Canadian Press begins report on raw milk news conference with a response quoted from Premier Dalton McGuinty

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s story from by Romina Maurino, of The Canadian Press titled “McGuinty defends appeal of raw milk verdict as farmer calls it persecution“:

Photographer capturing image of Michael Schmidt imbibing while Karen Selick presents at yesterday's news conference at Queen's Park, discussing the Province's decison to appeal the raw milk verdict.

“TORONTO – The province is right to appeal a verdict in favour of raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt because of ongoing public health concerns, Premier Dalton McGuinty said Tuesday, while the farmer called the move another example of a government intent on interfering with personal freedoms.

“My understanding is that there’s still an overwhelming consensus among medical experts that raw milk presents a real risk to public health and we feel a responsibility to take this to a higher court and give the judge there an opportunity to speak to this,” McGuinty said.

The government is appealing last month’s decision by a justice of the peace to dismiss 19 charges against Schmidt of violating the Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Schmidt and his supporters say the appeal amounts to persecuting a small group of individuals seeking the right to make choices without government interference.

“This raw milk debate is about basic rights, which we have lost and we are losing every time this government passes another regulation without considering the most important factors of liberty and individual rights,” Schmidt said.

“People are starting to rebel against the nanny-state.”

The Durham-based farmer and activist vows to fight the appeal, and isn’t backing away from what he terms “the raw milk movement,” despite receiving two death threats since his acquittal and being publicly assaulted.

He has formed Cow Share Canada to help establish cow-sharing guidelines, testing and inspection procedures, he said. Meanwhile, the Canadian Constitution Foundation has approached the new health minister about eventually legalizing raw milk.

The appeal, Schmidt adds, is a political rather than a scientific one.

“During the trial, they never presented any kind of research which actually proved their point … they had no evidence to counter our claims that the milk we produce can be perfectly safe and actually has health benefits,” Schmidt said.

“They take all their research based on milk which is designated for pasteurization, but never did any research on milk which is specifically produced for human consumption.”…”

Get the whole CP story on the Yahoo News Canada site

Commentary: The Canadian Press is what used to be called a “wire service”. Their stories are widely repeated on papers and websites across the country, much like Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France Press and United Press International. It’s interested that the CP reporter was able to get a response from Premier McGuinty himself, and decided to lead the story with that. Goes to show what an important story this is, if the Premier himself would take the time to talk to reporters about it on short notice. Curious that they would talk about “persecution” in their headline, as I don’t think Michael Schmidt ever used that word. See his statement here. Are we seeing this story cast into some sort of stereotyped victim-mentality “narrative”?

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