A Canadian farmer that provides raw milk to his community was reportedly arrested and jailed for removing government surveillance cameras from his own property. The Canadian government is filing charges against the man for ‘theft.’
When Michael Schmidt found cameras on his land that had been spying on him and his friends, he simply removed them and contacted the local police department to find out who they might belong to. It was at this time that he was charged with theft after refusing to hand the cameras over to the police.
Only later did Schmidt find out that the cameras, which had no markings or identification, were placed there by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to keep an eye on Glencolton Farms.
On September 30, 2015 Schmidt was slapped with a summons to appear for fingerprinting and a mug shot. He has been harassed by government food authorities before. He has been producing raw milk for over 21 years for a member’s food club.
In 2004, Schmidt underwent multiple raids. The Ontario government charged him with violating provincial prohibitions on raw milk sale, but later he was acquitted. The government appealed and Schmidt ended up having to sell his farm to the people in his club and could only continue business as a hired ‘manager’ for his own farm.
He is certain that the latest video camera intrusion is a form of revenge. His club members stood their ground and wouldn’t let government officials seize equipment or leave with product when a second raid occurred just weeks later.
Schmidt was released from an overnight stay in jail on October 20, 2015, but he feels the government is using the judicial system to harass a peaceful farmer. The Canadian Constitution Foundation is raising funds to help Schmidt with legal expenses.
Marta Bak, a co-owner of Glencolton Farms said:
We will continue to peacefully procure the foods of our choice from the farmers of our choice. This food comes from our farm. We are now in the mode of total non-compliance to government harassment. We will peacefully resist in defense of our food–whatever it will take to demonstrate our inherent right to choose the food we wish to consume.”
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