Author Archives: thebovine
Michael Schmidt at the Walkerton trial on obstruction charges — questions re email deletions and police escalation
On his Complete Patient blog, David E. Gumpert has published a comprehensive roundup of the state of the two pending legal cases regarding raw milk at Glencolton Farms:
“In one action, Schmidt and Elisa VanderHout face the threat of court proceedings from an injunction to “enforce” the ban on “distribution” of raw milk. Michael and his wife, Elisa, argue that the milk act does not apply to the shared ownership arrangement that governs the operations at Glencolton Farms.
The submissions for the injunction case are over. A ruling from the judge could come any day on whether or not he will grant the injunction from York Region and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture. If granted, the ruling will move the prosecution into criminal proceedings (contempt of court) to any farmers, mothers, community leaders, etc. who participate in a milk drop or handle raw milk for human consumption. In the case of Glencolton Farms, the farm is a cooperative structure, which means that many members own the farm and benefit from everything that the farm produces. This case in Canada is an important one to watch as the ruling—either way–will significantly affect what foods Canadians have access to and how the regulatory agencies and courts will target individual farmers and producers.
In a second and more dramatic case, Schmidt continues his trial on the charges of obstruction of a peace officer . These charges, against Michael and originally four other men, stem from the raid on Glencolton Farms by Glenn Jarvie and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in October 2015. During the raid, the government confiscated computers and some documents before 80 farm owners, friends and neighbours showed up and blocked the driveway. Farm members stood in the cold driveway at the farm, blocking the government vehicles from leaving as long as the trucks had the farm owners’ property in them. Only five people were charged. Over the course of the hearings for the obstruction charges, all were dropped except the charges against Schmidt and two other defendants.
Schmidt provided a recent video update where he speaks about the bureaucratic mishaps that have him labeled as a Canadian “terrorist,” in the words of at least one law enforcement person involved in the court proceedings. The irony of this is that Michael is a firm advocate of peaceful resistance. The entire time Michael has stood up for his rights as a farmer and for the rights of consumers to procure the foods of their choice from the producer of their choice, he has done so with an emphasis on non-violence.
Just after he gave that update, Schmidt was back in court. During that court proceeding, after a particularly agitated exchange between the defendants and the judge, a spectator left the courtroom and said aloud that the court proceedings were not seeking the truth or justice. This led to the court police assaulting the man, giving him injuries that led to his being taken to the hospital where he was released after treatment later that day. Schmidt provided another video update about the incident….”
The obstruction trial is set to continue in Walkerton on July 28th, August 4th and August 25th of 2017.
What turned out to be a four-day hearing into the application for injunctions against continued operation of a milk plant at Glencolton Farms and distribution of raw milk in the Regions of York, Peel and Simcoe, wrapped up late Monday afternoon.
In the morning, Lewis Taylor presented to the court on behalf of intervener, Our Farm Our Food Coop. Much of the afternoon was devoted to a presentation by farmer and respondent Michael Schmidt. This was then followed by about an hour of rebuttal by lawyers for the Regions and the Crown.
The judge has made no promises as to when he will announce his verdict in the case. Respondents will be notified of his decision by email.
More than 100 people — mostly members of the OFOF coop or other farmshares — were crammed into courtroom 401, which is smaller than courtroom 108 where the case began last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But in an effort to accommodate all the people who showed up, the judge allowed audience members to occupy the jury benches as well as the spectator gallery.
A television reporter and cameraman from CTV Barrie was present throughout the morning. The reporter, Mike Walker, interviewed both Michael Schmidt and Lewis Taylor for the evening news.
You can watch Mike Walker’s CTV report online at this link.
Contrasting Ontario Laws and Acts about Raw Milk in Courts with other Major Jurisdictions (Part 2)
by Raoul Bedi, BASc
I – Introduction :
Last week we listed some of the major acts, laws and regulations being cited by Crown Lawyers in the latest manifestions, in the form of the 2 applications listed below, in the never-ending case(s) against Organic Raw Milk and its adherents, consumers, supporters, co-op members, farmers and producers in Ontario and Canada. For brevity’s sake we gave only the relevant sections from the Ontario Milk Act and Milk Regulations to begin with .
We then observed, in Newmarket Court, the Crown Lawyers for Gavin Downing, director for the Milk Act, and the York Region Municipality, systematically work through all of those major acts, one by one in great detail, stating first which sections were violated, what they say and mean, and then the evidence (from myriad affidavits, discovery and testimony) to support their claims of violation, and punishment(s) sought.
In addition to all the Acts and Regulations listed last week and again today, the Crown’s Legal team consisting of 4-5 lawyers, also cited 6-10 examples of Case Law which we will not list here. Of interest was the fact that they cited case law from England to justify the enforcement of certain bureaucratic regulations, and the need for concomitant restraining orders where they have been continually violated.
The SUPREME IRONY here is that they failed to cite the most important Laws and Statutes of all , from the United Kingdom , namely that Fresh, Organic Raw Milk from Grass-fed cows is 100% legal and freely available from Her Majesty the Queen’s homeland . Please see https://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/farmingfood/dairy-guidance/rawmilkcream#toc-4
How can this be one might ask ? Continue reading
Third day of injunction hearing May 31 — hearing continues Mon. June 5th, with Michael Schmidt and OFOF
Day three of the hearing of the injunction applications from Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing, and the Region of York was devoted to presentations from the respondents — Elisa van der Hout (on behalf of the Agricultural Renewal Coop), Rev. Jonah Evans (on behalf of the Christian Community church) and Markus Schmidt (representing himself).
Michael Schmidt and Lewis (Skip) Taylor (speaking on behalf of Our Farm Our Food coop) will present their responses to the application on Monday June 5th.
Michael Schmidt will be appearing in another court later this week to answer obstruction charges related to the Oct. 2, 2015 raid on Glencolton Farms.
A more detailed report on what was said will follow later in this space, but for now, here’s a video from Marianne Else, about the day’s proceedings:
Also watch the video and read the report on day three from Roger Klein at CTV Barrie
Second day of injunction application hearings for Glencolton Farms, May 30 — the hearing will continue on May 31
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.
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