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Province demanding answers from feds on allegations of trespassing on private property


Saskatchewan Minister, Jeremy Cockrill, is calling on Steve Guilbeault, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to address what he and his constituents are calling trespassing onto private property.

“We’re still unsure which federal department they’re a part of, but they actually were taking samples out of a private dugout and when approached and queried as to why they were there, they said that they were checking for pesticide residues and nitrates,” he told CTV.

Recently, Cockrill, who is the provincial minister responsible for Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, claims the provincial government received reports of federal government vehicles in Pense, Mossbank and Pilot Butte on private property without landowner consent.

In a letter to the minister, Cockrill states in part,

“When approached by producers, these employees indicated that they were testing water sources for pesticide/nitrate levels. The lands and water body, a producer’s dugout, are both privately owned. Government of Canada representatives did not request permission to enter from the landowner, nor did they seek to perform testing or advise landowners of any other purpose..”

Cockrill added there is growing concern across the province in regards to the federal fertilizer emission’s cuts and how these alleged incidents seem connected.

“It just seems a little bit too convenient that they are testing the water for nitrates, and also talking about a fertilizer emissions as well,” he said.

Cockrill wants the federal government to address why federal employees are testing general water quality when that falls under provincial jurisdiction and why they are trespassing onto private property.

“On a provincial level, it’s concerning because previously the federal government has told our government that on water related issues, they will work in collaboration with us. For producers, trying to get the crop off and into the bin, and then you have black suburbans rolling around their farms without proper notice.”

Both he and Premier Scott Moe are demanding that the federal government give the Saskatchewan producers an explanation, and ask why there is no communication on the matter.

They also ask that any further entry onto private lands by federal employees be terminated immediately.


On Monday evening, Guilbeault's office said Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is "looking into the matter internally". The statement notes they are aware of an incident near Pense on Aug. 11 when scientists "taking samples very near a highway" were approached by a landowner and informed they were on private land.

"ECCC is also looking into the other two locations, though have found no record of them so far," the minister's office said.

It continues on to say staff have been collecting water samples in water bodies at targeted sites across Canada for Health Canada.

"No nitrates or other nutrients are being sampled as part of these sampling activities," the statement said. "ECCC us reviewing sampling protocols to ensure they are consistent with area laws before doing any further sampling."

Cockrill urges any producers who have experienced incidents to call a provincial hotline at 1-855-559-5502.

“We certainly want to hear from producers, if they’ve seen vehicles like this, or federal government employees or agencies on their land without permission, we’d like to know about that,” Cockrill said.

He added that the line is a repurposed COVID-19 line, and while the province works on changing the pre-recorded message, those calling should ignore the current instructions and leave a voicemail with details as someone is monitoring that line. Top Stories

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