Our Farm Our Food member Lewis Taylor spoke on behalf of the coop during the court proceedings on Monday June 5th. Here he is being interviewed by Mike Walker of CTV Barrie over lunch.
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.
Farmer Michael Schmidt being interviewed by Mike Walker, for the Monday night television news, prior to his presentation in Newmarket court on Monday afternoon, June 5th.
Markus, Elisa, and Michael with a stack of documents outside the Newmarket court house after day three. Elisa said she just wanted to go home and sleep, after presenting for most of the day.
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
Lewis (Skip) Taylor talks to a reporter from CTV during the lunch break.
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
From David E. Gumpert, on the Complete Patient blog:
“After 23 years of unsuccessfully chasing down raw milk farmer Michael Schmidt via raids and court trials, the Ontario government seems finally to have settled on its version of the “nuclear” option: Its minions are seeking an injunction against the sale and purchase of raw milk, an action that could well have the effect of criminalizing all distribution and even consumption.
The injunction seems likely to be invoked by an Ontario judge next week after arguments next Monday and Tuesday, predicts Schmidt. The effects of the injunction will be immediately chilling, he explains, because implementation of the injunction will come with a proviso that Schmidt and the 150 members of his coop pay all legal and court costs associated with the government demand for the injunction, a cost that Schmidt has no illusions about: “I can guarantee you it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”…” Continue reading
The following is a roundup of news and views on the raw milk situation in Ontario heading into the May 29th and 30th court dates at which the injunction applications by the Ontario Milk Director and by the Region of York will be considered. If approved those injunctions would result in court orders shutting down the “milk plant” at Glencolton Farms, and distribution to Our Farm Our Food Coop members in York Region and elsewhere. The proposed injunctions would also criminalize the act of advocating the consumption of raw milk:
This video was recently posted by farmer Michael Schmidt:
From Liz Reitzig:
The Canadian Government is gearing up to criminalize raw milk consumption!
Show up to court on May 29-30 at 9:00am. This hearing is the most crucial one in the 23 years of the raw milk battle in Ontario. It goes to the core of food rights.
- Show up in court on May 29-30, 2017 9:00am to send a clear message that Canadians care about food rights. (If you are unable to make it due to geography or logistics, please share this message far and wide) The courthouse is located at 50 Eagle Street Newmarket Ontario
- Donate to help cover ongoing court costs https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights
In October 2015, Glencolton Farm was raided for the third time. During this raid, several farm owners stood in defense of their right to farm and have access to their foods. Continue reading
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
Michael Schmidt raw milk story is getting some “ink” on Modern Farmer:
“The latest court battle isn’t actually even about distributing raw milk, per se. Schmidt and four others, John Schnurr, a business consultant; and George Bothwell, Robert Pinnell, and Enos Martin, all farmers, were charged with obstructing a peace officer after a standoff at Schmidt’s farm during a October 2015 raid by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, along with local police. This was the third raid on the farm. The first was in 1994 and the second in 2006,
In this latest raid, around 50 people—mostly co-op members—blocked the farm’s entrance with a tractor and prevented the officers from removing some of the farm’s equipment. Pinnel and Martin later had their charges dismissed, but the other men, who are representing themselves, are still fighting it out in provincial court. After a 1o-day trial in March, the case was adjourned until June due to scheduling conflicts. The prosecution has finished its case and the defense is set to begin when the trial resumes, says Schmidt….”
Get the full story on “Modern Farmer”.