Tag Archives: injunction
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
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.
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