Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
May 6, 1991
Enclosed for your information are a couple of newspaper articles and a Friends of the Lubicon press release concerning the most recent travails of the Lubicon people before the Canadian courts.
Preliminary hearings for four people were scheduled for April 29th, another four were scheduled for May 6th and the remaining five were scheduled for May 29th. The idea behind all of these various preliminary hearings was to try and pit accused against accused and/or against potentially accused. All preliminary hearings have now been adjourned until June 17th pending decision on charges that the Government is continuing breach of its Constitutional duties and obligations by such conduct of the case.
Preliminary hearings will be re-scheduled on June 17th or perhaps adjourned further pending appeal of whatever decision is rendered on charges that the Government is in continuing breach of its Constitutional duties and obligations by its conduct of the case. In any event it's hoped that Government handling of the case will be subjected to proper scrutiny.
FOR IMMEDIATE 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.
Attachment #2: re-printed without permission from The Edmonton Sun, Tuesday, April 30, 1991
LUBICON HEARING ON HOLD
The preliminary hearing for 13 people from the Lubicon Lake Indian Band in northern Alberta facing a number of charges has been put on hold.
The defence and Crown agreed to a stay of proceedings until a charter of rights application on logging on traditional land has been made by a Court of Queen's Bench justice in Edmonton.
A ruling on that application should be made some time in the next month. A new preliminary hearing has been set for June 17 in Peace River provincial court.
The 13 people were charged in November with mischief, possession of an explosive, arson and being disguised with intent. The charges followed an incident when Buchanan Lumber of High Prairie had parts of its logging camp burned.
Attachment #3: re-printed without permission from The Edmonton Journal, Tuesday, April 30, 1991
INQUIRY INTO POLICE ACTIONS DELAYS TRIAL OF LUBICONS
Journal Staff Writer
A Peace River judge postponed Monday the trials of 13 natives charged in connection with fires at a logging camp on land claimed by the Lubicon band.
A series of preliminary inquiries -- the first originally scheduled for Monday -- will now be delayed until an Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench determines if the RCMP interfered with the rights of witnesses, a spokesman for the Attorney General's department said.
That appeal will be heard sometime in June, Susan O'Sullivan said.
Police laid charges against the 13 after approximately $20,000 worth of logging equipment was burned in November, approximately 120 km northeast of Peace River.
Edmonton lawyer Bob Sachs, acting for the Lubicon band, claimed police intimidated witnesses during their investigations and questioned them without presence of legal counsel.
"Defence counsel asked for the postponement and appealed on the grounds of breach of the Charter of Rights regarding self- incrimination," O'Sullivan said.
Sachs also claimed in January the Crown has no jurisdiction on land which was never ceded to it in a treaty, said Lubicon adviser Terri Kelly. That argument won't be dealt with during the June appeal, however.
"Now it's only a question of whether the investigation proceeded properly. It's just straight law at this point," Kelly said.
All 13 accused appeared in Provincial Court Monday. All had remained mute during a January court appearance to show they challenged the province's right to lay charges.
By remaining mute, the Lubicon were considered to have chosen trial by judge and jury.
If Court of Queen's Bench rejects Sachs' appeal, the 13 are scheduled to appear in a Peace River Provincial Court June 17 to have trial dates set, O'Sullivan said.