with respect to legal burdens,” and “committed errors of statutory interpretation.”

The notice of appeal says Kowarsky “erred in law in his interpretation and application of the definition of marketing.”

Schmidt hired a public relations firm and acted as his own lawyer, but got advice from Karen Selick, litigation director with the Canadian Constitution Foundation. Selick, based in Belleville, said she and Schmidt would not comment on the province’s appeal today….”

Read that whole story on Better Farming website.

Here’s an excerpt from York Region.com:

Province Appeals Raw Milk Decision

BY JOE FANTAUZZI

The not-guilty verdict delivered last month in the case of raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt, who made his product available in Thornhill, has been appealed by the province.

Friday afternoon, Brent Ross, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the province launched the appeal.

In January, Mr. Schmidt was found not guilty of 19 provincial health charges by a Newmarket Justice of the Peace.

According to a copy of the notice of appeal, the province seeks the overturning of Mr. Schmidt’s acquittal, a conviction being registered against Mr. Schmidt and a penalty imposed against him or, failing that, a new trial.

Due to the case being before the courts, Mr. Ross said the province could not offer any other comment.

In a news release Friday, the Canadian Constitution Foundation said Mr. Schmidt was served with the notice of appeal and plans to argue constitutional issues not dealt with in a decision to acquit Mr. Schmidt.

“Now that the province is taking another stab at convicting Mr. Schmidt, it’s all the more important that the validity of the law itself be challenged again, to ensure that Canadians’ Charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person are safeguarded,” Karen Selick, litigation director of the constitution foundation, said in a statement….”

Read that whole story here.

3 Comments

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3 responses to “Media snippets on Province’s appeal of Michael Schmidt’s raw milk acquittal

  1. So many people have the right to raw milk as a food. People who want to work with this agricultural food also have a right to distribute the food, raw milk. You have to get the distribution involved more. Organizations that can distribute milk or already do distribute milk. Also include Milkmen. There was a time when the milkmen were a part of everyday life and accounted for a high number population in all areas of geography to receive milk via the MILKMAN DELIVERY SYSTEMS. The main reason why they have diminished in numbers or almost disappeared in our culture is due to the industrialization of Food. The reasons are obvious. Just read or go through all the Michael Pollan books or books by Carlo Petrini from the SLOW FOOD MOVEMENTS thoughout the world now. Currently, David Gumpert has a great book for learning, facts, and insights. This book, you know is, “THE RAW MILK REVOLUTION – Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights.” And it is not only America that this is being written about or documented. Just look for the news on recent riots or peaceful demonstrations in Europe. The farmers there are having to pour their milk out in large quantities because of price control. It is all the same for all nations. Agriculture, the people who agriculture feeds good foods to must stand united now.

    We urge you to be involved with Milk delivery systems, milkman delivery services; your direct connect to the consumer and in general, larger populations. The consumer is like the tax payer. The consumer is the tax payer. And people should not have to work for government or big business to keep them in power and control of things. It is all about money.

    If you cannot find a milkman in your area. Contact Milkman USA. we will help you find one. In addition, become a milkman or milk lady yourselves. Get the good foods to people. And they will stand behind you. Become leaders.

    Thank you. The Milkman is Back! And so are Milkladies. From their bosoms comes a seat of emotions. And so is Milk a symbol for Agricultural Sustainability. If the milk falls to any dictatorship, so does the food chain. It already has to a large extent and finally the people are revolting. we give much credit to the European community uprisings. It is about time the Americans follow. Think about distribution. Those in control cannot get rid of drug dealer distribution networks, but they want to get rid of milk, raw milk distribution. This is crazy, is it not?

    Distribution through and unity with Milkmen/Milklady type distribution networks can and will help the cause. They can help bring back your rights to raw milk and more. They are doing it now. Economically and Socially. Call on your milkmen now. Any comments or concerns, please contact us. Thank you.

    The Milkmen USA

    The Milkmen USA

  2. Bernie Bailey

    I am one of the last home delivery milkman in Ontario if not the last. The tradition was stopped by the big companies like National ,Dominion , ect . All of you over the age of fourty remember going into these new stores built on the edge of your town were the banners read like “we will not be under sold on Milk , Bread or Eggs” and you bought the these products that were not local but from some distant plant until there was not enough volume for the local producer/processor so they closed and now your cost for these products are one hundred percent higher. There are no independent milk men or distributers left but there are about a thousand cream shippers that the Ontario Milk Marketing Board just stopped picking up the milk and left the farmers stranded and about a thousand milk farmers that have been told by the Milk Marketing Board that their raw milk is no longer needed and they will be stranded with all those cows and no were to sell the milk so call the Milk Marketing Board and ask for the location of these farmers (they should know as they use to pick the milk up ) and get your co-op going

    Bernie

    • We understand some of your concerns and obstacles. Try selling best quality food commodities form the farms direct to the consumers. Most large stores cannot compete at this level. You offer best quality foods at higher prices. This will therefore enable you and the farmer to receive your fair compensation. Your milkman delivery should be a model similar to The Farmers Markets in Canada and/or the USA. See Farmers markets and how they operate in the big east coast cities, USA. See Manhattan Farmers Markets, Boston markets and other major cities on the east coast. You can be sure the White House is eating well.

      What we are doing here; Selling, marketing, distributing top quality meats (grass fed, etc.), poultry (pastured poultry), Farm Fresh Cheese, other dairy products – Drinkable probiotic Fresh From The Farm and local yogurts, butter, eggs, bread-artisanal and local bakeries, and more. Market and distribute these to the consumer direct to their door. Start in affluent areas and then into average neighborhoods. People buy quality, eat less and support sustainable agriculture. The system works. If you need more advice and details, let us know. We will be in touch. Thank you for your response. we are here to help the farmers, dairies, milk industry, raw milk, sustainable agriculture, agritourism, and more. Thank you.

      You must create, help create demand. The demand is there and so is the supply. The effort is worth the mission. And it pays well. In the NY Metro regions, a milkman run distribution system is very profitable. It should also be in Montreal, Toronto, and Quebec City. we know these areas and so it should work well for you in areas similar to these. Most areas with smart consumers can support this model. This model helps everyone except for the big companies and everyone else trying to control us now. People can either eat well or die from sickness. Good food, fresh water, clean water, and sustainable agriculture does and will continue to keep humans healthy. Perhaps they want us to die young to control the population. Or perhaps they want us to be sick so the drug companies can profit the way they have been. We said it once, we say it again; why do you think Hollywood and Europe and even the Orient are making films like Avitar? Why?

      Did you read Gumpert’s book; The Raw Milk Revolution? You can. It will help you to understand and see more. You are a patriot and an entrepreneur. You must continue and try new things, different angles of approach and you will succeed. There is a group of delivery men specialists who happen to specialize in dairy home delivery services. They meet each year. This year in Rhode Island. Check them out. You may get some good directions from this group.

      Keep working. Be free, be your own boss and work with others. Stay the course. You will and can succeed. You must market and sell your services as a specialized-higher quality distribution company. It can and will work in Canada at the right locations. Educate the consumer.

      If you would like to discuss more details or train with us here in Metro new York or other Metro regions in the USA, please let us know. I think we can help you to succeed. Every milkman that follows this model can succeed. I eventually see milkmen being able to distribute to the consumer, raw milk. In EUrope now, especially Italy, they already have Raw Milk Kiosks-self serve.

      The Milkmen USA

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