Open letter to Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney:
I write to you as an Ontarian concerned with agriculture issues and a member of the Ontario Bar.
This letter follows today’s (May 1) decision by the Middlesex Crown Attorney’s office to drop break and enter and mischief charges against Ms. Jennifer McQueen, reportedly for there being “no reasonable prospect of conviction.” Ms. McQueen admits that she broke into a pork farm and stole an animal.
Not only has she posted video/pictures and boasted about her actions on social media, but she has and continues to encourage others to follow her lead. I am outraged by the decision to drop the charges despite obvious evidence to support a conviction.
This follows similar decisions in other Ontario jurisdictions to seek no penalty against Mr. Malcolm Klimowicz, after he broke into five different mink farms and also posted video and boasted about his exploits on social media. The same vague excuse was provided by the Durham Crown Attorney’s office, that there was “no reasonable prospect of conviction.” Once again, I am at a loss to understand how the prosecutions of these crimes are not being pursued.
Recently, a group of activists brazenly trespassed into an Ontario dairy farm in broad daylight. They refused to leave the property and stole deadstock. A larger mass-trespass took place just days ago in Abbotsford B.C., where approximately 50 activists occupied a farm for several hours. There are allegations of assault in that case. The same thing is happening in other parts of the world, and such flouting of the law will only get worse in Ontario if nothing is done to punish the perpetrators.
What we are witnessing is nothing short of a breakdown of law and order. No matter what your beliefs happen to be, it is unacceptable to provide radical activists with a free pass to break the law.
Farmers are living in fear. They should be treated with the same respect that any crime victim deserves. All farmers should be confident that the authorities will protect them like any other citizen of this province. All of this goes without saying that these incidents also obviously constitute serious biosecurity issues.
I, therefore, implore you to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that our laws are being enforced with adequate vigour, impartiality, concern for deterrence and a proper concern for the victims – farmers in these cases.
Thank you for your attention and I would welcome hearing how Ontario will address these issues.