Last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of Durham, Ontario farmer and raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt. The court’s decision found that Schmidt’s cow-share program does not exempt him from regulations concerning the sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk. Schmidt has vowed to take his case to the Supreme Court.
The ruling went on to state that, “lifestyle choices as to food or substances to be consumed do not attract Charter protection.” That’s right. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a document that purports to protect the most fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians, doesn’t cover a person’s freedom to choose what to eat.
Ontario’s milk law, as it is written, banning milk sales outside of the monopolized Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) quota system, is covered by a thin veil of false legitimacy which seeks to mask threats against independent dairy producers with incentives for those who will voluntarily participate in their monopoly, and to disguise a system of coercive force as voluntary and contractual.
Michael Schmidt’s case is an outstanding example of how peaceful non-compliance can help lift the veil of false legitimacy and shine light on the truly nefarious nature of government regulation. Since the early 1990s, Michael Schmidt has steadfastly refused to bow to threats of force made against him by the state, with regards to his dairy operation.
Schmidt’s peaceful non-compliance begins with his decision not to apply for a quota from the DFO. Here is where the force of the government first peeks out from beneath the thin veil. With his refusal to attain quota status; instead opting to operate independently, the government begins to claim that he is liable for thousands of dollars in fines. Of course, Schmidt never voluntarily signed a contract with the DFO or any other person or organization, which could have created such liability.
The real impact of Michael Schmidt’s non-compliance comes with his refusal to pay the government-imposed fines for violation of regulations to which he never agreed, pertaining to the private property of himself and his associates. It seems that Michael Schmidt understands that a payment of a fine resulting from non-compliance with a given government regulation would stand as a practical admission of guilt, and would grant legitimacy to a coercive regulatory system….”