Premier Scott Moe is demanding answers after an image of a Government of Canada SUV with two men was posted to Twitter on August 19, by a Saskatchewan farmer who said the pair claimed to be testing for pesticides after accessing private land without permission.
Moe took to social media on Sunday afternoon to compel the Federal Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, to provide an excuse for why his ministry staff were on private land without the landowner's permission.
Moe quoted a letter sent by Saskatchewan Minister Responsible for Water Security, Jeremy Cockrill, to Guilbeault, accusing the Environment Minister of trespassing on private land after hearing multiple reports of similar incidents.
Cockrill threatened the feds with enforcement of trespass laws if Environment Ministry staff don't seek permission to access private property.
Cockrill also invited the public to report any instances of trespassing.
Guilbeault is no stranger to trespassing.
He was previously charged with trespass and mischief after he scaled Toronto's CN tower with a fellow activist in 2001, unfurling a Greenpeace banner that accused Canada and U.S. President George W. Bush of being “climate killers."
Some Canadian waterways are under federal jurisdiction; however, accessing land without permission is strictly prohibited in most jurisdictions. Saskatchewan recently passed new legislation strengthening trespass laws with additional fines. The law does allow access to those conducting official duties.
According to Moose Jaw Today:
The law does not allow for someone such as a postal worker to do anything other than drop off their mail or package before immediately leaving.
The legislation provides legal protection to landowners and occupiers against property damage and the risk of agricultural diseases, and limits any liability that may arise from a trespasser's presence on their property. Instead of having to prove trespassers entered without permission, trespassers in a civil case will now have to justify their intrusion.
The new legislation increases the maximum penalty set out in the Act to $25,000 for repeat offenders trespassing on the same property and adds imprisonment up to six months as an available penalty. It will also introduce a $200,000 maximum penalty for a corporation that is complicit in a trespassing offence.