Apr 14/98: Friends of Lubicon statement on legal victory


Friends of the Lubicon
Thursday, April 14, 1998

Today's decision is an important one for ourselves and for all Canadians who have, for the last 3 years, watched Daishowa threaten rights we all hold dear.

But most importantly, today's decision is a signal to the federal government that Lubicon land rights must be resolved politically, that negotiations cannot be endlessly delayed. The Minister of Indian Affairs must sit down at the table and begin sincere, good faith negotiations by reaffirming agreements already made and using comprehensive Lubicon settlement proposals as a simple basis for identifying areas for negotiation. Justice McPherson explicitly states that the "current state of affairs for the Lubicon Cree...deserves the adjectives tragic, desperate and intolerable."

The federal government has a responsibility to ensure that these issues are not fought out in the courts and in the marketplace, but so far, despite numerous promises, they have failed miserably to uphold that responsibility.

But Daishowa has a responsibility as well. Daishowa is responsible for its own actions. They can choose not to exploit the ambiguous state of Lubicon land rights by refraining from stealing resources from those lands before the rights are settled. For three years now, Daishowa has instead tried to bully their way out of the problem. It should be clear by now that we will not be intimidated, bankrupted or silenced.

All we've ever asked Daishowa to do is to make a clear, public and unequivocal commitment not to cut or buy wood cut on Lubicon territories until a land rights settlement has been reached with both levels of government and a harvesting agreement negotiated with the Lubicons which respects Lubicon wildlife and environmental concerns.

Daishowa has tried bluffing, and they've tried bullying, maybe now they should try responding to the simple request the Lubicon have put before them.

Upon receiving this decision, our first instinct was to restart the boycott immediately. However we will instead give Daishowa some time to consider making the right decision. We will wait ten days. If, after those ten days, Daishowa still refuses to make the commitment to do the responsible thing, we will again begin contacting major Daishowa customers. And frankly, the boycott will be bigger than before and it will extend across several jurisdictions. We will use our freedom of expression to its fullest extent.

The bottom line is that citizens in any country have a responsibility and a right to challenge injustices by their governments and they have a responsibility and a right to challenge injustices by the corporations which operate in their country. We have fulfilled that responsibility to act on our conscience, and we will continue to use whatever democratic means are available to us to ensure that the rights of the Lubicon people are respected, because only in doing so can we ensure that all Canadians rights are respected.

Kevin Thomas
for Friends of the Lubicon

Friends of the Lubicon
485 Ridelle Ave.
Toronto, ON M6B 1K6
Tel: (416) 763-7500
Fax: (416) 603-2715
Email: fol@tao.ca
Web: http://www.tao.ca/~fol/

Back to SIS