The federal government has responded to demands from Premier Scott Moe, to explain why its employees were taking water samples at some dugouts on private farm land.
The federal environment minister Steven Guilbeault accused the Sask Party government of mis-representing the facts.
“I believe that we, and Canadians, are best served when we engage on the facts—not heated and misinformed rhetoric. In your role as Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Water Security Agency, you will be well aware that water quality is one of those rare issues that unites all Canadians.” the minister said in a letter sent to the provincial government.
Guilbeault didn’t explain exactly what the federal employees were doing there, and why they didn’t get permission from the landowner first.
“You brought this matter to my attention in your very public and very frank letter of August 21. I also took note of your comments openly speculating about the work of these scientists. Please allow me to be equally frank and public in my response: departmental officials are not testing water for nitrates or nutrients related to farm runoff, and their study is not related to the non-regulated, voluntary goals of the Government of Canada in an effort to reduce emissions from agricultural fertilizers. The claims made in the media about this incident compound other recent misinformation regarding the voluntary nature of the fertilizer emission reduction goals, mischaracterizing work that is voluntary, unregulated and being done in partnership with Canadian farmers to reduce emissions, not fertilizer use.”
Before the provincial government released their letter demanding to know what the feds were up too, an order in council by the provincial government was quietly approved, adding the crown (federal employees) to the list of people who could face trespassing charges on private land.