The Alberta Government has made it clear they have a zero tolerance policy for illegal farm protesters.
They've announced new legislation they plan to introduce in the Legislature during the Fall sitting to protect farmers from trespassing and bullying.
Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, made the announcement Thursday, October 3 at the Jumbo Valley Hutterite Colony near Granum, which had their turkey barn invaded with protesters about a month ago.
The legislation includes fines up to $10,000 for first offense and up to $25,000 for repeated offenses for individuals, up to $200,000 for organizations, and imprisonment for up to 6 months.
Although Kenney says he believes in freedom of speech, he was stern "anti-farming militants" have no right to enter the private premise of farms to harass producers and create a bio-hazard risk to the animals.
Alberta's Agriculture and Forestry Minister, Devin Dreeshen, says the activists at the turkey barns were boasting the invasion was just the tip of the iceberg.
"They were proud and promoting this is just the start," he said. "That they were planning on more attacks across Canada, and especially here in Alberta."
Kenney echoed Dreeshen's thoughts, and explained he was told these activists supposedly prepositioned cameras.
"Apprently they did a break and enter, it is alleged, before the actual event occurred, and they had a very detailed strategy...That's why we're frankly laying down the law now."
Options being proposed also include amending the Animal Health Act so farmers affected by bio-security breaches can recoup their costs.
Under these changes, the Government says trespassers and protesters putting biosecurity at risk can be fined up to $15,000 for first offenses, then $30,000 plus up to one year behind bars for repeat offenses.
Amending the Provincial Offense Procedures Act as proposed would also increase the maximum amount of compensation awarded by the court from $25,000 to $100,000.
In addition, they say the Government is funding 50 new Crown prosecutors to be tougher on criminal behaviour.
Livingstone-Macleod MLA, Roger Reid, was on hand for the big announcement, and says farmers are concerned they'll be the next Alberta industry under attack from activists.
"We've seen it with oil and gas over the last number of years, and now things like what happened to Jumbo Valley are revealing that our ag producers are becoming targets for activists."
Kenney says the Justice Minister's officials are in contact with their counterparts in Ontario to compare notes on developing similar legislation, adding he wouldn't be surprised to see like-minded provinces follow suit.