Tag Archives: raw milk

Stay of Injunction against raw milk was NOT granted | Financial Post story

It was announced today to OFOF farmshare members and Glencolton Farms supporters, via email, by the group’s lawyers, that: 

“…the stay of the injunctive orders of Sutherland J. was not granted. We did, however, get the requested stay, or adjournment of the appeal. In short, Nordheimer J. agreed that there was a serious issue to be determined with the Charter Application, and we take that as encouraging. However, he disagreed that the harm amounted to being irreparable, as he characterized it being the appellants decision not to re-purpose the cows for producing milk in a legal way. Further, he stated that the harm could be quantified as damages. On the balance of convenience, he favoured obeying the law until such a law is declared unconstitutional, or in our case, until exemptions are granted….”

In other raw milk news, Michael Schmidt’s former lawyer, Karen Selick, has written a story on the now-criminal status of raw milk in Ontario titled “You can now go to prison in Canada for providing raw milk. Seriously!”. Here’s a brief excerpt from that story: 

“As Canada ambles along towards the day when its prisons will empty of people who did nothing more heinous than possess marijuana, the province of Ontario appears eager to fill its empty jail cells with individuals whose so-called crime was distributing raw milk.

On Jan. 5, 2018, Justice P. W. Sutherland of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice imposed an injunction in a case called Downing v. ARC. Downing is the provincial Milk Act Director, while ARC is an incorporated farm co-op that allegedly was distributing raw milk, but has now closed down its milk operation. In essence, the decision transformed an action that was previously a provincial regulatory offence punishable only by fines — distributing raw milk — into a federal crime punishable by up to two years in prison.”

Read more on the Financial Post.

Meanwhile farmshare members and friends of legal raw milk in Ontario are raising funds for the appeal and constitutional challenge through a crowdfunding campaign at:  https://www.gofundme.com/legal-raw-milk-canada

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After Court Today, a Decision Will Be Rendered Sometime Next Week

This morning, both sides made their arguments at the Ontario court of appeal as to whether or not the raw milk injunction should be stayed while our constitutional application is moving along.The judge reserved his decision; our lawyers say we might not receive the decision Monday, but they do expect it sometime next week.
I want to express gratitude to each and every person who came out to the hearing this morning; I think we somehow got to the exact right number (we must have been about 40, maybe more, including several people I spoke to from other cow-share communities). The room was full even after the clerks brought in extra chairs, and while unfortunately a few people could not get into the room, it meant that every time someone left, another took their place. Maybe our presence officially made no difference, but NOT having the room completely full of supporters to witness the process would surely have sent the wrong message that maybe it wasn’t so important to us.
If you haven’t been following the crowdfunding campaign, take a look:  https://www.gofundme.com/legal-raw-milk-canada
And please, please share it widely across social media. The online campaign is just one part of the fundraising picture – individual community members have been generous with legal donations through FarmMatch, cheques and e-transfers – but it’s our primary way of mobilizing support beyond our direct cow-share communities.
Amy.

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Hearing Friday Feb. 23rd at 10 am of Motion for Stay of Injunction

Tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 23rd, the lawyers that we are raising funds to pay for (see post below) will be appearing before a judge at Osgoode Hall to put forward a motion for a stay of the injunction, pending an appeal of the January 2018 decision to grant injunctions to criminalize the operation of the milk bottling and cheese-making operation (aka a “milk plant”) at Glencolton Farms, as well as distribution of milk to Coop members in the Regions of York, Simcoe and Peel.
Estimates are that the courtroom may have space for 30-40 audience members. Some of those seats may be filled with supporters of the injunction. Raw milk and food freedom enthusiasts are encouraged to come out and show their support. The outcome of this motion is very important to the farm and to those wishing to drink the milk
Please be sure to remember to bring your best court room decorum. I’m sure you are all already aware, but the judge will be very irritated by any talking, cheering, cell phones, etc. If anyone has to leave the court room during the motion for some reason, please re-enter quietly and bow to the judge upon entry. Our lawyers will be quite focused going into the hearing, so will not be able to talk much to anyone outside the core group until after.
The motion will be heard at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen Street West, Court Room No. 7 at 10:00 a.m. If you’re coming, aim to arrive early.
 
The short title of proceedings is: Gavin Downing et al. v. Agri-Cultural Renewal Co-operative Inc. et al.

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Raw Milk Drinkers in Ontario Seek to Raise $100,000 to Challenge Injunction that Criminalizes Raw Milk Distribution

Help us defend constitutional rights of raw milk consumers in Canada!

Raw milk consumers across Canada have spent decades peacefully trying to obtain raw milk from local farmers despite the threat of harassment from the authorities. Finally, some of us have stepped forward to tell the courts that our constitutional rights are being violated by laws restricting access to raw milk – a food that is perfectly legal to consume in Canada.

A January 2018 injunction against anyone “selling, delivering or distributing” raw milk in Ontario was the last straw, criminalizing peaceful citizens who want access to this safe, unprocessed food. So, with the encouragement of leaders from several cow-share communities in southwestern Ontario – we’ve mobilized!

We found a highly experienced lawyer to represent us on a partly pro bono basis, and his legal team has been building our case at lightning speed. In early February they served a Notice of Application against the Attorneys General of Ontario and Canada, on our behalf – 19 raw milk consumers and two raw milk producers, whose freedom of conscience or religion, and security of person, are being violated (under sections 2 and 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

All 21 of us applicants made this commitment despite financial risk, the ordeal of being cross-examined, and fear of the unknown consequences of taking on the Government. We did this not only based on our personal conviction, but on behalf of our raw milk communities and other consumers across Canada, who all stand to benefit from this constitutional challenge.

Please help us pay the legal bills: $100,000 during the next ten months. (Regardless of which side wins at the Ontario Superior Court, the decision could be appealed and ultimately the case may be decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. So next year, unless the case is settled, we will have to raise money for the next round.) Continue reading

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Michael Schmidt was Convicted in Walkerton Court of Obstruction

Michael Schmidt in front of the Walkerton Court House at an earlier stage of the Obstruction trial on August 25th, 2017.

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.”

Blackburn News is reporting on this story.

The Dock reported on the story.

Owen Sound Sun Times coverage can be read here.

 

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News from raw milk “obstruction” trial

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….”

Read it all on “The Complete Patient” blog.

The obstruction trial is set to continue in Walkerton on July 28th, August 4th and August 25th of 2017.

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Raw milk injunction application hearing wrapped up late Monday June 5th

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.

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