Tag Archives: court
No More Raw Milk for Coop Members due to Injunctions Granted to Shut Down “Milk Plant” and “Distribution”
Members of Our Farm Our Food Coop are in a tight spot due to injunctions granted January 5th to Ontario Milk Director Gavin Downing and the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
In short these injunctions would shut down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms and also criminalize continued “distribution” of raw milk in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel. The injunctions apply to anyone who has knowledge of the court ordered injunctions, so potentially these apply not just to the operations of Glencolton Farms and the Our Farm Our Food Coop (OFOF) but to any raw milk suppliers or cowshare groups.
One of the few media reports on the injunction that has appeared so far, has been a story in the Owen Sound Sun Times, titled “Court Stops Raw Milk Work“. It remains to be seen whether Milk Director Gavin Downing or representatives of any of the Regions (York, Simcoe, Peel) which asked for the injunctions, will take steps to publicize them, now that they have been granted by the court. Because, after all, the injunctions only apply to those who have knowledge of them.
In his 25 page ruling, Justice Sutherland said that the injunction originally asked for by the Regions was overbroad and that the injunction which he granted more closely followed the wording of the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Milk Act. Continue reading
Raw milk activist and farmer Michael Schmidt was convicted yesterday (Oct. 19th, 2017) in Walkerton court of obstructing a peace officer. The charge arises from a raid on Glencolton Farms on October 2nd, 2015 in which investigators were prevented — by the crowds of supporters — from leaving the farm with equipment which they had seized. They were eventually allowed to leave once the equipment had been removed from the truck.
This court case has dragged on for many weeks and months, with multiple adjournments, most recently until this past Tuesday Oct. 17, when Michael Schmidt filed an 11b motion to have the case thrown out, since it was taking an excessive time to have justice rendered. In considering Michael’s motion, the judge discounted several months of time required to hear the 20 defense witnesses, on the basis that their testimony had been useless.
Sentencing is set for Wednesday November 8th. Regarding a possible appeal, Michael is currently reviewing all options. Michael says:
“There is already an outstanding appeal in regards of the denial by this judge to have access to West Grey police records which got strangely enough deleted. They relate to communication about who to charge. These e mails were always at the Center of many heated exchanges between me and the judge. The other appeal I am looking at is the 11 b application. He dismissed the validity of ALL our witnesses which is astounding and never heard of. I am currently getting all transcripts. The biggest surprise was that he acquitted John Schnurr. But it highlights that they wanted to get me at all costs.”
Activist farmer Michael Schmidt and the remaining accused will be in court at Walkerton this Friday for the judge to hear closing arguments in a case dating from the October 2015 standoff at Glencolton Farms.
According to Michael’s wife, Elisa van der Hout, proceedings are expected to start around 9:30 am in Walkerton. The court has already heard several days of arguments in this case, which whas dragged out over the course of several months.
These court proceedings are open to the public.
Read these earlier posts for more background on the case:
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.
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