Sep 2/97: ALQ#2-Why is Daishowa using courts?


Amitié Lubicons-Québec
September 2, 1997

Second Press Communiqué
For immediate release

Today at 10:00 a.m. will mark the opening of a three week trial in Toronto brought against the Friends of the Lubicon, organisers of a successful boycott campaign in Ontario of Daishowa forest products. In January 1995, Daishowa sued the Friends of the Lubicon for what presently amounts to over $11 million in damages because of the boycott.

In December 1996, days after Daishowa announced its plans for the construction of a new $900 million $ paper mill in the Peace River region in Alberta, the Japanese business journal Nikkei Weekly reported that Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Company's expected "consolidated net profit to reach Yen 14 billion ($123.9 million) for the year" ending in March 1997, the first net profit in six years for the multinational (NW, December 23, 1996, p. 14)...

In June of this year, another Japanese journal, Nihon Keizai Shimun, confirmed the good news while specifying that "the current balance sheet for the group at 19.9 billion yen was the highest since FY88." According to the article, "overseas subsidiaries all came into the black including it's Canadian holding company which rose out of a 2.6 billion yen deficit to a 2.5 billion yen profit [...]. Profits at Daishowa Marubeni International, which makes pulp [and owns the mill in Peace River, Alta], tripled to 5.5 billion yen" (NKS, June 22, 1997).

No such good news for the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon (FOL), however. In fact, on August 9th, the financially-strapped volunteer organisation, was ordered by the Court to turn over its entire mailing list to Daishowa. According to a company lawyer, Daishowa needs the "names in order to explore the extent of the public information work which the defendants had done [...]." The Court agreed.

Can supporters of the Lubicon Lake Cree and Friends of the Lubicon now expect Daishowa representatives to call them up randomly seeking information? Will they receive glossy fliers in the mail, convincing them of Daishowa's good intentions with regards to clearcutting 10,000 km2 of Lubicon land? Will the Friends of the Lubicon be able to garner broad public support and fundraise effectively in the future, if they turn their mailing list over to Daishowa? The Friends of the Lubicon are appealing the court order.

According to Marc Drouin, member of the Amitié Lubicons-Québec campaign, "not only is Daishowa using the Courts in an attempt to break the Friends of the Lubicon financially, it is now attempting to wipe out the organisation altogether, one member or supporter at a time. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, SLAPP suits, drain away valuable time, human and financial resources from citizen's organisations and individuals. They tie up the courts and directly impact our collective rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association."

As Daishowa profits climb, the Lubicon Lake Cree are being forced to the outer margins of Canadian society, not knowing from one year to the next if their land base will be logged or not. As Daishowa's Canadian interests prosper, citizens are being dragged through the courts for having organised a boycott. We are still waiting for justice in this matter.

Representatives from Amitié Lubicons-Québec will be in Toronto taking part in a support rally this morning at 8:30 a.m. in Nathan Phillip's Square.

"So far, the Alberta government has benefited from royalties taken on the 9 billion dollars in oil and gas resources extracted from Lubicon land since the late 70s, while 95 per cent of my people are on welfare. Now a multinational corporation is threatening to log and clear-cut the land we depend on for food and medicine. It will be the final destruction of my people and I want everyone to clearly understand that."
- Reinie Jobin, Lubicon Lake Cree Elders' Council. Montreal, January 23, 1997

For more information contact:

Marc Drouin, Amitié Lubicons-Québec: (514) 526-9970
Mr. Kevin Thomas, Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto): (416) 209-6189
Mr. Bernard Ominayak, Chief of the Lubicon Lake Cree (Alberta): (403) 629-3945
The Amitié Lubicons-Québec campaign is endorsed by: L'Association des étudiantes et étudiants d'études hispaniques (UdeM), l'Association des étudiantes et étudiants en anthropologie (UdeM), le Canevas, le Centre Wampum, le Cercle des Premières Nations (UQAM), le Comité de Justice et Paix de Ville-Marie, le Comité des sans emplois de Montréal-Centre, le Comité justice sociale (CRCQ), le Comité Québec-Amérique centrale, le Centre de ressources sur la non violence, le Groupe de recherche en intérêt public (GRIP-Québec) UQAM, le GRIP-Québec Concordia, le GRIP-Québec McGill, la Librairie Abya-Yala, la Librairie Alternative, le Mouvement Humaniste, les Productions B'alba, Project Ploughshares (Montréal), Rebelles, le Réseau de solidarité avec le Mexique, le Regroupement de solidarité avec les Autochtones, Rythm Activism, Salut le monde!, Terre en vue...

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