by SUSAN MANN
Durham-area farmer Michael Schmidt says he hasn’t eaten solid food yet despite ending his hunger strike after meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty at Queen’s Park Friday morning.
That’s because he has to ease his body back gradually. “I’m just on broth, just liquids to get my body back into motion,” he says, noting it’ll be another five to seven days before he can start eating solid foods.
Schmidt lost 50 pounds since beginning his hunger strike Sept. 29 to protest his recent conviction on charges related to selling and distributing unpasteurized milk. Ontario Court of Justice Peter Tetley handed down his verdict Sept. 28 convicting Schmidt of charges that Justice of the Peace Paul Kowarsky acquitted him of in 2010.
Schmidt plans to appeal Tetley’s decision. He said in an earlier interview he'll continue running his cow share operation.
Schmidt says he asked for a meeting with Premier McGuinty and if he got that he would end the strike. “I was asking for a dialogue on how we get out of this stalemate.” Schmidt says he wasn’t requesting that the Premier change the law prohibiting raw milk sales and distribution or “stop prosecuting me.”
Schmidt says he was boarding a plane to return to Ontario after attending a rally in Vancouver when he got a call from McGuinty’s chief of staff asking if he could come to Queens Park for a meeting.
During the 20-minute meeting, Schmidt says the Premier suggested working with the individual MPPs “in regards to the review of the current laws and policies.” Schmidt says he’ll be trying to make presentations to the caucuses of the three provincial political parties.
Schmidt says after it was clear mentally that he was stopping the hunger strike “that was when my body really started to suffer. When you’re still focused and determined to go all the way, it’s easy because you’re focused. Once it’s over its kind of a collapse of your entire system.”
But it’s okay, he says. “I think I’m slowly turning the corner here.”
Did he miss food? No, he says. “Once I set my mind to something then nothing is tempting me.” BF