Men Plead Guilty to Wildlife Violations

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Four Saskatchewan men, including a waterfowl outfitter and three guides, pleaded guilty today in Provincial Court on 56 counts of violating federal and provincial wildlife legislation in connection with illegal waterfowl hunting and guiding activities in the Cumberland Marsh area of Saskatchewan. The case was adjourned for sentencing until May 12, 2005.

Gary Carrière, Delvin Laliberté, Cory McKenzie and Claude Dussion were convicted of a total of 51 counts under the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act and five counts under the Saskatchewan Wildlife Act, including aiding, abetting and counseling others to hunt over legal limits of waterfowl; failing to retrieve killed and wounded birds; using a power boat to disturb wildlife and failure to report contraventions. The violations occurred in 2002 and 2003 while the accused were guiding American waterfowl hunters at Mistik Lodge near Cumberland House. Cumberland House is located approximately 400 km northeast of Saskatoon.

The charges were laid by Environment Canada and Saskatchewan Environment in October 2003, following an investigation dubbed “Operation Overboard”, conducted jointly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Operation Overboard also resulted in four American hunters being fined $27,000 after pleading guilty in September 2004 to nine counts of violating federal and provincial wildlife legislation. The hunters also donated $4,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund in exchange for the return of some seized equipment. Additional equipment with an estimated value of $10,500 was forfeited, including firearms and clothing.

The guilty pleas entered by the guides were in relation to their actions of ignoring laws and encouraging their American clientele to shoot as many as three times their daily limit of ducks and often not retrieving those birds that were shot.

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Act provides for maximum penalties of $100,000 per offence. The maximum penalty on summary conviction for each violation under the Migratory Birds Convention Act is $50,000 and/or six months in jail.

The Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada, provides courts a way to ensure that financial penalties are directed to address environmental damages.

The Migratory Birds Convention Act is available at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/EnviroRegs/Eng/SearchDetail.cfm?intAct=1010

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Act is available at: http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/publications/index.cfm?fuseaction=details&c=2061&id=2

For more information, please contact:

Brian Petrar
Regional Special Investigations Coordinator
Wildlife Enforcement Division
Environment Canada
(306) 975-4799, cell (306) 221-9731