Canadian raw dairy farmer Michael Schmidt personally delivered a letter to Ontario’s premier, Dalton McGuinty, today. In it, he explains why he is carrying on his hunger strike, and what it will take for him to end it. Schmidt states his position more clearly and eloquently than I ever could, so I am publishing it as is.Here is information on contacting the premier, to follow up on Schmidt’s letter.
Premier of Ontario, Honorable Dalton McGuinty,
Choice is something that is inherent in our national identity. People come to this country from all around the world because Canada is a place of liberty, and these are the values we hold most dear.
Yet, despite this, I have been fighting since 1994 for the right of men, women and children in Canada to be able to make the simplest and most important of all choices -what they eat.
Over the last 17 years I have made every effort to engage the authorities in a constructive dialogue about the issue of non-pasteurized milk in Ontario and Canada. In return my farm has been raided by armed officers, my family has been terrorized and I been dragged through the courts – first being acquitted and then being found guilty.
Today, farmers like me in Ontario and around the country are scared. We are scared that people with guns who claim to be acting in our best interests will snatch our livelihoods from us. We are scared that we will be tried for the “crime” of believing that informed consumers and citizens in our free country should be able to choose what they eat and drink.
This is why, on September 29th, I began my hunger strike. Today is day 19 without food. And whilst I am suffering and my body is weakening by the hour, I am resolutely determined that this will be the final chapter of this 17-year fight.
The right to buy food direct from a farmer is as old as our country. Yet, today, that right is being taken away from Canadians by a government that insists that only corporate Canada be responsible for feeding our citizens.
I respectfully call on you, Premier McGuinty, to meet with me in person, as soon as possible, to find a way of ensuring that this right is respected and that the government renounces in taking away the most fundamental of all our rights – that to choose what we eat.
The end of my hunger strike is dependent on it. I am very hopeful that we will be able to resolve this issue, once and for all, by working together in an open and constructive way and I very much hope that the opportunity to do so comes soon.