“….”I am asking simply for dialogue. I’m not asking for any concessions,” Schmidt said Tuesday in a telephone interview while participating in a rally in Washington, D.C.
“My condition is there is a dialogue started to get advice on how we can move forward from this stalemate.”
Schmidt began his hunger strike on Sept. 29 to push for a “well-educated dialogue” with McGuinty “about the issue of food freedom and responsible food freedom choice.”
Schmidt said he is for the establishment of standards for the safe production of raw milk and has “no problem” with health unit inspectors keeping an eye on raw milk production.
But he said he is against the outright “zero tolerance” ban against distributing raw milk.
A spokeswoman for the premier’s office said Schmidt’s written request to speak with McGuinty is “still being reviewed.”
Leslie O’Leary said federal law also prohibits the sale of raw milk in Canada. The provincial government “has no plans to change our position on this matter,” she said in an e-mailed response to questions.
Schmidt said he has lost about 40 pounds so far and his hunger strike has left him too weak to work at his farm. But he said he will continue consuming only water and lemon juice until he meets with McGuinty.
“There’s no sense stopping now when things get tough,” he said.
Three Ontario MPPs, including Liberal Greg Sorbara, sent a letter to McGuinty on Oct. 26 to request a meeting with the premier to “discuss ways and means for the legislature to examine” regulations that ban the sale of raw milk in the province.
The letters, also sent by Progressive Conservative MPP Randy Hillier and NDP MPP France Gelinas, suggest an all-party committee would be the best vehicle to examine the issue.
“It behooves the legislature to examine this issue and offer the people of Ontario both knowledge and insight into the benefits and/or drawbacks of raw milk sales,” the letters say.
“Mr. Schmidt has assured us that, if agreement is found on having a meeting, he would be willing to halt his hunger strike and await the results of our discussion.”
Schmidt is currently awaiting a sentencing decision after the Ontario Court of Justice overturned a lower court’s ruling in September and upheld 15 charges, brought by the province against Schmidt in 2006, related to the production and distribution of raw milk.
The Grey Bruce Health Unit is also planning to lay new charges against Schmidt in connection to the distribution of raw milk at a rally in early October. A lawyer for public health is considering how to proceed, spokesman Chris Munn said Tuesday. The decision could be made after Schmidt is sentenced for the other charges, he said.
Schmidt is scheduled to be in court today in British Columbia in connection with a cow-share program that has been banned from distributing raw milk. He faces a contempt of court charge in that case….”
Photo from from Tirra Del Giudice via Facebook. See more photos from the rally here.