Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto) News Release


April 29, 1991

ATTENTION: News Desk/Native Affairs Editor

FROM: Friends of the Lubicon, Toronto

Lubicon Lake Nation lawyers are raising procedural points regarding the conduct of an RCMP investigation into the destruction of logging equipment on Lubicon territory. The first of thirteen Lubicon Lake Nation members were to appear in court in Peace River, Alberta, this Monday, April 29. The thirteen are charged with Possession of Explosives, Arson, Disguise with Intent, and Trespass. They each face up to 50 years in prison. Procedural points have delayed the hearings.

The charges stem from the destruction of logging equipment operating in Lubicon Nation territory last December 13. Daishowa, a Japanese multinational which is operating a pulp mill in the area, contracted the logging of sovereign Lubicon lands to Brewster Construction, a wholly-owned Daishowa subsidiary, and Buchanan Lumber. Last November 8 the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation gave notice that all developments in unceded Lubicon territory would have to obtain operating permits from the Nation and comply with Lubicon environmental and wildlife protection regulations. Companies which failed to do so would be subject to removal without further notice. To date, Buchanan, Brewster, and numerous oil companies have failed to comply.

The Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto) condemns the use of the Canadian judicial system as a weapon against the Lubicon lands and people. We demand that all the charges be dropped against Lubicon Nation members on the basis that Canadian courts and police have no current jurisdiction on unceded Lubicon territories and on the basis that Buchanan Lumber is operating illegally without Lubicon Nation permits within unceded Lubicon territory.

We also call upon the Alberta government to revoke all development leases on unceded Lubicon territories. We call on Daishowa and all its subsidiaries or contractors to cease all operations on unceded Lubicon territories until a just settlement has been reached in the land dispute. And we call on the Canadian government to negotiate such a settlement in good faith without further delay.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee in 1988 called upon Canada to ensure that no further irreparable harm be done to the Lubicon Nation. In 1990 they said that "recent developments threaten the way of life and culture of the Lubicon Lake Band and constitute a violation of Article 27 so long as they continue."

For more information contact Friends of the Lubicon at 416-653- 1499.