Sep/97: Amitié Lubicons-Québec Bulletin #1
BULLETIN NO. 1
Here is Amitié Lubicons-Québec's information bulletin. Its primary function is to keep the public, our endorsers and friends informed of our local campaign in support of the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation (Alberta) and the Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto), presently before the courts battling a SLAPP suit. Contact us for more information, to take part in our events or to endorse the campaign if you haven't already done so. Keep in touch and stay informed.
[S.I.S.I.S. note: Ellipses in the following articles are as in the original.]
FRIENDS OF THE LUBICON APPEAL REJECTED BY THE SUPREME COURT
On June 19th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal launched seven months earlier by the Toronto-based Friends of the Lubicon (FoL). FoL appealed to the higher court in an attempt to strike down an injunction obtained by Daishowa against a boycott of its forest products.
On January 23rd, 1996, the Supreme Court of Appeals granted Daishowa a temporary injunction against the boycott. At that time, the Court ruled, among other things, that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not apply in such "private litigation" and found that, in this particular case, the company's right to do business outweighed FoL's right to freedom of expression.
The Supreme Court has offered no explanation for its refusal to hear the appeal.
TRIAL OPENS IN ONTARIO AGAINST FRIENDS OF THE LUBICON
September 2nd marked the opening of a trial in Toronto brought against three members of the Friends of the Lubicon -- Kevin Thomas, Stephen Kenda and Ed Bianchi. FoL began its boycott campaign of Daishowa products in Ontario in November 1991 and in January 1995, the multinational sued them for what presently amounts to over $11 million in damages.
Good Year for Daishowa...
Following more than two and a half years of preliminary legal proceedings, the trial in Toronto will unfold as Daishowa prepares to begin work on a second mill in the Peace River region in Alberta, bordering Lubicon land. The new $900 million paper mill, announced on December 20th, 1996, will no doubt consume trees cut on Lubicon land.
Also in December 1996, the Japanese press reported that Daishowa expected its "consolidated net profit to reach Yen 14 billion ($123.9 million) for the year" ending in March 1997.
In June of this year, Daishowa announced that profits from Daishowa Marubeni International, which owns the pulp mill in Peace River, had tripled.
No such good news for 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 [...]." FoL are appealing the Court order.
Issues to consider
As Daishowa's profits climb, the Lubicon Lake Cree are being forced to the outer margins of society, not knowing from one year to the next if their land will be logged or not. As Daishowa's Canadian interests prosper, citizens have been dragged through the courts for almost three years now for organising a boycott campaign.
If Daishowa wins its lawsuit in Ontario, this case could establish a legal precedent against any boycott campaign in the future. For the sake of freedom of expression, however, even if the Court in Ontario outlaws the boycott in that province and condemns the Friends of the Lubicon for the damages alleged by Daishowa, the boycott campaign could very well take root in Quebec, in Washington State, Vermont, or anywhere Daishowa does business. The Lubicon will also be able to count on our growing support.
NATIVE LAND, PRIVATE PROFIT
Among the dozens of oil and gas companies actively destroying Lubicon land and the environment, we find Canadian-based Norcen Energy Resources Ltd. In Guatemala, as of May, Norcen controls 1.4 million acres in the oil-rich Peten and Alta Verapaz provinces, home throughout the 80s of some of the worst violence brought to bear against the Native Mayan population. Norcen, along with other Canadian firms, make Canada the number one oil producer in Guatemala today. Not a very comforting thought for Native People both here and there...
Source: Cerigua briefs, 12/06/97
Amitié Lubicons-Québec (ALQ) launched its campaign on January 23, 1997, with a demonstration at Daishowa's offices in Ville St-Laurent, Québec. ALQ asked Daishowa to make a public commitment neither to cut nor buy trees cut on Lubicon land until a land rights agreement has been reached between the Lubicon Lake Cree and the governments of Canada and Alberta, and until the company has reached an agreement with the Cree governing its wood harvesting practices on Lubicon land. In its written replies to ALQ, Daishowa refuses to make such a commitment, and also refuses to drop legal proceedings it began against FoL in Ontario.
The Amitié Lubicons-Québec campaign is endorsed by: Hispanic Studies Student Association (UofM), Anthropology Students Association (UofM), Canevas, Wampum Center, First Nations Circle (UQAM), Central American Human Rights Committee, Ville-Marie Peace and Justice Committee, le Comité des sans emplois de Montréal-Centre, le Comité justice sociale (CRCQ), le Comité Québec-Amérique central, Resource Center on Non Violence, Québec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) UQAM, QPIRG Concordia, QPIRG-McGill, Abya-Yala Bookstore, Alternative Bookstore, les Productions B'alba, Project Ploughshares (Montréal), Rebelles, le Réseau solidarité avec le Mexique, le Regroupment de solidarité avec les Autochtones, Rythm Activism, Salut le monde!, Terres en vue...
For more information contact:
P.O. Box 854, Kanehsatake
Mohawk Territory (Québec)
Telephone: (514) 844-0484
Fax: (514) 844-0113
Name of organization:
____ We would like to adhere to and endorse your campaign.
____ We would like to take part in your organizational meetings.
____ We would like to take part occasionally and be notified of your activities.
____ We would like more information.
____ Here is our contribution of $_____
Please return to: C.P. 854, Kanehsatake,
Mohawk Territory (Québec), J0N1E0