In a recent post on his “The Complete Patient” blog, American raw milk journalist David Gumpert explains in some detail why the United States does not treat raw milk farmers as political prisoners, the way Michael Schmidt is now being treated in Canada.
“Why doesn’t America have a Michael Schmidt equal, a farmer who is a political prisoner? After all, raw milk availability has been just as contentious an issue in the U.S. as in Canada. There have been surprise raids, court suits, and trials. We have the same Big Dairy influences as Canada. And we have the farmer candidates—Alvin Schlangen, Vernon Hershberger, Amos Miller, Mark McAfee—who have been threatened with criminal charges
Yet they are all walking around free and continuing to make their raw dairy products available, while Michael Schmidt continues to be hounded and even thrown in jail.
From the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund:
“This June the trial of Ontario dairy farmer Michael Schmidt and three other farmers for obstructing a police officer will resume. The charge stems from a 2015 raid of Schmidt’s Glencolton Farms where members of a food cooperative obtaining raw milk products and other foods from Schmidt stopped police from confiscating those foods.
The province of Ontario and local government authorities have been prosecuting Schmidt since 1994 for distributing raw milk, spending millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money in the process. The sale and distribution of raw milk have remained illegal throughout this entire time in all Canadian provinces. It’s interesting to contrast the provinces’ refusal to change laws on raw milk sales with legal developments in the U.S. over the past 23 years.
While provincial and local governments have been wasting millions of dollars since 1994 in prosecuting Schmidt, 16 states in the U.S. have either legalized the sale and/or distribution of raw milk or increased access to it through changes in statute, regulation, or policy. The states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Continue reading
Thousands of petition signers urge parliament to modernize milk laws
Toronto, Ontario—A group of Canadians are hoping for a Health Canada policy change for raw milk. A Parliament e-petition in favour of changes to Health Canada’s raw milk policy has already gathered over 4,000 signatures. The petition, sponsored by Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Miller, ends on August 11, 2016.
As many Canadians return to natural and local foods, a growing number of fresh food enthusiasts want their milk produced on a small-scale from local farms. This natural, raw milk, that people have been consuming for thousands of years, is actually illegal in Canada—something that the petition creator, Cory Harris, is working to change.
“I started this petition so Canadians can have the freedom of choice to access natural foods from farmers we know. Currently, not only is it illegal to buy raw milk from a farmer, it is even illegal for me to own a cow and board it at a farm,” says Harris. “I don’t like to see the government send raids and swat teams out to farms over milk. It is time to see this policy modernized and see Canada welcome a new and more collaborative, farmer and consumer-friendly model for raw milk alongside the existing system.” Continue reading
From Kimberly Hartke at the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Michael, Elisa and the kids en route to the police station last Monday night (photo via Michael Schmidt on Facebook).
Durham, Ontario—October 20, 2015 West Grey Police detained raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt on October 19, 2015 and held him overnight when he reported for booking on theft charges.
The Canadian government is pressing criminal theft charges against the Ontario farmer for allegedly removing surveillance cameras spying on visitors and other activity at his farm. Schmidt claims neighbors and friends removed the cameras in August. Several weeks after Schmidt called police to report discovery of the devices and ask who they belonged to he was charged with theft of the devices for refusing to turn them over to the police. Continue reading
Via theccf.ca blog:
“National Post The Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) definition of “political activities” might sound like an obscure detail of little import. But it is, in fact, one of the main ways in which the government controls this country’s charitable organizations, by restricting them to spending no more than 10 per cent of their resources on advocating for a change in law or government policy.
That means it is considered a political activity for an animal welfare charity to try to convince the public that stricter limits on deer hunting would be a good idea, or for a senior citizens’ charity to run a public campaign urging for crosswalks to be replaced with traffic lights at crossings near seniors’ homes.
And with millions of extra dollars budgeted for investigating political activities as a special project, the CRA has been busy over the past few years auditing dozens upon dozens of Canadian charities to enforce this restriction. These investigations have touched groups on all parts of the political spectrum, draining time, money and the courage to voice concerns about the status quo. Continue reading
A little off topic here. Yes we realize this is not connected to raw milk or food rights. Still we feel it’s important Canadians hear this news that’s not getting out there through the filters and the blinders of our mainstream media.
From Murray Dobbin, in CounterPunch:
“You know the old aphorism – “If a tree falls in the forest….?” Well, how about this one: if citizens win a significant victory in court against an autocratic government involving the fleecing of Canadians of billions of their hard-earned tax dollars and no one in the media actually covers it, did it really happen?
That might well be the question being asked over at the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) a very small and low-budget think tank. With their lawyer Rocco Galati (of Supreme Court fame in the Nadon case) they have been steadily winning court battles initiated in 2011 that would oblige the Bank of Canada to return to its pre-1974 practice of lending the government money virtually (.37%) interest free. But the mainstream media, with a single exception, has boycotted the story. Galati believes the Harper government has done some serious arm-twisting to keep the story buried. Continue reading
From Global News:
From Global News
“For more than a year, Parent has been lobbying – speaking at schools, rallies, sending letters by courier – in the hope of securing a meeting with Ambrose.
Parent admits after more than a year of lobbying she was beginning to lose hope that a meeting would happen.
Then, in September, Global News asked Ambrose if she would meet with Parent. Ambrose said she would. Continue reading
From Global News — “Mon, Aug 18: Raw milk advocate talks about how plans to continue to fight for the right to drink and sell unpasteurized milk.”
Click image to go to Global News page to watch video interview.
From The Canadian Press, in the Toronto Star:
“OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear an appeal from an Ontario farmer who has long championed the right to sell and drink unpasteurized milk, but he says “it’s not the end of the road.”
The top court’s refusal to hear Michael Schmidt’s case — as is usual it did not provide reasons — means his 2011 convictions of 13 charges under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act that saw him fined $9,150 stand.
From Sylvain Charlebois, in the Montreal Gazette:
“GUELPH, Ont. — Science-based evidence in food safety seriously compromises any argument for allowing raw milk to be freely sold to Canadians. Even a small amount of raw milk can seriously harm a child, a pregnant woman, the elderly, individuals with a compromised immune system, or anyone for that matter; just one glass will do it.
Still, it appears that support to legalize its distribution is growing in North America. In fact, Louisiana is considering loosening its laws to permit raw milk to be legally sold to consumers. In Canada, raw milk crusader Michael Schmidt, despite a recent legal setback, seems to be making some inroads, and an increasing number of people support his cause. Continue reading
From Jeffrey Carter, in The Western Producer:
“GUELPH, Ont. — The door may be opening to lawful raw milk sales in Canada, according to a senior official with Health Canada.
“We see possible venues in the future of producing a safe product,” said Jeff Farber, director of the bureau of microbial hazards.
It could involve a regulatory approach at the provincial and/or federal level, he added.
However, Health Canada’s official position maintains that the risk of drinking milk that has not been pasteurized outweighs possible benefits.
Raw milk sales were prohibited in Canada in 1991, but there’s no restriction on drinking it. In fact, statistics show that it is consumed by families on close to 90 percent of Canada’s dairy farms. Continue reading