Alberta will act to protect hard-working farmers from aggressive, illegal protests.
Premier Jason Kenney, Minister of Justice and Attorney General Doug Schweitzer, and Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Devin Dreeshen announce new protections for farmers against trespassing and illegal protests at the Jumbo Valley Hutterite Colony.
The government of Alberta will introduce legislation designed to punish illegal protestors who invade farms, and to discourage such dangerous activity.
“Alberta’s farmers and ranchers treat their animals well, and they have a right to run their operations without illegal harassment from militant trespassers. I’ve asked Minister Dreeshen and Minister Schweitzer to consider all options, including legislation, to protect livestock producers’ operations and their families from harassment.”Jason Kenney, Premier
“Farmers shouldn’t have to worry about people entering their workplace, interfering with their lives, or threatening the health of their animals. This incident made it clear our farmers need stronger protection. We will act to protect our farms and ranches from radical activists.”Devin Dreeshen, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
“Alberta’s farmers need to have confidence that their government stands with them and will work to keep them safe. The measures we are proposing will send a loud and clear message to fanatics that trespassing on farmers’ property to disrupt their ability to operate is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
“This announcement provides farmers further clarity on what a measured response from the legal system will look like. Farmers now have a better understanding of what government is willing to do if situations like this arise in the future.”Mark Tchetter, Jumbo Valley
Options being proposed include:
- Fines up to $10,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for subsequent offences for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations, and imprisonment of up to 6 months.
- Amending the Animal Health Act so farmers affected by bio-security breaches can recover their costs and so trespassers and protesters placing biosecurity at risk can be fined $15,000 for first offences, then $30,000 plus imprisonment of up to one year for repeat offences.
- Amending the Provincial Offences Procedures Act to increase the maximum amount of compensation awarded by the court from $25,000 to $100,000.
In addition, government is funding 50 new Crown prosecutors to be tougher on criminal behaviour.
On top of the illegality of trespassing, unauthorized or improper entry on farms and in barns can introduce disease and threaten the health and welfare of animals. It can also have a detrimental impact on business operations and on the well-being of farm families.
Albertans are encouraged to call their local RCMP detachment if faced with trespassers.