Canadian Courts Continue Pursuing Raw Milk “Terrorist” Michael Schmidt on Two Fronts

I have tried to provide ongoing coverage of Canadian raw dairy farmer Michael Schmidt’s seemingly endless legal travails. It is a challenge, though, because of the relentlessness of the government assault. (If you want to look back on some of this blog’s coverage, do a search under “Schmidt”.) Food rights activist Liz Reitzig has been monitoring Schmidt’s most recent court cases, and here provides an update.

by Liz Reitzig

Michael Schmidt discusses a raid on his farm with a regulator. This 2015 raid led to resistance by Schmidt supporters that is now the subject of one of the legal cases against the farmer.

When Canadian raw dairy farmer Michael Schmidt began his journey through the Canadian legal system in 1993, Jean Chretien was Prime minister of Canada, Bill Clinton was president of the U.S., and Boris Yeltsin was president of Russia. The Internet was still a pipedream, as were smart phones.  

Since then, Canada has had seven Federal and eleven Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, along with ten federal and provincial Ministers of Health. Enough of these officials have seen fit to continue harassing and prosecuting Schmidt that the case has continued, in various forms, for 24 years.

Ironically, as Schmidt frequently points out, not a single person during that period has died from raw milk consumption, while 875,000 Canadians died from smoking legal tobacco products.  

Yet the legal beat goes on nearly unabated for Schmidt. Now, he’s facing two simultaneous legal battles, and it’s even more of a crapshoot than ever, if that is possible after so many years under the legal gun.

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. 

Being on the front lines in support of raw milk is excruciatingly difficult. The farmers who choose to feed their families and communities by providing raw milk—whether it is through a cow share, herd share, direct sales, coop, membership contracts or other means, often find themselves at odds with the regulatory agencies. This attack on farmers and others who provide the fresh dairy, puts huge levels of disruption and unnecessary stress on their lives affecting their families disproportionately. Clearly, food rights is a defining civil rights battle of this generation. It is incumbent upon us, as a broader food community, to make the effort to support those on the front lines.

You can support Michael Schmidt and the Glencolton Farm community here:

23 comments to Canadian Courts Continue Pursuing Raw Milk “Terrorist” Michael Schmidt on Two Fronts

  • don
    Has anything like this ever worked?
    Liz mentions Raid, FRONT LINES, BATTLE and a man being ASSULTED all terms relating to WAR!! And the PRIZE [plunder] is SWEET FRESH MILK!!! Thru out History a PRIME TARGET was ALWAYS ones foes food supply but now its only about the bad germs we must be protected from REALLY. Interestingly the first recorded MURDER involved good food Abels ACCEPTABLE grass fed LAMB and Cains UNACCEPTABLE factory farm veggies??? As it was then so it is now!
    Thanks for the update Liz. When will this NIGHTMARE end?

  • Mark McAfee Mark McAfee

    As much as we love peace and greater humanity, our opponents live by the tenants of war. Keeping and preserving wealth and money has been the foundation and genesis of wars.

    Wars must be fought by strstegically thinking smart and well prepared warriors. Michael is a warrior!!

    His famous words still resonate when Michael said…raw milk is the first god of life and it is love…but it is also war.

    It is war because dairy is a foundational means of creating money. It is the start of our food chain! The start of the economic chain as well.

    It has been said that “those that control the milk controls the market”. Loss of milk control is loss of market and money. Thus…incredients for war.

  • don “How ever during the investigation no victim was produced AND THE SALVE IN QUESTION WAS REVEALED TO BE FROM A DIFFERENT MANUFACTURER” WHAT Did I read that correctly??? The SALVE POLICE RAIDERS got the WRONG ADDRESS in 2001?????? Thus in 2001 Sam entered the first phase of the civilized modern day torture chamber 16 years thus far only 6 more to go in their cage and he had his day in court!
    And this is what I served 4 years in the USAF to preserve and protect? Way back then no one ever heard of such evil things happening.
    My heart goes out to Sam and Michael who has endured the WRATH of the CROWN for 24 long years.

  • don

    OOPS I guess I read that wrong it was in 2013 not 2001 they got the manufactures names mixed up perhaps they and I both need to go back to English reading class [including legalese]. Kinda hard to keep it all straight when feeling a part of the pain suffered by these guys and their family and friends. Still how could they have made such a terrible mistake. At least I can PLEAD old age what is their PLEA for such a LEGAL ERROR.

  • don And then there is the Bundy case what this BAR member says is UNBELIEVABLE UTTERLY UNBELIEVABLE

  • Government is supposed to be protecting your rights, but it is “government” not “criminals” is the main entity that violates your rights, and you pay through the nose for the privilege.

    The problem becomes how do you tell the difference between your “government” and the “criminals”. They both are doing the same things to you. Violating your rights…..

  • Jan J.


    Since Don posted these Bundy videos, I would be very curious to have you write an article on the Bundy situation to get your assessment on how that compares to the Michael Schmidt situation in Canada, the closing of the oyster ranch on Point Reyes, the harassment of Amos Miller etc. I would think that you would be one of the best people around to tie or not to tie together these situations and I would be very interested to get your take on it all. Do you think this would be something you might consider?

    Jan J.

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      Jan, I don’t really know enough about the Bundy situation to take a stand. I don’t think there is a grand conspiracy connecting these cases, if that is what you are getting at.

      • Ken Conrad Ken Conrad

        What we do know David is that there is a huge amount corruption amongst the TPTB and that they are obsessed with manipulating and controlling individuals such as Sam Girod and Michael Schmidt. Yes, I believe that there is a scheme or conspiracy if you will against those who fail to tow the line…

        The following smells like a scheme…
        Canada has its own institutions providing international aid, so why do Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberal government feel compelled to hand over 241,000,000 plus Canadian tax dollars to the Clinton Foundation???

        Perhaps the following “Investor’s Business Daily” article entitled, “Is The Clinton Foundation Doomed?”, offers us a partial explanation?

      • Gordon Watson

        on Google’s daily feed of reports to do with ‘raw milk’, there’s an item which starts

        “CDPH Releases Info about 2015 Raw Milk Campylobacter Outbreak
        Food Poisoning Bulletin
        All three patients reported consuming Claravale brand raw milk before they got sick. Eventually, seven total case patients were identified. One lived in …”

        but when I try to view that website, I get YOU ARE BANNED
        apparently, my previous comments to that website don’t sit well ’cause I don’t cleave to the Central Party Line
        Nevertheless, if there truly are people who got sick from drinking raw milk from Claravale, we need the facts… not to rely on rumor via a webmaster who’s dedicated much time + effort to slanging REAL MILK, relentlessly.

  • don

    Thank you Jan I was starting to think no one cared about our present JUDICIAL REALITY very scary in my view!

  • Jan J.

    @ David,

    No David, I am not one of those conspiracy theorists, (like the holocaust and 9/11 never happened. etc). I do not own a gun nor do I wish to ever own one. I was brought up in Connecticut, educated at one of the very liberal, liberal arts nut and berry colleges on New England. No, I do not think there is a conspiracy connection between all these individual situations.

    • don

      Jan perhaps just maybe we might need to give some weight to CONSPIRACY theories???
      Jer.11:9 YHVH [ the G-D of Israel] states to Jer. There is a CONSPIRACY among the men Of Yudah and the inhabitants of Yerushalem. 9 additional scriptures mention CONSPRACY so these activities are nothing new but at least 2800 years old. Maybe they have been more wide spread thru out history than we even can imagine?????? SIGH

  • don

    Jan you might be interested in a book by Melvin Stamper titled FRUIT FROM A POISONOUS TREE I had to purchase mine the local library and interlibrary access did not have it on their shelves. He writes about the legal system and other systems that are interconnected and its not a pretty picture.
    It was reported recently that HER HONOR wanted the BUNDY cattle raisers to be in CHAINS when they entered HER COURT room!!! VERY DANGEROUS MEN IN HER VIEW!!! FAIR TRIAL?? LOOKS LIKE THE BUNDYS HAVE NO CHANCE AT ALL IF SHE HAS HER WAY!! SIGH

  • Don

    AGAIN UTTERLY UNBELIEVABLE This PREJUDICIAL PROCEEDURE appears to also dates back more than 2000 years Ezk. 22:25-31!!! Law Enforcement is now JUDGE AND JURY!!! SIGH

  • don Read and weep its not just the Bundys shall the oil co. have this widow put in chains also they already did it to her cows? UNBELIEVABLE UTTERLY UNBELIEVABLE IS IT NOT????

  • Mark McAfee Mark McAfee

    Looks like FTCLDF had a big win in Maine! Congrats to Elizabeth Rich and others !

    • David Gumpert David Gumpert

      For the record, the big win for Food Sovereignty in Maine was the work of a small group of very persistent local activists. I’ll be writing something about that shortly. The FTCLDF’s big involvement in Maine was to represent Dan Brown, the raw milk producer who lost his case before the Maine Supreme Court in 2014.

    • Elizabeth Rich

      Thanks, Mark. I really appreciate that. For the record, David, FTCLDF has been providing legal and financial support to Maine activists and lobbyists working to pass the town ordinances and the state food sovereignty laws since 2014. Grassroots passion and support is a wonderful thing; but money and legal expertise are helpful as well. I will again make a plea that those of us in the food freedom movement work together and support each other. Negativism is helpful to our adversaries; not to us.

      • David Gumpert David Gumpert

        Elizabeth, I appreciate the sentiment behind your plea, but not sure I fully agree with your conclusion that disagreements in the food freedom movement are inevitably destructive. That might be grist for another post. As for the Maine situation, I just posted something about the long battle for Maine food sovereignty. Certainly FTCLDF deserves credit–even though its lawyers lost the Farmer Brown case, the publicity around it definitely helped get word out about the entire food sovereignty struggle, and pushed it through to its recent successful legislative conclusion.

  • don

    A BIG WIN or just a change of the BATTLE FIELD from the armies the STATE CAPITOL to local MUNICIPALITIES ENFORCEMENT POWERS that may now have their own FOOD POLICE??? And our friend brave Betsy Garrold the spearhead of this win is holding her breath in fear of reinforcements arriving from a higher power the so called other shoe to drop!! Did I read that article correctly? Dealing with the local powers will not be easy! One example of our small towns insane monetary mind set where there are a lot of retired elderly folks living. The local school board wants to spend 3.4 MILLION DOLLARS to build a new FOOTBALL ARENA so 11 teenage boys can go knock down 11 other teenage boys for TEN HOURS [5 home games]each year!!! HOME OWNERS get the BILL called SCHOOL TAX and if we cant or don’t pay they send their SHERRIFF to throw us out of OUR HOME THAT WE PAID FOR. Please someone tell it aint so I got it all wrong!!!

  • Don If only bad Sam would have had a SHIELD like this but of course he was on the wrong side of the FENCE. SIGH

  • John Dutcher

    Life just keeps getting weirder.

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