Canada has been referred to as a quiet dictatorship, a country that denies your rights in a civil way. If you defy the state by exercising your freedoms, the government will imprison you but will do so in a kindly manner. A great example of the lack of freedom in Canada and the suffocating control that the corporate state has over the individual is a recent court decision in Ontario affecting 143 families whose members want to consume raw milk and raw milk products.
On January 5 Justice P.W. Sutherland of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice granted a permanent injunction to Gavin Dowing (referred to as “the Director”–the opinion never explains what he is the director of?) and the Regional Municipality of York, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the Regional Municipality of Peel that prevents 143 individuals and their families that are members of the Our Farm Our Food Cooperative (OFOF) from being able to consume raw milk produced by a herd of dairy cows in which OFOF has 100% ownership–the co-op members have invested $2,000 each to join.
OFOF purchased the cows from the Agri-Cultural Renewal Cooperative (ARC) and hired ARC to care for the cows and manage the dairy operations. In 2010 ARC purchased Glencolton Farm in its entirety, owning all the land, buildings, equipment and animals. Former owner Michael Schmidt stills works on the farm but owns nothing of it. Schmidt, his wife Elisa Vander hout and several officers and directors of ARC were defendants in the case as was ARC itself.
The injunction prevents, among other things, defendants and anyone with knowledge of the judge’s order “from operating a plant without a license” and “from selling, offering for sale, delivering or distributing milk or cream or products processed or derived from milk that has not been pasteurized or sterilized in a plant that is not licensed under the Milk Act…” In other words, those individuals who paid $2,000 so that they and their families could obtain raw milk are out of luck.
In his opinion, Judge Sutherland made the ominous statement that “[a] court should not grant such an order unless the court is prepared if necessary to commit a violator of the order into prison.” Schmidt has already been sentenced to 60 days in jail for obstructing a peace officer trying to leave Glencolton Farm with dairy products and milking equipment.
The most remarkable part of Judge Sutherland’s opinion is that it contains a complete chronology of the 24-year battle Schmidt has been through with the government in trying to legalize raw milk distribution in Ontario and other places in Canada. Time and again Schmidt has tried to adjust the raw milk operation on his farm to comply with a prior court ruling only for a court to rule in the next proceeding that there is no difference between public and private distribution of raw milk and that only those living on a farm [the family farm exemption] can legally obtain raw milk–all other milk must be pasteurized and under state control.
In his opinion, the Judge rejected defendants’ contention that the private nature of the ARC-OFOF operation made it not subject to Ontario milk laws noting that “[t]his court has resisted schemes that purport to create ‘private’ enclaves immune to the reach of public health legislation.”
It is uncertain at this time whether Schmidt will continue his fight to legalize raw milk in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. If this is it, his courage and persistence have left a lasting legacy with the tremendous increase in the demand for and supply of raw milk throughout Canada. The many Canadian raw milk producers that have started up in recent years would rather stay underground than work for legalization like Schmidt did, seeing the courts repeatedly favor the dairy industry monopoly over freedom of choice and private property rights. They want to stay as far away as possible from the Canadian system of fascist governance.
UPDATE – The defendants filed an appeal of Justice Sutherland’s opinion in February 2018.
Top graphic snipped from “Food Rights” video, published 19 Oct. 2015 on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8UWf_A3uFs
For information on donating to the Canada effort, visit https://www.gofundme.com/foodrights
Ontario court sign graphic snipped from CTV Barrie video published 29 May 2017 for “Injunction Could Decide Future of Unpasteurized Milk” at https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/injunction-could-decide-future-of-unpasteurized-milk-1.3434492
Michael Schmidt on Glencolton Farm graphic snipped from “Food Rights” video, published 19 Oct. 2015 on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8UWf_A3uFs