Only after the last tree has been cut down.  Only after the last river has been poisoned.  Only after the last fish has been caught.  Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof." - Wingspread Statement of the Precautionary Principle.


Barn Issues
Letter to the Editor
March 4, 2004

To the Editor:

I would like to comment on the article “RMs locked in a dispute over hog barns” by Sean Pratt in the Jan. 29 Western Producer.

…Mr. Alex Strilaeff, a former councillor in the RM of Livingston, was removed from office on Oct. 6, 2003 by an order from the Court of Queen’s Bench.  Mr. Strilaeff was removed because of a conflict of interest…

As a result of the court decision, a by-election was conducted and Mr. Strilaeff was replaced as councillor.  Mr. Mike Kalinowski was elected with 45 votes, Mr. Larry Kruk received 35 votes and Mr. David Dykes received 20 votes.  I would point out that both Mr. Kalinowski and Mr. Dykes had expressed their opposition to these Big Sky factory farms.

The vote was clear and decisive, over 65 percent of the ratepayers voted in opposition to the proposed Big Sky barns.  What is Mr. Possberg talking about when he describes this as “minority wishes to push over the will of the community?”

What is more shocking is Mr. Possberg’s statement that Big Sky will consider taking legal action against the RM of Livingston.

What would the RM of Livingston be sued for?  There are no contractual agreements between Big Sky Farms and the RM of Livingston.  Given the circumstances, the council was obligated to review all of the resolutions voted on by the former councillor who was removed by the Court of Queen’s Bench…

The reason these barns were being forced into the RM of Livingston was because the ratepayers of the RM of St. Phillips did not want them.

I am sure that hog barns with 20,000 hogs located west of Pelly would quickly end the local enthusiasm for this project…

I am proud of the citizens in the communities of Churchbridge, Calder, Foam Lake and the RM of Livingston who have stood up and said no to Big Sky’s factory farms.

Kenneth Sigurdson,
Swan River, MB

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Proposed Big Sky Hog Barn Project Rejected by RM of Livingston
News Release
February 24, 2004

The Rural Municipality of Livingston in Saskatchewan recently rejected an application by Big Sky Farms to set up a massive 120,000 animal-per-year feeder/finisher hog barn project. The rejection, according to critics of the project, is a major victory for ratepayers, farmers, the environment and the downstream communities of Benito and Swan River in Manitoba.

Kenneth Sigurdson, NFU Regional Coordinator and spokesperson for a group of concerned ratepayers in the RM of Livingston, said the Big Sky hog barns project posed serious environmental hazards. Sigurdson, whose home farm is on the Manitoba side of the provincial border, is also a ratepayer in the RM of Livingston. The RM of Livingston rejected the hog barns proposal at its meeting on January 13, but the minutes of the meeting were only released this past week.

“The January 13, 2004 RM of Livingston minutes indicate the RM of Livingston also voided all the resolutions that were previously passed in regard to the proposed Big Sky hog barns,” revealed Sigurdson. “The council voided these illegal resolutions because they were voted on by a councilor who was removed from office because of a pecuniary interest.”

Sigurdson noted that provisions of the Municipal Act of Saskatchewan (Section 46) allow the council to void resolutions voted on by a councilor in conflict of interest. On October 6, 2003, councilor Alex Strilaeff was removed from office by a court order from the Court of Queen’s Bench. The court ruled that Mr. Strilaeff had a pecuniary interest involving selling his land to Big Sky Farms. Mr. Strilaeff had not declared his pecuniary interest and voted on these motions in support of the proposed Big Sky hog barns.

“The RM of Livingston has taken the appropriate action and rejected these hog barns,” Sigurdson emphasized. “This is a major victory for RM of Livingston ratepayers and a victory for ethics and democracy. The Big Sky hog barns have been rejected. The council has brought back integrity to the democratic process in the RM of Livingston by voiding all the resolutions that were illegally voted on.”

Sigurdson concluded the RM of Livingston has now joined other communities such as Calder, Churchbridge and Foam Lake which have all said no to Big Sky Farms hog barns.

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Hog Barns Are Here; So is the Smell
Norquay North Star
February 18, 2004

Editor’s Letterbox:

I came across a flyer recently that was distributed in the Livingston Rural Municipality in January.  The topic of discussion in this flyer was “How Great Hog Barns Are”.

Living in the RM of Livingston, we have hog barns and a feed mill.  The villages of Rama and Invermay are both in this RM and this is what I have observed:  We have no new construction of homes in any of the villages; in fact, there are some vacant homes as well as vacant serviced lots for rent or sale.  Nor have any trailers made their way into these villages. The hotel in Invermay was closed from spring to late fall.  The grocery store in Rama was for sale before the barns came and is still for sale.

I live on the far west side of the RM, and there are times when, due to the prevailing winds, we get our fill of the unpleasant odours that come from the barns and open lagoons.  I can’t imagine living next door, and how refreshing it must be with the constant stench coming from these barns day in and day out.

As for employment connected to the barns and mill, there appears to be instability in maintaining long-term employees.  The public has the perception of there being great employment when, in fact, people are moving in and out of the jobs on a continuous basis.

Finally, if these barns are so economically viable, we ratepayers should be seeing a decline in our mill rate, not an increase.

Viola Bell
Margo, SK

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Minister of Justice Asked to Investigate the Activities of Big Sky Farms in the RM of Livingston
News Release
January 19, 2004

In a letter to Saskatchewan Minister of Justice and Attorney General the Hon Frank Quennell, Kenneth Sigurdson a spokesman for a group of ratepayers in the RM of Livingston asked the Minister to “investigate the activities of Big Sky Farms”.

Sigurdson, a ratepayer in the RM of Livingston, noted that on December 8, 2003 Mr. Ed Weninger Project Manager for Big Sky Farms met with the RM of Livingston council.

The December 8, 2003 council minutes on page 1 state:

“Lac La Course met with council, Ed Weniger from Big Sky Farms requested approval to bury 2 water lines to the three feeder barns. Mr. Orest Rosowsky, lawyer was also with the group and advised council that there may be consequences if council did not approve the proposed water lines.”

“Since the December council meeting lawyers have sent the RM of Livingston two letters. These two letters directly threatened or indirectly threatened the RM with legal action if the water lines or the Big Sky project is rejected.” Sigurdson stated.

Sigurdson explained that councilors are given statutory protection and cannot be successfully sued for carrying out their duties. Section 168, 168.1, and section 169 of the Municipal Act outlines councils rights to make resolutions and bylaws and the power to alter or revoke them from time to time. Section 175 of the Municipal Act provides for fines of $2000.00 for interfering with an agent or servant of the municipality. In addition Section 123 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines that threats cannot be made against elected municipal officials.

“Any legal action against the RM of Livingston would be frivolous and have no merit. There are no contractual arrangements between the RM of Livingston and Big Sky Farms.” Sigurdson stated and he requested that Justice Minister Hon. Frank Quennell “ investigate these threats that were made to the council of the RM of Livingston”.

“We request the Justice Department investigate these activities of Big Sky Farms and take appropriate action to enforce the laws of Saskatchewan and the criminal code in the province of Saskatchewan” Sigurdson concluded.

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January 2004

First I should give a bit more background. The hog barns in the RM Livingston were initiated three years ago. Last summer the RM council rejected water lines to these barns (from the Swan River) and did so again this December. I am a ratepayer in the RM of Livingston and I live in Manitoba. Last summer we removed a councilor in conflict of interest and elected a councilor opposed to the hog barns Mr. Mike Kalinowski. This gives us 3 votes to 2 on council.

The proponents come out of the RM of ST. Phillips and the west side of the RM of Livingston. The proponents all live up wind and up stream of course. This project to include two RM's. the sow barn and nursery barn are proposed for St Phillips and the three finisher barns and feed mill are to be located in the RM of Livingston (the heavy truck traffic).

The reason these barns are in Livingston is because they could not  find a home for them The people of St. Phillips didn't want them, however they are threatening legal action if Livingston defeats the barns.

The council now understands that any legal action would be is frivolous and by issuing these kind of  threats the town of Pelly and St. Phillips could be charged under the Municipal Act.

To get the project underway The RM of St. Phillips put up $20,000 and the RM of Livingston put up $20,000 (not budgeted for) the town of Pelly put up $10,000 the Kamsack credit union donated $5,000.00. This is to be repaid by Big Sky when the barns are built. A CARDS grant and a REDA grant were also given to this project. The Lac La Course Hog committee has a bank loan with the Kamsack credit Union.

The barns are in danger of going down in Livingston. This will be a lifelong embarrassment to the people who wasted the Communities money. These are not nice people they deal in threats and intimidation. At the December council meeting 35 of them came in in five different delegations and even brought a lawyer to threaten legal action against the RM. They swore at Mike Kalinowski and threatened the Reeve on numerous occasions. One councilor was sick and this left the vote 2 to 2 They then brought in a petition demanding a meeting under section 48 (2) of the Act this was the meeting that I describe in the letter.

I believe the council will deal with this tomorrow at the council meeting. It looks good.

Our next project will be to have Sask Ag and Food remove their approval of this project. This project has been approved without the water lines and without the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority approving it. This is illegal. I believe Sask Ag and Food intends to keep the approval in place and hope for a change in reeve in the fall election.

Hope this helps you understand this better.

Ken Sigurdson

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Letter to the RM of Livingston
Ken Sigurdson
January 8, 2004

Dear Mr. Assoignon

As a ratepayer in the RM of Livingston I would like to state my objections to the meeting held in Arran Saskatchewan on January 5, 2004.

This meeting of voters was called under section 48 (2) of the Municipal Act of Saskatchewan.

I would first like to thank the Reeve Mr. Gerald Assoignon and the RM Administrator Mr. Mike Burtnack for outlining the proper process for conducting this meeting. The proper democratic process was not followed in conducting this meeting and vote.

My objections to the meeting are as follows:

  1. The chairman rejected the information provided to him on the proper conduct of this meeting and the chairman did not conduct this meeting in accordance with Roberts Rule of Order.
  2. The chairman was the reeve of the RM of Clayton. As an elected public official the reeve (chairman) did not follow the Municipal Act of Saskatchewan even when informed of the provisions of the Act. When this was pointed out to him, his response was that he was there to conduct a vote.
  3. No one authorized the chairman to conduct a vote he was elected chairman to conduct the meeting.
  4. The voters did not approve the vote that took place at the meeting. There was no resolution to conduct a vote.
  5. The voters did not approve the two questions being asked. There was no resolution approving the questions.
  6. There were two questions being asked. The chairman arbitrarily put them forward. The vote on the second question was to be counted if the first question failed; again this decision was arbitrary and not approved of by the meeting.
  7. The chairman prevented other issues from coming forward. This was to be a public meeting called under the Municipal Act of Saskatchewan, ratepayers were denied their democratic rights.
  8. There were two scrutineers elected from the meeting. This is totally inappropriate. Candidates choose scrutineers or they are representatives of each side on an issue. The scrutineers were both proponents of the question being asked.
  9. The proponents of the issue being discussed did the voter identification. Many people who voted were not ratepayers or residents of the RM. These qualifications to vote were not met in many cases.
  10. The proponents printed the ballots, distributed the ballots, outlined the voting procedure, and counted the votes. The meeting did not give them the authority to do any of these things.

This kind of meeting- voting process is very offensive to those that believe in proper democratic procedure and proper voting procedures. In a democratic society we should not give this kind of flawed manipulated process or the result any credibility.

For your council to take any results from this process would be to validate this undemocratic meeting and voting procedure.

Kenneth Sigurdson
For the Concerned Ratepayers of Livingston

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Hog Barns
Western Producer
May 22, 2003

To the Editor:

How unfortunate that, at this point in time, our farm (NE 18-35-31-W1) is located in the rural municipality of Livingston 331 in the Pelly area of Saskatchewan.  Why is it unfortunate, you may ask?

One of the proposed feeder hog barns is to be located within four miles of our farm residence.

Secondly, another proposed feeder hog barn site (SW 8-35-31-W1) will be one and one-half miles from not only our farm residence but also from our private well that supplies our drinking water.

Thirdly, we didn’t put 20 years of hard work, effort and money into beautifying our farm site to have two hog barns plunked down in our backyard.  Since these barns do devalue one’s property, all our time, effort and finances to improve our farm will have been in vain…

We do not wish to experience what ratepayers and residents are experiencing in the RMs of Preeceville 334, Buchanan 304, Invermay 305 and Hazel Dell 335.  Why should I sacrifice my health and the health of my family, especially that of my daughter who has asthma, for an economic enterprise that will benefit a minority at the expense of the majority?

Why should I be singled out to no longer be able to enjoy being outdoors and why should I be forced to keep all of our doors and windows closed because of the pig odour?  I do not look forward to the constant traffic, noise, dust and deterioration of our municipal roads.  Neither do I want to deal with an increase in rodents, skunks, flies and coyotes.

Why should our well water test unsafe for human consumption?  Will my children and grandchildren refuse to visit us under these circumstances?

What right does the RM of Livingston 331, Lac La Course Hogs Inc., Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, and local proponents have to punish us by making us prisoners within our own home?

If the promoters and supporters in the RMs of Livingston 331, St. Philips 301, Clayton 333, and Keys think that these barns are so good for the community, why aren’t they allowing the barns to be built in the vicinity of their farm residences?  Surely, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander…

In order to retain its credibility – whatever remains of it – I advise Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food to put a hold on these hog operations in the Pelly area until all issues are resolved.  I urge Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food, Saskatchewan Municipal Affairs, and Saskatchewan Justice and Intergovernmental Affairs to conduct a thorough and far-reaching investigation into the irregularities within the RM of Livingston 331 and into the flawed public process used by Lac La Course Hogs Inc. and Big Sky Farms.

Unless these government departments pursue such a review, they will be seen as abetting in processes and procedures that are not democratic, not honest, not transparent, and not fair.

Vikki Lozinsky
Pelly, SK

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Court of Queens Bench Removes Councilor from the RM of Livingston

A by election is being held in the RM of Livingston (Arran Sask.) on November 26, 2003 to replace Councilor Alex Strilaeff who was removed from his council position by an order from the Court of Queens Bench. The court ruled that Mr. Strilaeff had a pecuniary interest in matters before the council, namely possible financial profit from decisions on the development of NW ¼ 33-34-30, hog barns, Lac La Course Hogs Inc. and Big Sky Farms. The Court of Queens bench ruled that Mr. Strilaeff failed to disclose his interest contrary to section 45 of the Municipal Act. The court further ruled that the seat being Division 1 of the RM of Livingston be vacant and the respondent Mr. Stifaeff is disqualified from holding office in the municipality for a period of three years.

Kenneth Sigurdson the applicant who initiated the action and a ratepayer in the RM of Livingston stated “ This is a major victory for citizens in the RM of Livingston. A new council can now review all of the resolutions voted on by Mr. Strilaeff relating to the proposed Big Sky Farms hog barns”.

“The decision by the former council to provide Big Sky Farms with a loan of $20,000.00 can also be examined. The money was not even budgeted for by the RM. This loan was subsequently given to Lac La Course Hogs Incorporated without a loan agreement being put in place” Sigurdson revealed. “It is also up the RM of Livingston to follow the democratic decisions of the ratepayers who said no to hog barns at public meetings three years ago.

Sigurdson went on to say that the upcoming by election is very important for citizens across the border in Manitoba as well. The community of Benito some four miles away and the Thunderhill Ski Hill will be impacted from odor and the stench from the proposed hog barns.

“The proposed hog barns triple the livestock numbers in the Swan River drainage basin, so the water and environment would be impacted. It is not acceptable to impact citizens and environment downstream and down wind of these operations ”, Sigurdson emphasized.

“What are the implications for the water quality in the Swan River?” Sigurdson questioned. “ Many rural residences depend on the water from the Swan River and the aquifer in the town of Swan River.”

“We don’t want boil water notices in our town and community.” Sigurdson emphasized.

Sigurdson stressed the importance of restoring democracy and fair play to the RM of Livingston and he noted that the previous council was plagued by irregularities discrepancies and conflict of interest.

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Q.B.G NO: 268         OF A.D 2003




On Monday, the 6th day of October, 2003


 UPON THE APPLICATION of KEN SIGURDSON, and upon hearing read the proofs of service upon ALEX STRILAEFF, the Affidavit of Ken Sigurdson, the Affidavit of Mike Kalinowsky, the Consent filed by counsel on behalf of Alex Strilaeff and counsel on behalf of Ken Sigurdson to this Order, all filed, and the record of the Court in regard to this matter, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED pursuant to s. 45(4) of the Rural Municipality Act, 1989, THAT:

 1). The Respondent, Alex Strilaeff has contravened s. 45 of the Rural Municipality Act, 1989, in that he held a pecuniary interest in matters before the Council, namely possible financial profit from decisions on the development of NW 1/4 33-34-30 W1st, hog barns, Lac La Course Hogs Inc., and Big Sky Farms Inc., which he failed to disclose contrary to  s. 45(1)(a), failed to leave the meeting while the matters were under discussion contrary to s. 45(1)(b), and did attempt to influence the voting on such questions contrary to s. 45 (2);  

2). The seat held by the Respondent Alex Strilaeff, being Division I of  the R.M. of Livingston No. 331 be vacant; and  

3). The Respondent, Alex Strilaeff is disqualified from holding office in any municipality for a period of three years from the date of this Order.
Each party shall pay their own costs in regard to this motion.

        "S. Urbanoski"


THIS ORDER prepared by:

Solicitors for the Applicant

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