Once again, food rights are on trial in the province of Ontario. Ontario’s Milk Director and York Public Health are asking the court to criminalize the production and distribution and advocating of raw milk.
Previously these had been merely regulatory offenses and advocating had not been an offense at all — merely the exercise of freedom of speech. If the requested injunctions are granted they will become criminal offenses, and those convicted of them will have a criminal record. We’re talking distributing or advocating for raw milk. Does that sound like the Canada you know and love?
Seventy members of the Our Farm Our Food Co-op (the latest incarnation of the farmshare organization of families who organize to help make it possible for raw milk to be produced at Glencolton Farms) have signed affidavits to be presented in court, attesting to the importance of raw milk in their lives.
Those affidavits are in support of a request to the court from the Our Farm Our Food Coop to be granted intervener status in the proceedings. Parties named in the proposed injunctions include Michael Schmidt, the Agricultural Renewal Coop (a workers coop of people who run the farm) and the Christian Community Church (where the milk has been distributed in Thornhill) as well as any John or Jane Doe who deals in raw milk, transports it, or advocates it.
There will be a motion before the Court — The Ontario Superior Court of Justice at 50 Eagle St. in Newmarket, right across from the Town Hall — to convert the application for approval of the injunctions, to an action. If that motion is granted, it would mean that the case could be heard by a jury rather than by a judge.
Michael Schmidt is asking people to demonstrate to the Court that this is a matter of public interest by showing up in Court and witnessing the proceedings, which will take place between 8:30 am and 4 pm this coming Monday Sept. 26th and Tuesday Sept. 27th.