Ontario judge affirms the Province’s dairy laws, convicts raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on 15 charges

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

Michael Schmidt talks to reporters at a news conference September 27th in Thornhill, at the raw milk blue bus.

“While expressing sympathy for the arguments of raw milk drinkers and producers, an Ontario appeals judge has nonetheless reversed Michael Schmidt’s exoneration nearly two years ago on charges of violating the province’s dairy laws. It’s even conceivable, the judge said, that Schmidt could be jailed.

In the judge’s opinion, the legislature made a rational decision to ban the sale and distribution of raw milk, even if it might have discriminated against consumers who want raw milk. .

In his 77-page decision, Judge P.D. Tetley stated: “The balancing of the competing interests of preserving and maintaining public health on the one hand against the resultant limitations on the right to choose what we eat, on the other is… a matter for the legislature. The restrictions imposed on certain residents of Ontario, as far as the consumption, distribution and purchase of raw milk is concerned, are within the authorized ambit or scope of legislative authority. In view of the evidence presented at trial it cannot be concluded the law, as it presently stands, is overbroad from a constitutional perspective or too sweeping in its breadth. While it may effectively discriminate against non-farm dwelling raw milk consumers, that fact in itself does not necessarily render the law non-Charter compliant, particularly in relation to the Respondent who, as a dairy farmer, is not a member of the restricted group.”

He said that Judge Paul Kowarsky, who originally ruled in favor of Schmidt by acquitting him of each of 19 counts of violating Ontario dairy laws, in January 2010, made an “error of statutory interpretation (which) led to a misapprehension of the evidence presented at trial as that evidence relates to the
substance of the charges in issue.” Justice Tetley agreed to dismiss six counts for one technical reason or another, but affirmed 13 guilty counts.

One big sticking point for Justice Tetley appeared to be that the structure of Schmidt’s cowshare program didn’t provide true equity ownership in the cows. The justice stated: “Although some uncertainty exists in the trial record as to whether the price paid by the consumer was for a specific cow within the herd or access to a portion of the milk production of a particular cow, the fact there were 150 cow-share members and only 24 cows suggests the agreement permitted access to the milk itself. This conclusion is confirmed at page nine of the publication ‘The Glencolton Farm Cow-Share Members’ Handbook’ which every cow-share member received along with a milk share certificate. The price to purchase a single share was
three hundred dollars or approximately one quarter of the price of a dairy cow. No formal contract of purchase and sale was executed by either vendor or purchaser. No corporate structure was created allowing the interested consumer to receive an actual share certificate as an equity owner in the corporation that included the herd as one of its assets. It appears that legal title to the cows remained with the Respondent as the owner of Glencolton Farm. Although the trial record serves to confirm that the Respondent viewed the dairy herd as being owned by the various cow-share certificate holders, in reality, the cow-share arrangement approximates membership in a ‘big box’ store that requires a fee to be paid in order to gain access to the products located therein. There is no evidence the cow-share holders were involved in the purchase of the cows in the herd, their subsequent sale or replacement, or that they had any say in the management of the herd or the distribution of the resultant milk product. The membership handbook indicates that the cow-share members fund the services of the Respondent and his wife to tend the cows and look after the milk production. The members are directed to pick up the milk at the farm or from the blue bus with one cow-share indicated as entitling the share holder to a yearly total of approximately 750 litres of unpasteurized milk, cheese, cream or other dairy products.”…”

Read it all on The Complete Patient blog.


Filed under News

21 responses to “Ontario judge affirms the Province’s dairy laws, convicts raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on 15 charges

  1. thebovine

    David says 13 charges in the article and we say 15 in the headline. This is because early versions of the CCF news release said it was 13, but that was later corrected to 15.

    Kudos to Mr. Gumpert for plowing into the 77 page judgement and pulling out some relevant passages. Notice that none of the local newspapers excerpted on the Bovine dug that deep.

    Like we said, this story is being watched by concerned citizens across the continent.

  2. It’s clear to me that these judges are bought off by special interest. When are we going to not only say no – but hell no? Judges can not alter our inalienable rights nor can legislatures. Start with nullification:

    • thebovine

      Of course that’s your speculation. Does that really happen in Canada? Anyone know of substantiated cases? Not that there wouldn’t have been a motive, or that powerful interests aren’t behind the effort to maintain the pasteurized milk monopoly in Canada.

      • Joe in Missouri

        All governments are corrupt and bought off, my friend, and main reason that they get this way is that your average man thinks governments are as moral as he is. The fact is that psychopaths are drawn to government service. Want proof? Just take a look around you….

  3. Tracy Poizner

    What a shame – another judge bought out. It gives me great sadness to know that my right to buy and use cigarettes and alcohol is secure, but I cannot go to any lengths to legally buy clean raw milk from a healthy cow of my choosing. Got Common Sense?

  4. somecanuck

    Stop with the conspiracy theories. And if you’re going to link to a web site screaming “omg our rights”, you should use one that refers to the country being discussed in the article. It’s Canada, not the US.

    • tuc mayfield

      thank you for that clarification. now americans can stop holding up canada as some kind of promised land.

      • somecanuck

        You’re right, that’s a dumb move too. Although I can forgive it, what with the US’s rate of incarceration, tragic healthcare, and fondness for war.

      • We emigrated here in 2006, because Canada is “less worse” than the US, not because it is a perfect “promised land.”

        But we could use some help. Just because Canada isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we can’t use all the disaffected, disenfranchised people America can offer!

        In particular, America is crippled by a one-party system with two corporate wings. Although election engineering has resulted in a government that six out of ten Canadians voted against, we also have the only Green Party national elected official in North America, and a wide variety of political entities.

        Canada is also kinder to those who live lightly, whether by choice, or chance. The floor for income tax is higher (~$18,000), and (at least in BC), the administrative and tax burden on small businesses is much less (no sales tax on gross receipts under $30,000).

        The flip side is that business interests are more consolidated. Up until recently, they’ve observed a certain “noblesse oblige” in avoiding the worst excesses of American greed, but recent governments have been following the US model of encouraging greed.

        I wouldn’t move back to the US for a million dollars.

    • Conspiracies are facts and the way the world works my friend. If you think otherwise you are delusional and have not studied history.

  5. Gordon S Watson

    as unpleasant as it is to swallow in the short term, this judge did the Campaign for REAL MILK a favour by pointing directly to the failure to argue the right to use and enjoy one’s private property
    as much as I hate the iniquitous income tax, I play the hand I’m dealt. Our herd in BC is as contemplated by an interpretive bulletin put out by RevScam re the Income Tax Act RSC … that an undivided interest in a herd qualifies a tax payer as a farmer, for the sake of the restricted farm loss in section 31 of that Act

    each share holder in the “Our Cows” herd in BC has an undivided interest in the herd, as an entity. The right to use and enjoy that property, set out in the Canadian Bill of Rights 1960 ( merely a law of the Parliament of the Dominion of Canada, part of the Constitution of Canada, says the SC of Canada ) entitles each of those farmers to take home their property, since it’s a dividend from that jointly-held asset. I mean, the REAL MILK produced by our cows
    Despite the Mis and Dis-information put out by the podium parrots, there is no Public Health Act Order telling our agister to Cease + Desist packaging raw milk for human consumption…
    because of the heroic efforts of Alice Jongerden & family up to Sept 14 2010, thereafter, Michael Schmidt. And also because the way our syndicate is arranged = well within what Judge Tetley has spelled-out as constituting a genuine cowshare = the REAL MILK is flowing here today
    Praise God!!

  6. Ron

    Keep up the good fight. The people of Ontario are watching! And cheering you on.

  7. Pingback: Kat's Food Blog » Raw Milk – A Consumer’s View

  8. I think I will become a judge so I can get rich taking bribes and doing Satan’s work!

  9. There sometime comes the time when all peaceful attempts to stop tyranny fail… was that day today?

    I would shake the hand of any man that give this tyrant judge that he so richly deserves.


    Do I interpret page # 48, paragraph #94 of Judge Tetley’s ruling correctly that, every Provincial Legislature in Canada ‘should’ not ‘may’ consider in their Provincial Health Policy the fact that raw milk builds up a person’s immune system and the lactic acid bacteria in raw milk kills pathogens which may cause sickness ?

    Also in paragraph #84, a Consumer may get an exemption from the Milk Act that prohibits distribution of raw milk milk when they personally apply to the court. Although in paragraph #83 states, when the person gets the exemption no farmer may provide the milk. This is a real problem with no real answer !

    Plus, it is implied that if Michael Schmidt had in his Farm Incorporate structure that if all Share Holders owned the land and animals and he being a Cow Share member also, that this would entitle all to be classified as the farm family to legally consume the milk.

    Am I wrong in my interpretation ?
    I must set up the future farm for Calgary in a legal way to prevent being in court. Please, I will consider all the free legal advise I can get. Thanks !
    E-MAIL- fuwmilkalberta@gmail.com

  11. (By the way, the link to the original article — both at the beginning and the end — is broken. It appears you left off “http://w” at the beginning of the “href” argument in the anchor tag, causing the link to go to a “not found” page on this site instead of going to The Complete Patient site.)

  12. thebovine

    Thanks, fixed that now!

  13. The court is worried about “Public Health” ? ..So, why don’t they make it a crime to sell “carcinogens” like cigarettes, alcohol (that creates alcoholics) …I guess the court “choose” what products are “good” are what products are “bad” for the “Public Health” of Canadians. Something wrong in the world today.

  14. Gloria

    I am ashamed of our government.
    They do not represent the voice of the people.
    When did we give the government authority to stripe our rights away?
    We didn’t !!!

    They quietly passed these types laws when we weren’t paying attention.
    Seriously, who has the time to monitor & patrol the government?
    They sneak these types of laws in all the time.
    Now we have to fight an uphill battle to win them back, but can we?

    In the beginning, we established government to protect us. We blindly trusted them to do their job in good faith, & in the interest of the people, not big business!! For shame on our government for not representing the voice of the people anymore & betraying us.

    Their power & force is that of a large boulder rolling downhill & destroying everything in it’s path. It’ll take a great opposite force to stop their tyranny now…. but we have power in numbers, and all hope is not lost.

    “United we stand, Divided we fall”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s