“Glasses of raw, unpasteurized milk were raised outside the Chilliwack health unit Tuesday in a “toast” to the Fraser Health Authority, which won a court order shutting down the co-op that produced the milk.
“We completely disagree (that) raw milk is a health hazard,” said Michael Schmidt, who has taken over management of the co-op since founder Alice Jongerden was forced to step down after defying a court order.
The issue isn’t health, Schmidt told reporters Tuesday, but freedom of choice – and the right of the 450 families in the co-op to drink raw milk if they choose.
He said “a “dangerous precedent” is set when authorities decide for citizens what is healthy and what is not.
“People have the right to make their choice,” he said, pointing out past mistakes of government authorities that approved asbestos and DDT.
Schmidt said he was “properly” charged in Ontario with the same offence, and found not guilty at trial, but Jongerden has not even had her day in court.
“Fraser Health used dictatorial methods to put her out of business,” he said. “They take you out of business even before you can argue your case in court.”
The Ontario government is still appealing Schmidt’s acquittal.
Jongerden said under the broad terms of the B.C. court injunction she is prevented from having anything to do now with the dairy operation.
“There’s absolutely nothing I can do anymore,” she said, and she’s forced to “sit back and watch somebody else live our dream.”
Jongerden was charged with contempt after co-op members continued to collect the raw milk, even though it was labelled “not for human consumption.”
Co-op member Rick Adam, who attended the Tuesday protest, said a raw milk diet was “absolutely crucial to turning my health around” after he picked up an infection following surgery in 2006.
Living on a limited income, the 62-year-old said he feels like a “victim” of government policies, and vowed to “work to save the freedoms we too often take for granted.”
Schmidt said he would not rule out civil disobediance to continue the fight against “a dictatorship of bureaucrats who are not accountable.”
“We’ll do anything to keep this running,” he said. “It’s our duty to object to bad laws. It’s the citizen’s duty to break bad laws.”
“Regulatory laws are not laws properly passed through Parliament,” he added. “This is where the new dictatorship comes from.”…”