Newspapers are obliged to correct significant errors, therefore please allow space for me to inform your readers about the finding’ of contempt of Court in the raw milk case. Your report that Mister Justice Wong found me guilty of ‘selling’ raw milk, is wrong. For the six years that our dairy operated, at no time did raw milk from our cowshare enter-in to commerce. I’d set it up so someone purchased an interest in the herd as an entity, then got a portion of what was produced by our jointly-owned asset. Because we couldn’t get what we wanted, locally, we exercised the rights to associate ourselves, and to co-operate in the use and enjoyment of private property, in order to obtain for ourselves fresh, whole, un-adulterated, un-cooked milk from grass-fed cows kept in humane conditions.
It’s important for people who follow this issue, to understand that the Milk Industry Act originally included sections whereby a farm could be certified to retail raw milk. Those sections are no longer in the Act, but it still differentiates between farmers who maintain cows/ goats in order to get milk just for their own use, ie ‘producers’, versus dairy cartel quota-holders, ie. ‘vendors’. Our privately-underwritten dairy was indeed a ‘producer’ but, since our milk was strictly for ourselves / not offered for sale, we were never a ‘vendor’. If we had actually been selling raw milk, the Criminal Justice Branch would’ve prosecuted us for that offence … but weren’t, so they didn’t.
Contrary to your report, my co-accused and I did not ‘ignore’ the injunction. In fact, from Day One and repeatedly during the five-year ordeal of being hectored through Court, I pro-actively communicated with various agencies of the provincial government, pointing to Letters of Comfort which I had obtained years earlier, from the ( then ) Minister of Agriculture van Dongen, and also the Director of the Food Safety Branch of the Ministry of Health, exempting a cowshare from the pasteurization requirement in the Milk Industry Act.
Ironically, the lawyer for Fraser Health Authority, namely Susan Be-ach, advertises herself as a certified mediator, yet she point-blank refused to have this dispute go to mediation. I think she avoided resolution out of Court because she was all-too-aware the root of the trouble was not any real threat to the health of the public. Rather : it was members of the milk marketing scheme noticing and coveting our success. Trapped in ignorance … half-a-century removed from present conditions, insulated from the discipline of the free market ‘ they didn’t appreciate that the engine of our phenomenal growth was : consumer demand. As people wise-up to the fact that the insipid, pale, thin, par-boiled ersatz fluid adulterated with MPC, mis-labeled ‘homo milk’, is not really milk at all, they go looking for the good stuff.
My 15 years’ involvement in the Campaign for REAL MILK leads me to believe there is no other, more logical explanation of why a Health Authority ‘supposedly at arm’s-length from politics … visited this abuse of process on us, but that someone (yet to be ascertained) within the Liberal administration, was moved by a bribe to employ color of law for ruining our private dairy. Even if such crime wasn’t committed by the classic method (raw banknotes in a brown paper bag ) a bribe can take many forms. For instance : contribution to a political party conveyed via a lawfirm so as to cloak it in solicitor/client privilege. Setting aside that accusation for lack of hard evidence = for the moment = I say that Fraser Health was used by the dairy cartel as its dog in this fight, because our demonstration of how private enterprise works, put them to shame. They ignored my letters to the Milk Marketing Board, wherein I asked how to go about filling this market niche, legally. Refusing to admit their own failing = that they were evading their statutory duty per the Acts which govern them = they arranged to have us framed-up as outlaws.
A quarter of a million dollar$ was filched from the Health Care budget for running a Stalinist show-trial. For what’ To wind up with a dry judgment against a couple of guys who are indigent ‘ only because we had the temerity to go a’dairying without a licence from Big Brother! Everyone in the court racket got paid, meanwhile, I had to obtain an Order of Impoverishment, waiving fees, so I could file the paperwork just to defend myself.
Last week I received 190 pages of records I’d been demanding from the Ministry of Health for over two years. I now have hard evidence substantiating one of my defences to the contempt allegation = ‘officially-induced error’. No mere co-incidence that those records were kept from me ‘til the day before the judgment came down, so I couldn’t fully pursue it. In Court, I pointed out that government policy vis-à-vis raw milk for personal consumption was set out in the 2 above-mentioned letters, yet the quasi-governmental corporation acted utterly contrary to that express policy. The records show Fraser Health officers involved in the lawmaking process, meanwhile those of us who are directly affected by the regulation deeming raw milk a health hazard, were shut out of consultation. Our Court experience was wearing, but worthwhile, because it underscores the big question : ‘who runs this province ‘! Members of the Legislature elected to represent all of us, or, un-elected bureaucrats in the pay of special interests’’
Had reporter Greg Knill extended the courtesy of allowing me to tell my side of the story, I would have given him a scoop : on Feb 16 2013, when we got down to brass tacks at the hearing in New Westminster, George Rice took the witness stand to give evidence against me. In cross-examination, I asked ‘drawing from your experience of 33 years as a health inspector in the Fraser Valley, do you have any evidence of anyone ever getting sick from consuming raw milk’’ To which he replied ‘no’. So much for BC’s ‘evidence-based health policy’ !!
The proposition that ‘every jar of raw milk is teeming with bad bacteria and is therefore always-and-only such an enormous threat to the public health it must be outlawed’, plays well as media theatrics, but it does not arise from any genuine risk of harm to the public health. It is a fable concocted by the dairy cartel, for distracting consumers from the fact that the communist policy of industrialization of agriculture has stolen the very nutrition out of the mouths of our children.
British Columbians are suffering post-election hangover ‘ they need a bit of comic relief. Consider the spectacle of the Premier in her full-on cheerleader persona, campaigning as a champion of ‘free enterprise’. Meanwhile her Minister of Agriculture got a standing ovation from egg producers, for promising that his govt. is dedicated to maintaining the supply management scheme! A quarter of a century since the Berlin Wall came down, BC consumers labor under the New Economic Plan of Josep Stalin – centrally-dictated supply management of foodstuffs. And, just as in the Soviet Union, dissidents such as myself are sent to gaol NOT for actually harming anyone, but for disagreeing with the Central Party line.
I could go on, explaining at length why ( with respect) Wong is wrong, but I’ll sing that song in the Court of Appeal
Gordon S Watson