This is excerpted from a recent post from “Bruce on the Bruce” blog titled “Michael Schmidt THE POPE OF HOPE”:
Michael Schmidt: “I do understand politics and I have no illusion about today’s politics when it comes to protecting fundamental liberties.
My road to politics was triggered by events connected to basic food rights. Our farm here in Grey County provided essential services to people with ailments. Since 1983 we provided food grown in a certain way, which according to our customer statements helped them to get healthier.
With no intention to break the law I developed a contractual arrangement between our farm and our educated customers to provide a service for them, which in return, would entitle them to the same food, we as farmers rightfully consume.
The building of a farmer-consumer relationship based on equal trust has been a priority of mine for 32 years.
In 1994 our farm was raided by the local Health Unit and was for weeks under surveillance by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food. Eventually we got charged under the Milk Act and under the Health Protection Act.
We appealed the orders in front of the Health Appeal Board (which is a farce) and provided lots of evidence in support
of our raw milk, as a safe product and also as nutritional important for the health of our customers.
Since the appeal board is not an independent body, it was no surprise that we had a negative ruling.
The following trial in the Provincial Court, ended with a forced guilty plea for the following reasons:Our farm insurance was cancelled suddenly without proper notification.
No insurance company would take us on as a client unless we plead guilty (is that corrupt or do I miss something here?).We have been harassed for over 6 months with break-inns threatening phone calls and cars sitting at the road continuously watching our farm.
Repeated raids by the Health Units supported by the OPP became more aggressive
Two cows were poisoned.
One of our workers was driven off the road and abducted
I had to realize that the general public did not yet understood the imminent threat to their individual rights and therefore I did not have the support needed to fight these regulations.
We had owned 600 acres before the trial , shortly thereafter we had only 100 acres left due to the circumstances of losing the ability to sell our products and pay our mortgages. Our 300 acres farm ended up to be owned by our lawyer who “defended us”.
It took us almost 6 years, to get some settlement from the law society for the conflict of interest behavior of this lawyer. We never got this farm back.
Originally we had 45 cows and had only 4 left, we had to sell almost everything ,including farm machinery to stay afloat and alive.
I was fined 3500, dollars and received a 2 year probation.
In 1995 I decided to rebuild our farm and fight for justice.
I proposed a joint research project regarding the safety of raw milk to the Government of Ontario and the Milk Marketing Board which controls the entire milk market including its dairy farmers. The research proposal was pushed off the table; that’s when I went public at a press conference with the announcement that I will rebuild our dairy operation.
I also pointed out that I will go on a hunger strike if once again police comes and raids our farm.
That worked. Government left us alone for 12 years.
In these 12 years we managed to serve 200 families on a weekly basis, with their food from our farm based co-operative model. In all theses years we never had any reported outbreaks of illnesses.
In 2006, the farm was raided again by 25 armed officers of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Local Health Unit.
Dairy Equipment was seized, products were confiscated and destroyed at the local dump, computers taken away and many boxes of office files. The farm crew was confined inside the kitchen for seven hours with armed guards on every door, 19 charges were laid again under the Milk Act and under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
We had been under surveillance for nearly a year. We had an undercover agent obtaining milk products for the purpose of testing our milk.
Extensive testing took place. No problems were detected but I was charged.
Initially I obtained Clayton Ruby, as lawyer to defend us against the charges but had to drop him for financial reasons.
I then took over my own defense.
Finally in 2009 I had a 6 day trial against a Government legal team of 8.
In January 2010 the judge came down with a 40 page ruling acquitting me of all charges.
The essence of his ruling affirmed, that we had worked well within the current legal framework. He also ruled on the States limits when it comes to the private realm of contracting.
This was a breathtaking ruling by a legally trained Justice of the Peace.
The current Government in Ontario simply ridiculed the judge’s ruling and did not accept the lower courts decision. The Ruling is currently under appeal by the Attorney General and the local Health Unit.
Over the last 4 years news media polls have suggested a solid majority of 85% an average in support of our position, that people should have a choice and the Government should have no right to tell us what we should or should not eat.
75% of those in favor were simply fed up by too much Government control.
I did observe a major shift after the positive ruling in my trial. People suddenly saw hope again that one person’s stand can make a difference.
I received hundreds of e mails and phone calls for help. People expressed hope that we can change things around.
That simply assured me that there is a need to get involved in the political process. Coming from Germany I do not want to be questioned by my grand children in 25 years from now: Why did you not stand up to this dictatorship when there was still time to do so?…”