From today’s Crown appeal of Michael Schmidt raw milk case in Newmarket

By Linda Nguyen, Postmedia News:

Raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt talks to Post media reporter outside the Newmarket courthouse during a break from the appeal proceedings

“NEWMARKET, Ont. — A justice of the peace made critical legal mistakes when he found dairy farmer Michael Schmidt not guilty of distributing raw milk and cheeses last year, argued the Ontario government Wednesday in an appeal of the landmark case.

Ontario justice of the peace Paul Kowarsky erred in the January 2010 ruling when he threw out 19 charges related to the distribution, production and sale of raw milk against the Durham, Ont., farmer and cow-share operator, said Crown lawyer Alan Ryan.

It is illegal to market, sell, distribute or deliver unpasteurized milk or cream. Yet, it is legal to drink raw milk or use the raw milk to make cheese.

Canada is the only G8 country to ban the sale of these products, which some argue has greater health benefits than the available pasteurized milk.

The provincial government, along with the local Grey-Bruce Health Unit, told Ontario Justice Peter Tetley that Kowarsky’s decision is not based on legal reasoning, partly because the justice, who is originally from South Africa, did not have the required background because he was never a lawyer in Canada.

In the ruling, Kowarsky upheld the two pieces of legislation Schmidt was charged under in 2006 — the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act — but still found the farmer not guilty of the offences because he only gave access to the raw milk to the joint owners of the cows and not the public at large.

These cow-share members were aware that the milk was unpasteurized.

About 150 families purchased $300 memberships from Schmidt for the partial shares in 26 cows he keeps at Glencolton Farms, located about two and half hours northwest of Toronto.

Schmidt’s lawyer, Karen Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation, countered by raising two constitutional arguments during the daylong hearing.

She argued her client was being denied his right to liberty because he’s not allowed to engage in his “life’s work” of biodynamic farming and health promotion. She also said denying Canadians their right to choose the food they want to eat, for health reasons, also contravenes with quality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms.

“Individuals have a right to decide what to do with their bodies and what goes in their bodies,” she said. “So by forbidding people from getting raw milk, they are impairing some people’s health. Some people do better on raw milk.”

Selick called these charges based on a “crime that nobody complained about” and that “victims” were all willing knowing participants….”

Read it all on Canada.com

3 Comments

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3 responses to “From today’s Crown appeal of Michael Schmidt raw milk case in Newmarket

  1. Gordon S Watson

    very odd that the govt. lawyer would bring up the JP’s personal background. Such would NEVER happen any other time … a layman who tried to voice that kind of thing would be given one sharp rebuke then cited for contempt of Court
    This low blow gives away how desperate the AG of Ont. is …
    As Elvis Costello put it (so well) : “I used to be disgusted … now I just try to be amused” … at the chicanery of the Black Robe Cult

  2. Level Headed

    As Mr. Watson said, “very odd that the govt. lawyer would bring up the JP’s personal background.”

    He’s referring to this: “The provincial government, along with the local Grey-Bruce Health Unit, told Ontario Justice Peter Tetley that Kowarsky’s decision is not based on legal reasoning, partly because the justice, who is originally from South Africa, did not have the required background because he was never a lawyer in Canada.”

    Agreed Mr. Watson, it is very odd and quite pathetic that they would stoop this low. Personal attacks always reveal a weaknesses in the group making the attacks. It means logic, law and due process is not on their side, and so they resort to childish tactics such as this.

    Europe is so open to raw milk, but as the article says Canada is the only G8 country to ban the sale of these products. Our government’s lack of professional attitude towards this whole question of raw milk and food rights in general is quite pathetic. I do not say that in a derogatory way, but in a factual way — it is pathetic that we do not have the brains in our government, it is pathetic for Canada as a nation and for Canada on the world stage.

    No wonder young Canadians don’t vote, they’ve lost confidence in their government. Young Canadians are smart and intelligent, and these are prime examples of why they don’t vote. There’s nobody worth voting for.

    If Harper or Ignatieff took hold of this issue and supported Michael Schmidt publicly, either one of them could have their own easy majority. Young people would notice… by the millions. They are smart.

  3. On the other hand, the Crown allows and promotes the fluoridation of the water supplies on those unaware of its health effects.

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