From a post by Pat Winter on the Support Michael Schmidt Facebook page:
Meet Michael Schmidt in the park and partake of milk and cookies.
Michael Schmidt,my farmer and friend, will be sentenced by Ontario Judge Peter Tetley on November 25, 2011 at 9:30 am per a recent appellate ruling which overturned a previous court decision that he did indeed have a legal right to provide cowshare owners with raw milk.
This September 2011 ruling convicted Michael on 15 of 19 charges and shockingly reversed the lower court’s decision to acquit him.
Michael has been courageously fighting for the fundamental right to provide raw milk to consumers in his local area since 1994 when his farm was first raided by government officials. Michael recently ended a 37 day hunger strike when an overwhelming outpouring of public support persuaded Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty to meet with him and discuss furthering the issue of food choice in Canada.
Please make sure your presence is respectful and thoughtful as possible. The idea is to emphasize that there are no victims in this case. No one was sickened or hurt by any of Michael’s actions to support the cowshare owners of his farm.
31 responses to “Milk and Cookies in the park in Fergus Monday Nov. 21, with Michael Schmidt”
Are we governed by emotion, or by logic? Reference has been made numerous times on this blog that there were no victims in this case. No one was sickened or hurt by Michael’s actions. But for those who highlight that point, or support that notion, what do you make of a speeding ticket? Are we just as upset about the fact that no-one was hurt when I was traveling down the road “too fast”, and so it is an unjust law or imposition on my liberties? My question is: what imposition is justified, and what is not?
Peter, “what imposition is justified, and what is not?”
You implied that you disagree with Michael’s actions because it is against the law as is speeding. But, taking prescription drugs at one’s own risk is lawful but we have a choice and it kills hundreds. This is one case on trial, so do not group all farmers with this. Michael Schmidt’s milk record is as you stated, not one even sick. Thus we should have a choice.
The law is the law but a few are unjust and have no common sense. So,
as Premier Dalton Mcguinty agrees with this and requested of Michael Schmidt to lobby every Ontario member of the Legislature to change this unjust law for Premier McGuinty can not by himself change the law.
Your question Peter, “Are we governed by emotions, or by logic?”
Neither, we are governed by LAW and you will eventually get you speeding
Richard, I would have to concur… we are governed by law. And I would suggest that logic is reasoning of facts against law. It has been my experience that many don’t engage in logic when contemplating law, but emotionally decide something is a bad law.
In my opinion, your reasoning doesn’t necessarily hold water. If I’ve been driving for 50 years without incident/harming anyone, should I then continue to be prosecuted for speeding, or consider the law as unjust?
By what virtue is one to guage what is a good law, and what is a bad law?
I must say I don’t really understand your comment about “not group all farmers with this”. What do you mean? Where did this come from?
I appreciate that consuming prescription drugs, or whatever else, is lawful. But surely you are not suggesting that consuming raw milk is not unlawful?
It is not unlawful to drink raw milk but to sell it and the Law Bench
interprets this law.
Hello Peter, I appreciate the point you have made with this question. I am sorry to read that there seems to have been hostility expressed in a response.
Exploring your point…
The first thing is that it is assumed that ticketing for speeding reduces accidents. And, that, I assume has to be established with some kind of evidence or expertise. if one is charged for the distribution of raw milk, will hefty fines eliminate or reduce the activity? And is that the goal in this case? Now that it is established that he if found guilty of the charges what is the criteria to establish appropriate sentencing. From where do we have expertise and evidence from which to draw, in this case, to determine the appropriate course of action. I would like to know and understand the purpose of sentencing in this case. From there I might then be more able to explore how this may be different then a speeding ticket.
Now let me look at what this was made reference to, which was that “no one got sick”. That, is, that no wrong was committed. And in fact we are assuming a potential wrong. Assuming that someone might get sick. The idea here is that it is assumed that punishment for this charge should in some way protect people from wrong. In speeding, it is extablished that wrong has occured in the past and that fines have been an effective measure to minimize such wrongs. In this case there was no wrong , in the apst or otherwise,so how is it then determined what will minimize it in the future?
imposition of liberties is directly connected to the establishment of the notion of the common good, which infers that any limitation of liberty is or must be for the common good inorder for an imposition to be valid or serve the purpose of law. Where someone has been wronged or violated in some way an imposition may be warranted toward seeking the common good.
Your remark about hostility struck me… Are you perceiving hostility on my part, or on someone else? I had not sensed hostility myself, but then I may be missing something… either in myself or the other party…
As for contemplating the justification of fines for speeding, because harm has been shown in the past, the same applies to raw milk…
I believe the Crown can argue that the potential for great harm exist for both driving too fast, and for drinking raw milk…
Well I sensed hostility on the part of the first response to your posting. The manor in which you brushed it off at first seemed quite giving but then started to become a little bit patronizing later on. At least that is my honest view of it.
I was not aware of any wrong associated with Michael’s milk in the past or any other that has followed such a stringent standard. And any wrong that has been attempted to be associated has been shown to be of such fallacy as to make it trivial. Like for instance grouping raw cheese into the same category, and lumping any ill effects of raw cheese to raw milk. A funny kind of argument is being made around illness association. If we take the time to examine the manor in which information has been collected we find that it is done by some grand assumption, such as, a person presents with illness like listeria or e-coli and it is noted that they have had unpastuerized milk. Despite not testing the milk or finding no direct evidence in the milk the agency will record the event as being associated to raw milk. No one is able to regulate how these agencies are gathering information. Information that is being used by industry to make cases that serve their own purposes. If we were to examine the same such experiences in the european countries where access is completely legal we find a big discrepency in the data.
I have to say that I find the example of speeding to be of such a different context that it really makes it challenging to compare them and draw any useful rational. Driving has inherent hazards that have to do with things like the conditions, competence, circumstance and the such. Choices in driving come about quite differently then do those associated with consumption of food, as do the relevent possible outcomes. What I do like about what I believe to be a fallacious argument relating the two is that it gives us all the opportunity to explore it and participate in the dialogue.
Oops i notice I got a little side tracked. “A funny kind of argument is being made around illness association” For instance, Where a industry is under controls and regulation it does not seem to matter how many outbreaks or illnesses are associated (directly or otherwise) so long as it already has a structure to deal with it, effective or not. But in the case of the non regulated the most statistically irrelevent is utilized as a example of hazard. statistical relevence or comparative analysis between regulated and not can not be used to argue the point toward safety even though it makes no sense that they should not be explored. And so we find that there is far more illness associated to pastuerized milk yet the arguments claiming illness associated to raw milk are continued to be made without such a comparative context.
Maple leaf Foods has a huge outbreak and turns around and wants to be a leader in the industry to have more stringent standards for not just themselves, but everyone else. Even though everyone else did not have an issue. The absolute nature of the law is itself is problematic. We have things, ideas such as scope that we may wish to utilize when we create our rules. Especially as evidence seems to suggest that many issues have a direct link to the scope or size of an operation or action. Local farmers for instance that wish to butcher their animals without having to ship them 3 hours away should really have the ability to do that. It is a different scope of operation and the standard should really be modified to accomodate the context of the action.
I think it becomes problematic when we have an industry of inspection and certification and the such, as they inherently will go about seeking to proliferate their objectives, and invade into inappropriate territory or domains of human life. It seems to me that it is such offices that are seeking to go beyond the direct needs of their offices and create situations where they may be of greater need and better social leverage, like toward the process of creating better efficiency of controls and promoting the environments where those aims can have the best results. Is it any wonder that they often don’t work so well for the small producers, of such diversity and complexity?
Yes, I appreciate that the Law Bench interprets this law. But I fail to appreciate the point you are trying to make with it. But if I may add, I would suggest that you and I also engage in interpreting this law.
I would take exception to your suggestion that it is unlawful to sell raw milk. It is in deed illegal to sell it to the public in many jurisdictions, but that does not make it unlawful. (And no, I’m not splitting hairs, but rather making a fundamental point which is often missed).
But I believe my original question remains unanswered. What imposition is justified, and which is not? Is the law against speeding just, but the law against selling raw milk is not? What is the logic?
So whether one is guilty or not of the law is not really the point here is it? I think the idea centers around the process of sentening. The question is what role does the sentencing play in relation to the justness or justicity of the law. For instance, in the case of the person driving their whole life without a ticket or accident being fined for speeding. Was the ticket an unjust thing on account of the driving history of the recipient? Or does the recipient’s driving history and particular case play a role in determining the sentence, of the found driving infraction of speeding?
You have caused me to re-read the original post. I was not focusing on the sentencing… I had not interpreted the statement: “The idea is to emphasize that there are no victims in this case” as appealing to a marginal sentence. My apologies if in deed I took it out of proper context. My bad…
I had applied my comment to a broader context of the existence of the law itself, and whether it was just or not.
So, yes… that no one was harmed is typically taken into account by the court in the sentencing. Same would be for someone with a perfect driving record, and then being given a speeding ticket…
Hey Peter I would really like to know the difference between illegal and unlawful. It sounds empowering somehow!
“The word “lawful” more clearly implies an ethical content than does “legal.” The latter goes no further than to denote compliance, with positive, technical, or formal rules; while the former usually imports a moral substance or ethical permissibility.”
I can see how that difference helps triangulate where one might find themselves in relation to the law, as in the manner in which it was originally used by you. That legality and lawfulness are two different things though inherently related
I sure hope that the Law Bench explores sentencing from the stand point of common good and not what is good for the Law Bench. It often seems to me that where the industry of law can best be suited often plays a role in how the law is carried out. ( As seems to be the case for most professions and industries).
Peter I could agree wigh your comparative assessment of the two laws if it would have a way to be compared. In the case of raw milk according to the law milk becomes a hazard when it crosses the road or leaves the farm. Farmers drink it, farm workersdronk it, children drink it. There is no law governing consumption.
In regards to speeding every one is bound by this law, except police or emergency vehicles.
Therefore you cannot compare or trivialize the cause.
One if the worst arguments for a living democracy is to blindly follow the law. Since the Nuremberg trial it has been established that blindly following the law is not an excuse in the international courts.
We are talking about regulatory offences not about laws properly passed by Parliament. Regulations do very often not comply with fundamental principles of law, simply because they were neverchallenged in court.
How about if a regulation comes out that you are forced by law to only drink 2% milk. Follow the law please anddo not argue that anybody should have the right to object to this in order to be a good member of society.
How about GMO’s? We are forced to eat something most people object to.
Food rights are falling in line with human rights and the civil rights movement.
Taking your comment that milk becomes a hazard when it leaves the farm suggests that it is not a hazard on the farm. By the same token, driving my car on my private property at high rates of speed is also not a hazard. Neither are, by statute, infractions. I can “speed” on my property all I want. But once I do it on public property, it is deemed a hazard, and subject to statutory law.
One of the hazards of people is in blindly following leaders. It could be argued that it may in deed be better for uninformed/unthinking citizens to “blindly” follow the law (so long as one is not trespassing on the rights of others).
I am not aware of any statutory law in Canada that compels anyone to consume any particular foods, GMO or otherwise. I recognize that GMO products are everywhere on the store shelf, and is permitted to be there without labeling. However, a compulsion to consume it does not exist.
In deed, just as one might be seeking choice between “pasteurized milk” and “raw milk” on the store shelf, we also have a choice between “regular” product, which may contain GMO, and “organic”, which does not (or is not supposed to…). Furthermore, nothing prevents us from contacting the company that makes a product, and receiving information about whether it has GMO ingredients or not. But that would entail a “responsible” consumer…
Yet, in another instance drinking and driving your vehicle on your private property is against the law, I suppose that inplies hazard. though I don’t think changes your point. Though I am not sure I understand it either. I believe in fact the law might be best suited as a baseline for a more universal experience, where in fact the notion of free will can not quite be challenged. As you put it “uninformed/unthinking citizen” I often had this self dialogue while contemplating passing through that ridiculous red light in the middle of the night. That is, in the absence of thought, through illness or some state, the continuity and consistancy of stopping at red lights will proceed to deter collision at the intersection.
In the case of GMO labelling there does not seem to be some sort of baseline universality of such a manner in the realm of labelling. It just seems somehow odd that ingredients are required by law yet the fact that it contains genetically modified material is excluded. One may not know what monosodiumgluamate is but if one see it on the label they can become informed. In regards to GMO one actually has to be informed by some relatively obscure source that is quite distant from the place of choice, and it seems to stand away from the underlining principal implied in the act of labelling, which is informed choice. But then that was the point of monsanto ensuring the GMO was not classified differently then other foods to begin with. And we don’t need to get into how that story leaves one with a perception of the manner in which laws (rules, statutes, whatever)are created. And how the GMO thing relates to hazard.
Often times I encounter a position, that I have to say I feel is a little naive, by someone that believes that things are done as well as they can be and we are somehow serving society best by not challenging the law and doing as we are told to do.
some problems with sentencing is that fines can be viewed by industry as a way to effect entry into the marketplace. For instance an industry can lobby legislators to determine fines. And seek them to be applied absolutely and equally, irrespective of scope. In many instances this can totally be inappropriate like when the BP just devasted the whole gulf coast and the maximum fine is $200,000. for trillion dollar disaster. Or it creates situations where Big corps like MapleLeaf Foods can actually create a situation to push for more legislation that will ensure their market power in the future. They could afford to have a needed outbreak to push forward costlier standards that will change the bottom line of smaller processors and effectively push them out of the market.
The laws are made to serve the people and not the other way around (.Ideally speaking ) It is a collective will of the people that brings a law into play and is the collective will of the people that decides to update or remove that law when it no longer serves a constructive purpose to society. People either individually or collectively have a right to use logic OR emotions OR both when deciding what laws are really needed and what laws are no longer needed.
Your comment duly applies to public policy (a form of law), but not law itself (referring to fundamental law). Law proper does not change.
Once again peter I am interested in these details. can you please expand on this notion “law proper does not change” in relation to public policy?
Karen where are you ?
They put Fluoride in our water, allow GMO foods to be mass produced and not labelled, allow the use high fructose corn syrup in a vast majority of packaged foods, allow for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where the animals are injected with antibiotics, steroids, hormones and fed corn (which causes E.coli and a whole other problems)….but it is illegal to buy RAW MILK??? My dad grew up in Europe and that is all he drank. The Queen herself drinks it as per Globe article:
Why isn’t Maple Leaf foods being charged and shut down, they have had massive listeria and E.coli outbreaks. Is the law protecting us from those large corporations, or are the large corporations being protected by the law?
We should not be drinking or buying raw milk from factory farms that feed their cattle corn, who they don’t go outside, and are pumped full of drugs. Rather from small local farms, where the cows are grass fed, see the sun (vitamin D), and are treated well, there is nothing wrong with it. It is the best possible milk we can drink. This is a matter of personal food freedoms and rights!
For those who delegate responsibility to the government to oversee their well being cannot, within that space, exercise their right to choose.
We all have personal freedom. No one has negated you, though that is the common perception. And most everyone has the excuse that they were not taught the principles of freedom (which, by the way, is not the responsibility of the state…).
You are welcome to the choose not to buy or eat food from factory farms, or from cattle fed corn. That is your prerogative. However, that a subjective ideology (small farm food, no corn, etc.) be imposed on everyone else would, in my opinion, violate the principle of mutual respect.
Gives new meaning to the let them eat cake quote.
Marie Antoinette , Queen-consort of Louis XVI of France, exclaimed “let them eat cake”, …
Maybe she meant cake made with gmo grains ,trans fat,high fructose corn syrup
msg flavour(Excitotoxicity )and pasturized and or cream and butter(loaded with hydrogenated fat. or margerine.
Wake up folks or die in your sleep.
I would reply to your post above, but this blog is limited to 3 comments deep, so I’m starting a new one.
Thanks for your feedback about hostility/patronizing… Duly noted.
Just to clarify, I am by no means challenging the quality of Michael’s milk. In deed, I know it to be of the best quality. No reservations there at all. In deed, my subjective perspective wholly endorses the various virtues of raw milk. However, that other nations adopt a different social policy than Canada, and that their data collection or opinion about raw milk is different is the prerogative of sovereign nations. To suggest things should be done the same in Canada as elsewhere is, perhaps inadvertently, inviting a one world order. And I get that there are possible inequalities, and even conspiracies behind the scenes. That is not lost on me. However, to subject ourselves to whimsical law (ever changing social policy) perpetuates the victim mentality, and does not empower us at all. It perpetuates group think, and the notion that what is just is established by a majority. It perpetuates the idea that we must fight for our rights, and lobby politicians. In my opinion, that is hardly a foundation to feel confidant or comfortable in.
I hear you when you say that speeding might appear to be different from selling raw milk. However, one must appreciate that the Judiciary is always assessing who is responsible, and therefore who is liable. There is liability associated with driving a vehicle, and there is liability associated with selling raw milk. The original comment stemmed from the notion that Michael’s actions did not result in any harm. But that is no defense for speeding (but I’m open to suggestion why it might be…). I concur that there are differences between driving and selling raw milk. However, I challenge the notion that “no one was hurt” as a valid defense.
Appreciate your follow up comment. Very well said. I concur. In light of that comment, I ask: Why do we want the government to regulate raw milk? If we look at what happened to Home Schooling in Alaska, you can see the inevitable. A regulated market place is the antithesis of a free market place. The consumer loves to ask the government to protect them. No doubt Michael will gain much traction among consumers to have regulated raw milk. But few recognize the inevitability, as you pointed out so nicely, and as can be seen in virtually every regulated industry.
2+2=4. That is a law, and it does not change. The law of physics does not change. Those are absolute laws. Furthermore, where man aspires to employ “fairness” in their dealings, principles for the administration of what is fair have been well established. As such, we have what is called the necessary law of nations, or the principles of the law of nature as applied to the conduct and affairs of nations and sovereigns. For example, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights is a necessary fundamental principle for the administration of law in the light of what is fair. As such, human rights are unalienable. No one can take them from you, and you cannot give them away. They are part and parcel of who you are. It is only a matter of recognizing them, and realizing them. And yes, they are necessarily recognized by a court of law (not a kangaroo court), and they necessarily aspire to uphold them. In my humble opinion, failure to properly appreciate that responsibility is directly associated with freedom is at the heart of this milk issue. Not everyone has the ability, or the desire, to be responsible. In deed, the majority just as soon delegate responsibility to the government… Hence regulations.
Wow, you guys really lost me. From milk and cookies to speeding down the highway. Since you were using a car analogy it seems to me that the best way to explain this law would be that, only people who owned or work for an auto plant making the cars would be legal to obtain a vehicle. However this law was only in one country. Many other countries let everyone choose if they wanted a car/truck and even what kind and from whom. Some of the others allowed you to have a car but with more restrictions.
Would you not think this law questionable and try to have dialogue to change this law maybe even drive a neighbors car because he/she was lucky enough to work at the plant? What even makes the entire law more interesting is when you no longer work for the auto plant you can no longer drive the car/truck!!! If you then get caught driving a car/truck you are subject to a fine and maybe jail time and the person who let you drive the vehicle is subject to the same penalty and plus his car could be taken away. I do not know about you but it makes no sense to me.