This morning, both sides made their arguments at the Ontario court of appeal as to whether or not the raw milk injunction should be stayed while our constitutional application is moving along.The judge reserved his decision; our lawyers say we might not receive the decision Monday, but they do expect it sometime next week.
I want to express gratitude to each and every person who came out to the hearing this morning; I think we somehow got to the exact right number (we must have been about 40, maybe more, including several people I spoke to from other cow-share communities). The room was full even after the clerks brought in extra chairs, and while unfortunately a few people could not get into the room, it meant that every time someone left, another took their place. Maybe our presence officially made no difference, but NOT having the room completely full of supporters to witness the process would surely have sent the wrong message that maybe it wasn’t so important to us.
And please, please share it widely across social media. The online campaign is just one part of the fundraising picture – individual community members have been generous with legal donations through FarmMatch, cheques and e-transfers – but it’s our primary way of mobilizing support beyond our direct cow-share communities.
Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 23rd, the lawyers that we are raising funds to pay for (see post below) will be appearing before a judge at Osgoode Hall to put forward a motion for a stay of the injunction, pending an appeal of the January 2018 decision to grant injunctions to criminalize the operation of the milk bottling and cheese-making operation (aka a “milk plant”) at Glencolton Farms, as well as distribution of milk to Coop members in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
Estimates are that the courtroom may have space for 30-40 audience members. Some of those seats may be filled with supporters of the injunction. Raw milk and food freedom enthusiasts are encouraged to come out and show their support. The outcome of this motion is very important to the farm and to those wishing to drink the milk
Please be sure to remember to bring your best court room decorum. I’m sure you are all already aware, but the judge will be very irritated by any talking, cheering, cell phones, etc. If anyone has to leave the court room during the motion for some reason, please re-enter quietly and bow to the judge upon entry. Our lawyers will be quite focused going into the hearing, so will not be able to talk much to anyone outside the core group until after.
The short title of proceedings is: Gavin Downing et al. v. Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc. et al.
Help us defend constitutional rights of raw milk consumers in Canada!
Raw milk consumers across Canada have spent decades peacefully trying to obtain raw milk from local farmers despite the threat of harassment from the authorities. Finally, some of us have stepped forward to tell the courts that our constitutional rights are being violated by laws restricting access to raw milk – a food that is perfectly legal to consume in Canada.
A January 2018 injunction against anyone “selling, delivering or distributing” raw milk in Ontario was the last straw, criminalizing peaceful citizens who want access to this safe, unprocessed food. So, with the encouragement of leaders from several cow-share communities in southwestern Ontario – we’ve mobilized!
We found a highly experienced lawyer to represent us on a partly pro bono basis, and his legal team has been building our case at lightning speed. In early February they served a Notice of Application against the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada, on our behalf – 19 raw milk consumers and two raw milk producers, whose freedom of conscience or religion, and security of person, are being violated (under sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).
All 21 of us applicants made this commitment despite financial risk, the ordeal of being cross-examined, and fear of the unknown consequences of taking on the Government. We did this not only based on our personal conviction, but on behalf of our raw milk communities and other consumers across Canada, who all stand to benefit from this constitutional challenge.
Please help us pay the legal bills: $100,000 during the next ten months. (Regardless of which side wins at the Ontario Superior Court, the decision could be appealed and ultimately the case may be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. So next year, unless the case is settled, we will have to raise money for the next round.) Continue reading →