Michael Schmidt refuses raw milk fines

From Aprons and Icons in Toronto Life:

Michael Schmidt talks to the media after his sentencing last Friday.

“After he professed a willingness to die to see the sale of raw milk legalized, it should come as no surprise that food freedom crusader Michael Schmidt is prepared to go to prison for his cause. Schmidt was in court in Newmarket last week for sentencing on convictions related to the sale of unpasteurized milk. The judge—who seemed entirely sympathetic to the cause—handed down a relatively gentle fine, but Schmidt, ever the hard-liner, refused to accept it.

The Globe and Mail reports:

Raw-milk crusader Michael Schmidt was handed a $9,150 fine and one year of probation Friday on convictions related to selling and distributing unpasteurized milk.

In an interview after the sentence was handed down in a packed Newmarket, Ont., courtroom, Mr. Schmidt said he would not be paying the fine. “I’d rather go to prison than pay the fine and that’s a matter of principle,” he said. “If I pay the fine, then this is almost like an admittance of guilt.”

An appeal will be filed within the next 30 days, he said.

We can’t say we have high hopes for this appeal, since Justice Peter Tetley basically agreed with Schmidt and still overturned his earlier acquittals. Tetley told the courtroom that there are many people, even in his own family, who drink the stuff, and that “the present legislation is inconsistent, at best.” And while Tetley acknowledged that “there’s a lot to admire about Mr. Schmidt,” he said it wasn’t a judge’s place to challenge the law.

Schmidt, however, wasn’t having it. “Sorry to draw the line, but since the Nuremberg trials, ‘doing my job’ is not a justifiable defence anymore for doing something not right,” he said in an interview after the sentencing. The former farmer’s continued defiance is entirely unsurprising by this point, though he claims he couldn’t pay the fine if he wanted to. “I don’t own anything,” he said. “I’m basically on the grace of other people.” (This may explain why defence lawyer Karen Selick argued for a $10 fine.) Worse, this sentence isn’t even the end of Schmidt’s legal battles: he faces contempt of court charges in Vancouver next week in connection with a cow share in Chilliwack, B.C.


Filed under News

31 responses to “Michael Schmidt refuses raw milk fines

  1. More power to you, Michael!

    Why is it that those in power don’t understand that, when they drive people to the edge, they feel they have nothing to lose, and then fight even harder?

  2. James

    First you can not put someone in jail for not paying a find because that would be deters prison and you can not put someone in prison for being poor. The is a legal term for this,I forget what it’s called right now, but the judge knows what it is and so should his attorney. Only (if) the defendant agrees to take the prison time or a fine because the court threatens the defendant with scare tactics sure, But with the proper objection, the court can only bark but it cannot bite.

  3. Peter

    Applying the Nuremberg “principle” (following orders is no excuse for violating someone’s rights) to his case and affairs are, in my opinion, way out of line. He was deemed to have violated the public trust, so to speak, and so was, in effect, trespassing. If he could show/argue that he has a right to sell to the public, perhaps he has standing. I also find it interesting the liberty with which “right” is declared, as though his perspective (measure) of what is right and what is wrong is “correct”. If you judge, understand…

  4. Thanks Peter
    I once had a friend who argued just like you, but failed on every level once confronted with the court and it’s reality. I respect your opinion but begin to wonder what the practical background of your arguments are. If you like to give me call or email me I would appreciate. In no way I am saying you are wrong, but there are many different points of observation and conclusions one can come too.
    My e mail Glencolton@bmts.com contact me an I will connect with you.
    I am interested where you are coming from.

    • Peter

      I endeavor to observe, and apply logical reasoning, void of emotion, politics, posturing, bias, agenda, or the like. If we both employ logic in evaluating the same facts against the same laws/principles, we should, in theory, come to the same point (like math). The process we employ to come to the answer that 4 is the sum of 2 plus 2 varies (different points of observations). And if we come up with different answers, I would suggest either our calculations (logic) are in error, or our measuring sticks (law/principles) are different.
      Your request for examples of practical application suggests that what is expedient in the now is of greater import than to hold a coherent understanding or to stand on certain/definite principles. In deed, if you can see the parallel, your request for examples is akin to judging the messenger, rather than the message. The message is everything. The messenger is nothing… so to speak.
      PS – FYI: the examples of practical application abound, but are typically only appreciated when viewed from the perspective of a judge… Not that of a biased party (such as a prosecutor or defendant).

      • I keep wondering if you are Peter or somebody who does not want to show his face trying hiding behind Peter.
        I can very well imagine what your answer will be . It does not matter anyhow, having read your dissertations about law and what matters or does not matter.
        You in fact sound like a George i know who had an incredible talent of arguing legal matters but confusing moral and personal responsibilities with realities of life,
        I do challenge the man behind the name Peter to come forward instead of hiding.
        Facing each other in openness without hiding behind Mr. Anonymous is one of the great skills in an honest debate. By the way this has nothing to do with judging or avoiding an issue, it helps to get some handle on a some times very slippery and fishy discussion.
        We all come we the karmic package and are never void of the personal touch. Judges are human, prosecutors are human, defenders are human. We all meet in the courtroom and try to sort out issues of content.
        Yes from an emotional disconnected point of view law is like math. But is justice the mathematical result of law?
        We might as well put in a computer the math of justice and remove the human aspect this way. Than it does not matter if Peter is Peter or George or Charlie.
        Peter I am waiting for a constructive dialogue, you have my e mail
        I always believe that Michael needs to be Michael even on a blog.

      • Peter

        If nothing else, I hope you are able to reflect on your preoccupation with the messenger, rather than the message. Your prerogative, but, in my opinion, inevitably your ceiling.
        This blog appears to be as good a platform as any for the exchange of ideas for open and constructive dialog. To counter your perspective, it might be argued that anonymity is more conducive to the exchange of ideas, and bypass judgement of the one conveying the idea.
        On the topic of moral values, I believe you identified that they are in fact subjective, as per your last sentence. If you hold the high moral values against which we should measure what is right/wrong/just, your karma will undoubtedly find you in high places, and you need not be concerned/insecure about the opinions of a Peter, George, or Charlie. In deed, in your own words, “Then it does not matter if Peter is Peter or George or Charlie.”
        PS – Thanks for being Michael, even on a blog. I be Peter.

      • BC Food Security

        Yes, Peter thank you for your viewpoints. But what is your point ? There are many avenues for activism and social change ? It is like an orchestra you have to work all of them i.e letter writing to MP’s, radio and TV shows, blogs, rallies, yes passive resistance, yes sometimes breaking the law (if it hurts nobody ) , town hall meetings, letters to the editor etc. You never know which one is going to work or when it is going to work ? But you trust the process and keep working away with faith ? I feel your problem might be that your are microanalysing the ” traffic ticket ” and the decision of whether or not to pay it and missing the boat totally on the overall context ! You are simply playing word games and dueling over legal interpretations like it was a game of chess ! To some extent legal process is a game – and I must say i find this very sad . How can we improve the legal process so that it is more human ? Or maybe , from your replies , you believe our highest aspiration is to become easily manipulated ROBOTS ? I do not feel your anonyminity contributes to making the legal system more humane ? Why is that ? Michael is very public and very vulnerable with his views (and even gets hurt for them ). I would have much more respect for your opinions if you had similar strength ? ( Don’t worry I don’t recommend you or anybody else go on a hunger strike ! ) . But there is an old saying about “courage of conviction” . I just don’t think you can compare your opinions with Michael’s visions . You raise valid points about legal process and that is useful up to a small point. But this is a SOCIAL CHANGE movement first and foremost and not a blog for hucksters trying to dodge traffic fines and parking tickets !

      • Peter

        Hi BC. Thanks for your comments.
        There appears, in my opinion, to be a great deal of frustration with the way things are. I am here only to contribute a different perspective with the hopes of bringing some clarity. If my input fails to bring clarity, then I have failed in my aim.
        Your call for a more humane system is, I suppose noble. My question is: Who or how are we to ascertain what is more humane, and what is less humane? A system has boundaries, rules, principles, etc. Should those boundaries vary by the whims of some majority or minority? Does the imposition of 51% of the people on the 49% constitute a more humane system? It has been my observation that the vast majority appeal to politicians to do them right. As such, they are asking for whimsical solutions to be imposed on us. So what is the root that is “fair”? I would suggest it is freedom. However, the vast majority are not asking for what is “fair”, nor are they asking for freedom. They are asking for a modification in regulations, or even more regulations. This is all not a problem, but does perpetuate, to infinity, the frustration, or lack of perceived “humanity” in the system. Is it possible that we have a choice to be governed by emotional whim (politics), or by principles (law)?
        Again, my apologies if my contribution does not provide clarity.

      • Peter

        “Ideas are very important to the shaping of society. In fact, they are more powerful than bombings or armies or guns. And this is because ideas are capable of spreading without limit. They are behind all the choices we make. They can transform the world in a way that governments and armies cannot. Fighting for liberty with ideas makes more sense to me than fighting with guns or politics or political power. With ideas, we can make real change that lasts.”


    A Hindu saint named Paramahansa Yogananda once said , “In this world, we are all a little bit crazy, and we don’t know it, because crazy people of the same kind mix with the same kind of crazy people. When people differently crazy come together, then they find out about their own craziness.” He also made a similar quote in the context of nations. There are certain things that this sweet little country called Canada is doing that are way out of line with all the civilized nations of the world. How does one know ? By contrast. If one lives hear all one’s life than one may buy into the fear-based lies that are fed to us since we are children i.e Raw Milk is Poison, Vaccinations make you healthy , Mercury is toxic everywhere but inside your mouth, fluoridation fights cavities, GMO food will cure the world hunger problem etc. The problem is also that we have trained too many robot-like bureaucrats who have not a clue what a feedback loop is . Once they are given a procedure to enforce they feel they are good to go for eternity regardless to the cost of what they are doing in terms of human suffering .

  6. This judge is an abomination to the concept of just government or justice.

    Juries have been nullifying laws for over 300 years why can not this judge nullify this law? Is that not the whole concept of 3 branches of government acting to stop the other 2 branches from acting tyrannically?


    • Peter

      I believe it is one thing to throw out a general complaint that Tetley was unjust in his decision making. But it is another to substantiate it (i.e. what principle did he violate).
      Within the whole concept of the 3 branches of government is that the Judiciary not to make political (whimsical) decisions, but to make decisions at law (what is fixed).
      In court process, the determination of fact is rather subjective, and might be determined by either a judge or jury. As is evident by your own comments that most people are simply not sufficiently grounded in a unified set of principles to be able to make a determination at law (and I am not saying or implying that I am either). As such, it is principally reserved for the Judge. I see, by your links, that you hold an opposite view, and that is your prerogative.
      Please check if your accusation that Tetley is an abomination stems from a subjective emotional vantage point, or an objective principled perspective.

      • Peter with all due respect you ought to speak at a level that others can understand.

        The mark of an intelligent person is an ability to put their thoughts into words that others can understand.


      • Peter

        Thanks for your feedback. Appreciated. I’ll try to be more intelligent than I have been, if in deed such is up to me 🙂

  7. rainhard pitschke

    I have a strong suspicion that peter is a lawyer, joe. A troll lawyer. He assumes much and within arguements inserts bafflegab and half-truth…and worse. The facts are clear here, yet he won’t admit this judge is not adjuticating truth but applying legal force. The judge admits to having no problem with raw milk. His sentencing decision (his last opportunity to at least register moral conscience) shows his desire to inflict rather than administer justice. (Of course, I’m sure Michael wouldn’t pay a $1 dollar fine either….and the judge knows that would be more of a public emberassment) The defense attorney even admits that justice is not to be had because of ‘oath of office’. These are the ‘facts’…..All the rest regarding raw milk have been thoroughly disregarded previously by the powers representing pasteurized milk, global takeover of food production…etc. The understanding of those ‘agendas’ peter ‘suggests’ is an emotional, subjective viewpoint. I say they are the real ‘facts’ here.
    @peter….state clearly that you agree or not that this (corporate policy) is what is driving ‘judgement’. You can choose to be anonymous, but at least come out of the woodwork.

    • Peter

      If there are points or comments I made which appear as a half truth, or is somehow otherwise deceptive, or conflicting, I would be happy to clarify.
      If you are experiencing frustration with what I have suggested, you are not the first.
      To answer your “challenge”, my very strong opinion is that the economic well being of large corporations (and perhaps the nation itself) (what you might call corporate policy) is in deed clearly driving public policy here in Canada and the US (and likely elsewhere). However, I am of the view that all of this is perpetuated because of our own ignorance of law (as distinct from public policy). In my opinion, it is the failure of we the people to put the words “govern” and “responsible” in a proper context. Moreover, in my opinion, it is our inability to state what is wanted, rather than what is not wanted, that leaves us in the perpetual state of “victim” mentality. At the root is the inability of most people to engage in the arduous task of thinking. Forgive me for calling things out for what they are, but the point I make about thinking is edified by general fact that the audience here on the Bovine has not highlighted the fact that regulations and freedom are at total polar opposites. Nor has it been noted that the government is unable to give you “responsible food freedom”. Rights are a product of law, not politics. So why all this stuff about McGuinty? In my opinion, Michael, and most of society, has most of us hopping (fighting for this, fighting for that… to no end!). Pied Piper is leading us to wherever they want us to go. Is it any wonder we end up with corporate policy? IMO, power lies within. It is not something granted to us by someone/something else. So long as we are looking for someone else to give it to us, we are a subject, and will invariably reside in victim mode. This is because our sense of well being would be dependent on someone/something else.
      Again, if there is something you would like clarified, please don’t hesitate to ask.
      Blessings 🙂

      • Thanks George that makes it as clear as mud

      • Bernie

        @Peter: ***In my opinion, Michael, and most of society, has most of us hopping (fighting for this, fighting for that… to no end!). Pied Piper is leading us to wherever they want us to go. Is it any wonder we end up with corporate policy? IMO, power lies within.***

        I’m going to agree with you on this one Peter! How close to home you have hit!

      • Bernie

        @ Michael: I have spoken, both on the phone and email with George on occasion. While both Peter and George talk legal speak, Peter does not take the same ‘tones’ in his legal speak that George does. Just my thoughts…

      • Peter

        Again, if there is something you would like clarified, please don’t hesitate to ask.

  8. BC Food Security

    I don’t dispute backroom influence . But I wonder how that works in Ontario ? How would the provincial government influence a judge to act a certain way ? It seems more like they just keep appealing until they get the result they want from a more conservative judge ? Since they have the unlimited resources of the taxpayer’s bank account it seems like a “no lose ” situation ?
    I know in the US I have read anecdotally that there are , indeed, special CIA judges who bypass the laws for certain things if the “Powers that Be” have a special reason for requiring an exemption . I do not have specific examples to support what I am saying at this time .

    • Peter

      There are nations that have kangaroo courts. I do not know with certainty that Canada or the US have such courts. If we do, I would suggest the entire judiciary is already hopelessly in disrepute, and there is effectively no point going to court, for there is no remedy at law.
      However, once you see that the underlying element which the court is attempting to ascertain is responsibility/liability, a whole different perspective emerges. Civil liberty does not exist with responsibility. Responsibility coincides with thinking. Most people’s thinking, however, is clouded by their emotions and their bias. The need to know the messenger is itself evidence of a person’s subconscious bias towards the message, rather than purely thinking on the content of the message.
      And so, with that perspective on the Canadian judiciary, I am not convinced it is as politically influenced as many people perceive it to be.

  9. Peter congratulations over your latest contortion of words – all I can say is that I don’t give a damn about “law” at all. All I care about is justice.
    What is lawful not legal. About mala en se law – not mala prohibita law.

    Much of what you say is blatant BS for instance:

    “Rights are a product of law, not politics.”

    You could not turn the truth further on it’s head if you tried Peter. Rights are an innate condition of all men in all countries at all times. They can not be modified in any way or taken away by governments. The only thing governments can do as far as rights is to violate them.

    Governments are scared to death that men will learn this self evident universal truth and will they will even kill you to prevent you from learning it.

    Yes I think you sound like an attorney. The level of cranial rectal inversion of attorneys is hard to fake.

    • Peter

      Thanks for your comments. I am sorry to have confused you. That was not my intent. If I may, I would like to suggest that “justice” and “law” go hand in hand.
      What is just is what is fair. What is fair is what is equal/even. All human being are born free and equal in dignity and in rights. We are free to allow nature to adjudicate (which it will anyway), or we can engage the mental/fictional domain, and ask “man” to adjudicate. In either case, what is applied in the administration of justice is law. There is no escaping it. You are invariably adjudged by law… For sure by nature, and perhaps by “man”, if you choose to participate.
      There is no obligation to participate in civil (man made) justice. But if you don’t then you also have no civil recourse when someone (your neighbor/police officer, or whoever) violates your “rights”.
      It is true that the government grants privileges, which have the colour of right. However, your human rights are a product of natural law. This is universal, and they are unalienable. And this conclusion is derived strictly through objective thinking. As such, they are not variant from one political regime to another, which always have ideological social agenda.
      Again, if there is a point or comment that comes off as BS, please feel free to highlight.

    • Peter

      On re-reading your post, it appears you perceive law to be a product of the state. Social policy is a form of law, but limited in its application. Natural law is the underpinning law of any lawful court. Perhaps in deed you will concur that Rights are a product of law, not social policy making by governments.

    • Peter

      You seem to insinuate again that I am George. Your prerogative, I suppose. If this is a cause of some confusion, would it alleviate you if I logged in as “George”, or “Charlie”, for that matter?
      Anyway, if the content of my comments are confusing, please feel free to highlight, and I’ll try to clarify. I endeavor to engage in constructive dialog here. However, it is difficult for me to proceed unless the points of confusion are identified.

  10. I give up Peter.
    I will let others comment if they wish.

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