“The matter is still under review” — an aide in Premier McGuinty’s office

David E. Gumpert, America’s foremost raw milk journalist, has had a lot of posts lately themed around Canadian raw milk farmer and potential martyr, Michael Schmidt. He’s recently done a story on Michael for Grist.org. We’d excerpt that, but he Grist site seems to be down at the moment (here’s the link in case it’s back up by the time you read this.). So here’s something from David’s latest post on his The Complete Patient blog.

A Political precedent for McGuinty acceding to Schmidt’s pressure:

Robert Kennedy with Cesar Chavez as he concluded a hunger strike in March 1968.

“Ontario’s premier, Dalton McGuinty, may well be wondering if meeting with Michael Schmidt might involve a loss of “face”…that he will look weak if he accedes to the dairy farmer’s request.

He might want to take a look at the photo here. It’s from March 1968, and shows Robert Kennedy, then a U.S. senator from New York, and a candidate for the Presidential nomination, meeting with migrant farm leader Cesar Chavez on day 25 of his hunger strike on behalf of laws to protect farm workers. Chavez ended the hunger strike after meeting with Kennedy. And here is some video footage of Kennedy speaking to reporters after meeting with Chavez. 

It might be said that Kennedy had an important political agenda associated with his decision to meet with Chavez–the California presidential primary was coming up that June. But Kennedy was the only one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination to take up the cause of Chavez. The gesture didn’t hurt, since Kennedy won the June California primary (only to be assassinated the evening of his victory).

I don’t think political advantage was all that motivated him, though. In the process of serving as U.S. attorney general and then becoming a senator, he had become ever more sensitive to the desperation of America’s underclass. His ability to relate to America’s poor and disadvantaged was the primary factor in his rising popularity.

He would go on the next month, after his meeting with Chavez, to make one of the most courageous speeches any American politician has ever made, the evening of Martin Luther King’s assassination. He was to speak at a political rally in Indianapolis. When the King assassination occurred just a few hours before, Kennedy was advised to cancel the rally. He insisted on holding it, even after Indianapolis police refused to accompany him into the city’s black area.

Here is a video of that speech. It is well worth watching, Premier McGuinty (and everyone else), for an inspiring example of a politician trying to appeal to the best in people, rather than the dark side.

I spoke today with one of Premier McGuinty’s press aides. I wanted to know whether the premier had made a decision on whether to meet with Schmidt–this in connection with an article I was doing for Grist about Schmidt’s hunger strike. No, the spokesman said, the matter is still “under review.” Could he tell me when a decision might be made? No, he didn’t want to “speculate” on that….”

Read it all on The Complete Patient blog.

1 Comment

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One response to ““The matter is still under review” — an aide in Premier McGuinty’s office

  1. SA

    Excellent connection.
    I hope McGuinty does look at this. I hope the readers of the Bovine look at this.
    Blessings to those who stand up against injustice, and for what is good.
    Sincerely,
    Shirley Ann

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