"Michael Schmidt Paralysis" Is Proving Contagious: The Emergence of a Moral Authority
There’s a new strain of illness making the rounds of Canada’s rulers. Call it “Michael Schmidt Paralysis.”
You don’t wish health problems on your enemies, but news that a second British Columbia prosecutor has bowed out of a major raw milk hearing against dairy farmer Michael Schmidt because of illness—with no re-scheduling--has been greeted with at least a few knowing looks.
The case involves the Home-on-the-Range cow share in Chilliwack, British Columbia, that was established five years ago. When local authorities attempted to force farm owner Alice Jongerden to shut down her raw milk production, Michael Schmidt took over its management…and all the penalties the local authorities could hit him with. They included a $55,000 fine for contempt of court.
A previous trial was delayed when a prosecutor took ill. In the meantime, though, Schmidt got Health Canada to approve use of raw milk as a cosmetic. In a blog post, he referred to the dairy as “the Little Chilliwack Dairy (that could, should and would)”.
Fresh from this victory, Schmidt is challenging Canadian authorities to take him on in connection with something even bigger-- the strange case of the disappearing, and re-discovered, Shropshire sheep. They mysteriously vanished from a Canadian farm in April after authorities targeted them for slaughter. They were thought to possibly harbor scrapies, a fatal degenerative disease that can spread among sheep and goats.
In a video statement in which he compared the targeting and slaughter of the rare sheep to Nazi Germany's genetic engineering, Schmidt gently threw down the gauntlet to Canadian authorities. While denying direct involvement in the affair, he said, “I am aware that I as a consequence to my public statement might be subject to an investigation and possible charges related to the sad sheep saga. I am determined to support the brave work of those who have risked their personal safety and security to try to protect those sheep with the hope that ‘conclusive evidence’ would have been provided by the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) in order to return the sheep for orderly slaughter if found infected or for further testing…Whatever will evolve I am honored to be a part of this brave action, as I have taken on the role as liaison for the Farmers Peace Corp.” He issued the statement on his 59th birthday, he noted.
Schmidt began his journey to the rarified role of national moral authority when he went on an eight-week hunger strike last fall, which ended when the premier of Ontario agreed to Schmidt’s demand for a personal meeting.
Next on his agenda will be a hearing July 25 in Toronto, where Schmidt is appealing a $9,100 fine on his conviction for violating Ontario’s dairy law. Schmidt has previously said he has no intention of paying the fine. That will challenge the Ontario authorities to throw him into jail…and turn him into more of a celebrity moral authority.
Pity the poor Canadian prosecutors and judges. They can’t live with Michael Schmidt and his insistence on food rights…and they can’t live without him.
Finally, I hear "Michael Schmidt Paralysis" is highly contagious. Small outbreaks have begun occurring in the U.S., Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California. Try as they might, American prosecutors, judges, and regulators haven't yet developed a vaccine.