Monthly Archives: May 2017

Second day of injunction application hearings for Glencolton Farms, May 30 — the hearing will continue on May 31

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Neither rain nor sleet nor day-long court hearings….

Today, Tuesday May 30th was another full day of presentations by the Crown lawyers (representing Milk Director Gavin Downing) and by the lawyers for York Region (also representing Peel and Simcoe regions).

Which means the hearing is not over yet. It continues with presentations from the several respondents, and from Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) as intervener, on Wednesday May 31st — probably all day — and then if that’s not enough time, the judge may be able to find another half day somewhere in his schedule. He apparently doesn’t have any longer times available until 2018.

They Come From Away

You meet the nicest people at raw milk trials and hearings. Yesterday and today we had the opportunity to meet Raoul Bedi who is originally from Ontario, but has been living in BC, where he has been helping promote the raw milk cause. Raoul occasionally contribute material to the Bovine, such as this recent article on legal terms.

Also at this hearing we have Liz Reitzig from Maryland (or somewhere in New England). She’s here to help Michael with media relations and whatnot.

And at the hearing today we had a couple of journalists from England interviewing farm-share members. Perhaps they’ve come to document the unbelievably quaint customs out here in the former colonies — such as the official total prohibition on raw milk. Canada’s the only G8 country to have that, as you may have heard.

Yesterday, a raw milk farmer from the Ottawa area who has been in the news not long ago — Michael Ilgert — made the 4 1/2 hour trek to Newmarket to show his support.

In the News:

Read the York Region Media Group story on the hearing, by Lisa Queen who was here Monday to interview people.

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First day of injunction application hearing for Glencolton Farms, May 29

Lewis (Skip) Taylor talks to a reporter from CTV during the lunch break.

About two hundred coop shareholders, supporters, and interested members of the public came out today to Newmarket court to hear the start of the application for injunctions regarding the Glencolton Farms raw milk operation.

Although the hearing was scheduled for 9:30 am, it was nearly 11 am by the time things got underway in earnest. Some of that first hour and a half was taken up with a motion from the lawyer for Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing (subsequently referred to here as “the Crown lawyer”). This motion would have converted Our Farm Our Food Coop’s status at the hearing to that of a respondent (from being an intervener). Council for OFOF, Lewis (Skip) Taylor objected to the motion, saying he would need time to consult with the members, because the motion had been filed so late. The Crown lawyer decided not to pursue it further.

The lawyers for the Crown and for the Region of York agreed that the ARC Coop and the Christian Community church could be represented by non-lawyers. Elisa van der Hout will represent ARC, which is the workers coop at the farm, and Jonah Evans will represent the church.

Most of Monday was taken up by presentations by the lawyer for the Crown. Both he and the lawyer for York Region were to have finished their presentations today — which raises the question as to whether the proceedings will be finished on Tuesday as originally envisioned. Tuesday was to have been devoted to hearing from the respondents, and presumably some counter-arguments after that.

Two reporters were on hand to cover the proceedings. A York Region Media Group reporter was there in the morning, interviewing people outside the courtroom. And a reporter from CTV Barrie was present during the morning court proceedings. He stayed to interview Lewis Taylor, counsel for OFOF, Michael Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout, over lunch hour. Continue reading

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Background reading for proposed raw milk injunction Court hearings May 29th and 30th re Glencolton Farms

Raoul Bedi, BASc, has thoughtfully compiled some background material for us to study in preparation for going to Court May 29th and 30th in Newmarket (50 Eagle Street) at 9 am. 

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Michael Schmidt and Elisa van der Hout with some of their preparatory reading for this week’s court appearances.

Ontario Court Lexicon for Current Raw Milk-related Matters (Part 1) Compiled by Raoul Bedi, BASc

Newmarket Court Case File Numbers :

                  1. CV-16-125371-00

                  2. CV-16-125250-00

The Applicants, Gavin Downing, Director under the Ontario Milk Act, and the “Regional Municipality of York” draw upon , at least, 7 different sections of law, including laws at the municipal,provincial and federal level, in their claims, in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, against the defendants, Michael Schmidt, ARC inc., Glencolton Farms, The Church of the Christian Community in Canada, et al . These include :

                1. The Ontario Milk Act RSO 1990 cM.12

                2. The Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990,Ch.7

                3. Provincial Offenses Act, RSO 1990, cP.33

                4. Municipal Act

                5. Rule 40 of Civil Procedures

                6. Section 101 of the Courts of Justice Act

                7. Section 127 of the Criminal Code

Breaking it down further, the 2 cases most heavily involve #1 , The Ontario Milk Act, and #2 , the HPPA followed by #4, the Ontario Municipal Act, where 4 sections are drawn upon.

The following focuses on the laws and regulations the plaintiffs seek to apply from the Ontario Milk Act and the Ontario “Milk and Milk Products” regulations 761, to interfere with and/or ultimately halt the private, member-only operations of “Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc.”, it’s employees, supporters and friends in the enjoyment of their god-given food and private property rights and good health.

I – The Ontario Milk Act Continue reading

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The Last Spike in Raw Milk’s Coffin?

Glencolton farmer Elisa van der Hout leads a group of OFOF farm-share members on a tour of the farm’s dairy barn in April of 2017.

The injunctions being sought at Newmarket Court next Monday and Tuesday may well be the final nail in the coffin of raw milk, if Ontario milk director Gavin Downing and the Region of York have their way.

The proposed injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, located about two hours northwest of Toronto, in Grey County near the town of Durham, and would also prohibit the continued distribution of raw milk from the farm to people in York Region. The injunctions would prohibit even advocating the consumption of raw milk. Simcoe Region and Peel Region have subsequently joined the injunction application, so people in those jurisdictions would also be affected, as well.

This farm has, in the past, faced numerous raw-milk-related charges, most recently arising from a raid in 2006. However, in the past, charges have been on the level of regulatory offenses. If the injunctions being sought are granted by the court, any continuation of these activities could result in criminal charges, not only for the persons named — Michael Schmidt, Elisa Van der Hout, and Markus Schmidt — but also for any John or Jane Doe, and for the Christian Community church which has been a distribution site. Continue reading

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Canada – first to criminalize raw milk?

From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:

“After 23 years of unsuccessfully chasing down raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt via raids and court trials, the Ontario government seems finally to have settled on its version of the “nuclear” option: Its minions are seeking an injunction against the sale and purchase of raw milk, an action that could well have the effect of criminalizing all distribution and even consumption.

The injunction seems likely to be invoked by an Ontario judge next week after arguments next Monday and Tuesday, predicts Schmidt. The effects of the injunction will be immediately chilling, he explains, because implementation of the injunction will come with a proviso that Schmidt and the 150 members of his coop pay all legal and court costs associated with the government demand for the injunction, a cost that Schmidt has no illusions about: “I can guarantee you it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”…” Continue reading

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This Affects Us All — Newmarket Court Injunction Application May 29th, 30th

Video interview with Markus Schmidt (Michael Schmidt’s son) by Marianne:

The story below was originally published in the May 2017 edition of the Glencolton Moos (newsletter for Our Farm Our Food Coop members). It was written by Carl, who has been working in the administration at Glencolton Farms:

How far will we go to secure the future of local, healthful food in Canada? On May 28 and 29, Michael Schmidt, Elisa Vander Hout, Markus Schmidt, Agricultural Renewal Co-op (i.e., Glencolton Farms), Skip Taylor (representing Our Farm, Our Food Co-op [OFOF]), the Christian Community Church, many OFOF members, and many members of the wider community will be attending a court hearing that will decide the future of raw-milk drinking in Canada, and that will affect the whole small-scale farming community, as well as those who depend on it to get the food they want.

With this last point in mind, we here at Glencolton Farms want to emphasize that this court case is not just about unpasteurized milk. It is about the future of farming and small-scale agriculture as a way to obtain healthful, wholesome food that we feel proud to share with our families. It is about maintaining a connection with our local farmers so that each and every one of us knows where our food comes from, how it is grown, and what goes into growing it. Continue reading

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Ready for Raw Milk Roller Coaster? Newmarket Court Dates May 29, 30

The following is a roundup of news and views on the raw milk situation in Ontario heading into the May 29th and 30th court dates at which the injunction applications by the Ontario Milk Director and by the Region of York will be considered. If approved those injunctions would result in court orders shutting down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, and distribution to Our Farm Our Food Coop members in York Region and elsewhere. The proposed injunctions would also criminalize the act of advocating the consumption of raw milk:

This video was recently posted by farmer Michael Schmidt:

From Liz Reitzig:

The Canadian Government is gearing up to criminalize raw milk consumption!

Show up to court on May 29-30 at 9:00am. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario. It goes to the core of food rights.

Actions:

  1. Show up in court on May 29-30, 2017 9:00am to send a clear message that Canadians care about food rights. (If you are unable to make it due to geography or logistics, please share this message far and wide) The courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street Newmarket Ontario
  1. Donate to help cover ongoing court costs https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights

Background:

In October 2015, Glencolton Farm was raided for the third time. During this raid, several farm owners stood in defense of their right to farm and have access to their foods. Continue reading

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