Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
July 11, 1991
Obviously committed to undertaking a major logging operation in Lubicon territory this fall, and under growing public pressure to honour the March 8, 1988, agreement with the Lubicon people to stay out of the unceded Lubicon territory until Lubicon land rights are settled and an agreement negotiated with the Lubicon people regarding Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns, Japanese forestry giant Daishowa is now simply denying the existence of any such agreement with the Lubicons. Daishowa's lack of honour is both disappointing and will condition any future talks between Daishowa and the Lubicon people.
In an April 12, 1991, letter to the Chairman of the Toronto-based Task Force on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility, Daishowa General Manager of the Edmonton Corporate Office James P. Morrison claims that "Daishowa at no time made a commitment to the Lubicon Band that involved their (11,000 sq. km.) traditional territory (underlining added)". Rather, Mr. Morrison claims, "In March of 1988 Daishowa met with (Lubicon) Chief Ominayak and explained the provisions contained in the proposed Forest Management Agreement (between Daishowa and the Alberta Provincial Government)".
During the March 8, 1988, meeting, Mr. Morrison claims, "Daishowa told the Chief that it would not log in (what Mr. Morrison calls) the future (65.8 sq. km.) reserve area". "Further", Mr. Morrison claims, "due to the possibility that the reserve area could be expanded in the future as negotiations progressed, Daishowa (supposedly) told the Chief that it would do its best to avoid logging areas immediately adjacent to the proposed reserve area (underlining added)".
"When the Forest Management Agreement was signed in September of 1989 (between Daishowa and the Alberta Provincial Government)", Mr. Morrison continues, "a larger excluded area of 243 sq km. was provided for". (The 243 sq. km. area to which Mr. Morrison refers is of course the 95 sq. mile area agreed by Premier Getty and Chief Ominayak at Grimshaw.)
"Daishowa cannot", Mr. Morrison concludes, "indefinitely postpone the timber harvest to which it is entitled (underlining added)". "After all", Mr. Morrison says, "Daishowa's $580 million dollar investment in the Peace River (pulp) mill was premised on having that secure wood supply".
If Mr. Morrison was Geppetto's dummy instead of Daishowa's, his nose would be a mile long and still growing. Since he personally didn't attend the March 8, 1988, meeting and makes these incredible claims in response to a letter which had been addressed to Daishowa Vice President Tom Hamaoka -- who did attend the March 8th meeting and obviously referred the letter to Mr. Morrison for reply -- it can be safely assumed that Mr. Morrison is lying for and on the instruction of Vice President Hamaoka.
The March 8, 1988, agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicon people was negotiated in the context of nation-wide protests over a February 8, 1988, announcement that the Alberta Provincial Government had sold Daishowa the trees from an immense, 29,000 sq. mile area which completely blankets the unceded Lubicon territory. The trees from this huge area are intended to feed a massive, environmentally questionable bleached kraft pulp mill which Daishowa was proposing to build just outside of the traditional Lubicon territory with millions of dollars in Federal and Provincial Government subsidy money.
Daishowa responded to these nation-wide protests by threatening to cancel construction of the new pulp mill. Shortly thereafter Alberta Premier Getty contacted Chief Ominayak for the first time and offered to become personally involved in achieving a settlement of Lubicon land rights.
Provincial Government officials then reassured officials of Daishowa by telling them Premier Getty was now personally involved and that a settlement of Lubicon land rights would be achieved well before the fall of 1989 when Daishowa was scheduled to actually start logging the unceded Lubicon territory. Given these Provincial Government assurances, officials of Daishowa contacted Chief Ominayak and negotiated the March 8, 1988, agreement.
In retrospect it's likely that officials of Daishowa really believed at this point that Lubicon land rights would be settled before they planned to log unceded Lubicon territory, and that therefore all they had to do was quiet the raging storm by basically making whatever kind of agreement they had to with the Lubicons -- like in the old treaty-making days when treaty commissioners admitted that they were prepared to promise the Indians almost anything in order to avoid a confrontation before Canadian Government military forces were sufficiently strong to suppress any possible resistance.
That anybody would take seriously Daishowa's claim that the Lubicons would call off nation-wide protests merely for an "explanation" of the Forest Management Agreement whereby the Alberta Provincial Government was selling Lubicon trees to Daishowa simply defies belief.
Lubicon land rights of course weren't settled by the fall of 1989 and by then didn't seem likely to be settled in the foreseeable future. Officials of Daishowa consequently grew increasingly restive and started making a number of moves clearly intended to circumvent the March 8, 1988, Lubicon agreement.
On September 14, 1989 -- some 18 months after negotiation of the March 8th agreement and without benefit of any further discussions between Daishowa and the Lubicon people -- a 20 year Forest Management Agreement was signed between Daishowa and the Alberta Provincial Government. The Forest Management Agreement negotiated between Daishowa and the Provincial Government provides for "stumpage fees" to be paid to the Provincial Government of 28 cents per cubic metre for hardwood and 2 dollars per cubic metre for softwood. At those rates it's been calculated that a stand of 16 aspen trees 16 metres (52 ft.) tall is worth about $1.40 to the Provincial Government; converted to bleached kraft pulp by the Daishowa mill it's worth about $950; refined from pulp to paper, undoubtedly also by Daishowa, it's worth between $1,300 and $2,000.
On August 17, 1990, an Alberta Forestry Ranger named Ralph Woods hand-delivered a document to Chief Ominayak entitled "Proposed Timber Harvesting Activities 1990/91". The document showed that the Alberta Provincial Government had granted 5 huge timber leases in the unceded Lubicon territory to four different logging companies. All five of these timber licences were described in the document as "Timber Harvesting for Mill Facility". One of these huge timber licences is literally located across the road from the proposed 95 square mile Lubicon reserve.
The timber licence located across the road from the proposed Lubicon reserve had been granted to a company called Boucher Brothers. Regarding the timber licence granted to Boucher Brothers, the "Proposed Timber Harvesting Activities" document says:
"Boucher Brothers Lumber is planning on harvesting coniferous timber in S10 based on an agreement with Daishowa". Boucher will be obtaining coniferous logs to maintain its Nampa sawmill facility and Daishowa will be supplied residual coniferous chips from sawn timber (underlining added)."
Chief Ominayak tried to discuss the "Proposed Timber Harvesting Activities" document with Ranger Woods. Ranger Woods claimed that he was unable to answer such basic questions as when the proposed logging would commence and how much timber would be taken.
On August 31, 1990, ex-gossip columnist turned Daishowa PR man Wayne Crouse publicly confirmed that a Daishowa subsidiary and three other Daishowa related logging companies "will be logging the area that is claimed to be the traditional (Lubicon) hunting and trapping areas this winter". The names of the involved companies, Mr. Crouse said, are Brewster Construction, Boucher Brothers, Buchanan Lumber and Bissell Brothers.
Mr. Crouse said that "Brewster Construction, purchased earlier this year by Daishowa, made plans to log the traditional Lubicon area two years ago when a land settlement was thought to be imminent". "Now", he said, "there is no alternative (but) for Daishowa to use Brewster's logging in the area to provide the mill with needed fibre (underlining added)".
"Boucher", Mr. Crouse said, "will log in Daishowa's assigned area in Lubicon-claimed lands by an agreement with Daishowa". "It's really been a policy to hold off as long as possible from going in there because we knew there is a dispute", he said, "but in order to keep Boucher Brothers operating they have to have a wood supply, and their operation is crucial to our operation (underlining added)".
"The other two companies (Buchanan and Bissell)", Mr. Crouse said, will "supply Daishowa with aspen and coniferous wood chips (underlining added), as well as harvesting spruce and pine for their own lumber mills".
Mr. Crouse claimed that "Daishowa has maintained good relations with the Lubicons and the company is optimistic that the Band will permit the planned logging operations". "Daishowa", he said, "will advise the Lubicon of any logging activity in advance (underlining added)".
Chief Ominayak told reporters that there'd been no further discussions with Daishowa. However, the Chief said, the Lubicon people have an agreement with Daishowa which he expected Daishowa as an honourable company to keep. If Daishowa failed to keep that agreement, the Chief said, the Lubicon people would do whatever was necessary to stop unauthorized logging in unceded Lubicon lands.
On September 4, 1990, Daishowa Fibre Supply Superintendent Tom Hoffman phoned the Lubicon office and asked to arrange a meeting between Chief Ominayak and Norm Boucher of Boucher Brothers. Mr. Hoffman asked for the meeting either on September 14th or between September 17th and September 21st. Chief Ominayak was away on business but Councillor Steve Noskey took the message and promised to discuss the matter with the Chief when the Chief returned.
Also on September 4th Provincial Forestry Minister LeRoy Fjordbotten publicly down-played criticism over the Province granting these timber licences within the unceded Lubicon territory. In remarks reminiscent of those which me made when the new Daishowa mill was first announced, Mr. Fjordbotten claimed that "The Province took care to exclude (what the Province considered to be) enough land to accommodate the Band's claim prior to signing any of its forest management agreements". He admitted that "The logging zones may fall within the area the Band claims as its traditional hunting and trapping territory", but, he said, "they're outside the (government) proposed reserve". Presumably referring to the brief, uninformative visit of Forest Ranger Woods on August 17th, Mr. Fjordbotten claimed that "The Province has lived up to its commitment to consult the Lubicons concerning timber harvest plans".
In mid-September Mr. Crouse told reporters that Daishowa was "hoping to set up talks with the Lubicons, Alberta Forestry and logging contractors to discuss the future of logging Lubicon claimed land". "Even through it is a dispute between the Government and the Lubicons", he said, "we (Daishowa) are still concerned because we are impacted by that". "To get all involved parties in a meeting", he said, "is not an easy task".
Mr. Crouse again confirmed that "The companies will be logging in the area that is claimed to be the traditional (Lubicon) hunting and trapping area this winter". He said "The Lubicon land is probably seven or eight times the size of the proposed reserve". He said "We thought the land problem was solved last year, but it wasn't and that left a lot of people in the dark (underlining added)".
Mr. Crouse said "There won't be any logging until we sit down and talk about the disputed land". He said "We know it is a very sensitive issue".
On September 20, 1990, Chief Ominayak received a phone call from a man named Doug Adikat representing Brewster Construction and asking for a meeting. A meeting with Brewster Construction was agreed for September 24th at 1 P.M.
Following the call from Mr. Adikat, Chief Ominayak spoke with Daishowa Fibre Supply Superintendent Tom Hoffman. Mr. Hoffman asked for a meeting with the Chief "on behalf of Boucher Brothers". A meeting with Boucher Brothers was agreed for September 24th at 3 P.M.
On September 22, 1990, Daishowa Vice President Tom Hamaoka told reporters that "aboriginal land claims is something that we're going to have to face". Regarding the Lubicon situation, he said, "Daishowa Canada is...making its preparations based on the fact that the Lubicon land settlement with both levels of (Canadian) Government will be settled by the time we go in and log (underlining added)".
The new Daishowa pulp mill was also officially opened on September 22nd. Fourteen aircraft including a Boeing 737, a Convair and three Learjets ferried over 1,400 invited quests from Edmonton and Vancouver to Peace River for the event. Assorted dignitaries included 22 members of the controlling Saito family, senior officials from a dozen Japanese banks, one Canadian Member of Parliament, a couple of Provincial Cabinet Ministers and the Mayor of Peace River.
Dispensing with the western tradition of ribbon-cutting, Daishowa officials inaugurated the new mill by smashing open two barrels of sake. PR man Wayne Crouse explained to the media that the smashing open of barrels of sake "symbolized a new beginning and awakening" -- phraseology strangely reminiscent of "rising sun" rhetoric in the 1930's and early 1940's.
Under tight security and against a back-drop of complaints about local critics of the Daishowa pulp mill being squeezed out of the town of Peace River, about the stench being created by the new mill and about the 20 tons of suspended solids which the new mill will be dumping daily into the scenic Peace River, a parade of Canadian politicians praised the Japanese-speaking owners of Daishowa with a smattering of simple Japanese phrases and sentences. Peace River Mayor Mike Proctor outdid himself by stumbling through half of his speech in Japanese.
Mr. Crouse dismissed mill critics as "mostly outsiders, like Jim Darwinish and Friends of the North". Mr. Darwinish later replied that he'd been born and raised in Alberta, unlike the 22 members of the Saito family who'd flown into Peace River for the occasion on chartered jets and then returned to Japan, where, he pointed out, it would be illegal for them to build such a bleached kraft pulp mill.
Provincial Forestry Minister Fjordbotten praised Daishowa for "building flexibility into its woodland plan to try and accommodate Indian land claims". He told reporters that "Daishowa, Forestry (Department) officials and Chief Ominayak will meet during the coming week in an effort to reach an agreement on issues raised by the companies logging plans".
Mr. Fjordbotten then waxed uncharacteristically poetic. He said "One of the things that pleased me most was when I learned Daishowa's philosophy: A flower grows and a petal falls and fertilizes the ground so that another flower will grow". A less poetic version of the same sentiment was offered a couple of years earlier by an official of the neighbouring Proctor and Gamble pulp mill in Grande Prairie, Alberta, who said "We knock 'em all down". "Anything over four inches in diameter has commercial value". "Anything under four inches we leave on the ground to rot".
Brewster President Lyman Brewster commenced the September 24th meeting with the Lubicon people by reading a semi-literate letter which he's addressed to "Chief Omieniak (sic) & fellow members of your council". The text of that letter, complete with grammatical, punctuation and spelling errors reads as follows:
"We have requested this meeting with you and your council, basically to make you aware of our position for the winter of 1990 & 91 logging season.
"We plan to log the P5 & S15 licenced areas, of which you are all aware of their specific locations. In doing so, the entry to S15 will be done from Highway 88 directly east of the licence, it is approximately 6 miles off Highway 88. What we are planning for the P5 licence is to have early access past Haig Lake and up the Bison Lake Road (bisecting the traditional Lubicon territory), this is merely for early entry, there will be no logs hauled out this way.
"Due to the circumstances between various Government Departments, both Federal & Provincial and your particular native group, we would like to point out the following. First we want no part of the problems involved, that is strictly between your group and the Government. Secondly, we know you are aware of the fact that the Alberta Forestry Service has approved our licence and given us the go ahead to cut timber in the two specified areas mentioned. We as a subsiduary of Daishowa have no alternative but to cut timber in the designated areas in order to keep our mill in operation.
"Due to the circumstances which exist between the Government and the native people, we further want to express the fact that we want no part of that problem. But, we felt that we owed you the courtesy of making you aware of our winter operations.
"While Brewster Construction is a subsiduary of Daishowa, we have a obligation to run an efficient operation or be closed down. This would be to one's advantage, as you are aware the timber is overmature & rotting on the stump and should be harvested. Regardless of the outcome of your settlement, it would still be harvested, but under no circumstances do we feel that we are interfering with either the Government or the Native people by carrying out work. Your consideration of these facts would be appreciated because as I have pointed out, we have no alternative but to log in the specified Areas as previously mentioned for this winter."
Chief Ominayak responded to the reading of the Brewster letter by advising Messrs. Brewster and Adikat that the Lubicon people had no intention of allowing the logging of Lubicon trees until there'd been a settlement of Lubicon land rights and an agreement negotiated with the Lubicon people regarding Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns. He told them that they should be putting pressure on the Canadian Government to settle Lubicon land rights rather than pressuring the Lubicon people to allow the continued unauthorized exploitation of unceded Lubicon resources.
Mr. Brewster then proposed that stumpage fees which would ordinarily go to the Alberta Provincial Government be instead put into a trust account pending settlement of Lubicon land rights. He said that putting stumpage fees into a trust account would put pressure on the Government to settle.
Chief Ominayak suggested that Mr. Brewster put his trust account proposal in writing but reiterated that the Lubicon people had no intention of allowing logging of Lubicon trees until there'd been a settlement of Lubicon land rights and an agreement negotiated with the Lubicon people regarding Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns.
Brewster representative Doug Adikat said "We can put together a proposal and let the (Provincial) Government know what we're doing".
Mr. Brewster made clear that he wasn't about to put anything in writing to the Provincial Government. He said that he thought "it would be better if a letter came from the Band". He proposed that the Band "write the Provincial Government a letter saying that you sold our resources and suggesting that stumpage fees be put in a trust account until the land question is settled".
Obviously not getting the positive response to his proposal that he'd hoped for from Indian Chief Ominayak, Mr. Brewster turned to white Lubicon advisor Fred Lennarson. He asked if Mr. Lennarson understood his proposal.
Mr. Lennarson told Mr. Brewster that the problem with Mr. Brewster's proposal was not one of understanding but of substance.
First, Mr. Lennarson said, stumpage fees are nominal -- only a couple of bucks per cubic metre for softwood and 28 cents per cubic metre for hardwood. At those rates, Mr. Lennarson said, it had been calculated that a 60 ft. aspen tree was worth only about 18 cents and a 40 ft. spruce tree was worth only about 60 cents. Consequently, Mr. Lennarson said, the amount of money which would be deposited in the proposed trust account would be a pittance --clearly not enough to make any difference to either the Lubicons or the Province.
Second, Mr. Lennarson said, experience made clear that once Lubicon trees were cut and gone there'd be bloody little hope that the Lubicon people would ever be properly compensated for the loss. He said that there'd be no hope with regard to preserving even the remnants of a traditional way of life. He said that there'd be no hope with regard to achieving respect for Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns. And, he said, the Lubicons would have lost what little leverage they retained with regard to negotiating a settlement of Lubicon land rights.
Mr. Lennarson said that experience with oil companies in the unceded Lubicon territory made clear that the Lubicon people should never have allowed resource companies to come into the area and extract billions of dollars worth of resources, in the process destroying the traditional Lubicon economy and way of life, while the Lubicons talked, negotiated, litigated and considered supposedly sincere remedial proposals from both levels of Canadian Government. Moreover, he said, experience from across the country and throughout Canadian history made clear that there's almost no chance for aboriginal people in Canada to ever regain anything once it's lost to the dominant, non-aboriginal Canadian society.
Following Mr. Lennarson's remarks an unsettled Mr. Adikat and a clearly disgruntled Mr. Brewster left the Lubicon office and caucused with their colleagues from Daishowa and Boucher Brothers who were waiting outside the Lubicon office for their scheduled 3 P.M. meeting with Lubicon leadership. Shortly thereafter representatives of Daishowa and Boucher Brothers came into the Lubicon office and the second meeting began.
During the second meeting Daishowa was represented by Fibre Superintendent Tom Hoffman, Wood Resources Manager Wayne Thorp and Human Resources Manager Stu Dornbierer. Boucher Brothers was represented by Norm and John Boucher.
Chief Ominayak asked the Daishowa representatives about reports that aboriginal people were being told that they couldn't hunt on Daishowa logging leases.
Mr. Thorp said that Daishowa had nothing to do with telling aboriginal people that they couldn't hunt on Daishowa logging leases. He said that the Provincial Government had declared an area 400 metres on either side of a particular logging road to be "a wildlife sanctuary".
An incredulous Chief Ominayak asked "What happens to the wildlife sanctuary when the area is logged out?"
A straight-faced Mr. Thorp told the Chief that "The area is being protected from hunting, not from logging".
Norm Boucher said "We're here to show you people where we will log this winter". He said "We have a map", which he then unrolled and presented. The map indicated a large area located at the northeast corner of Lubicon Lake immediately across the boundary from the proposed Lubicon reserve -- the same area which Daishowa will likely be trying to log again this coming winter.
Chief Ominayak asked "Who speaks for Daishowa?"
Mr. Thorp said "Me and Tom (Hoffman) speak on behalf of wood management".
Chief Ominayak asked "What about our agreement with Daishowa that there'd be no logging in the Lubicon area until Lubicon land rights had been settled and a logging agreement (regarding Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns) worked out with the Lubicon people?"
Mr. Thorp said "Daishowa is respecting that agreement". He said "Daishowa is not logging in the Lubicon area (underlining added)".
Chief Ominayak pointed out to Mr. Thorp that Brewster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daishowa and the three other involved companies are Daishowa sub-contractors.
Mr. Thorp acknowledged that Brewster is owned by Daishowa and that the other three involved companies are Daishowa sub-contractors.
Norm Boucher told Chief Ominayak "A lot of people in Nampa depend on logging for a livelihood". He asked the Chief "What are these people going to do if they can't log?"
Chief Ominayak told Norm Boucher "A lot of people depend on stealing Lubicon resources". "However", the Chief said, " we have an agreement with the supposedly honourable Daishowa company which Daishowa is apparently trying to break".
Chief Ominayak said "The Lubicon people have made our position clear". He said "I don't see how it's going to be possible for us to allow any more of our resources to be taken from our lands until there's a settlement of our land rights".
Chief Ominayak said "You shouldn't see the Lubicon people as the obstacle". He said "The pressure should be put on the (Canadian) Federal Government to settle". He said "The Lubicons have made every possible effort to achieve a settlement".
Norm Boucher said "I don't know how much more we can do".
Chief Ominayak said "You can remind your (Daishowa) bosses of our agreement".
Stu Dornbierer repeated "Daishowa has no intention of breaking the agreement". "However", he said, "a distinction has to be made between Daishowa and these logging companies (underlining added)".
Chief Ominayak told Mr. Dornbierer that the artificial, legalistic distinction between Daishowa and Daishowa subsidiaries and sub-contractors was irrelevant. He said "The companies are either owned by Daishowa or are Daishowa sub-contractors". He said "The companies are operating in the Daishowa FMU (Forest Management Unit) pursuant to agreements with Daishowa". "Consequently", the Chief said, "the Lubicon people will consider any logging done by these companies on Lubicon land to be a breach of the Lubicon agreement with Daishowa".
Mr. Dornbierer asked "What about the Federal (take-it-or-leave-it) offer?"
Mr. Lennarson said that the so-called Federal offer wasn't a serious offer but only the calculated back-drop for a Federal Government anti-Lubicon propaganda campaign. As people familiar with the wording of formal agreements, he said, representatives of Daishowa should take a look at the Federal Government's so-called "take-it-or-leave-it" offer and judge for themselves whether it was anything they'd be prepared to sign.
Mr. Dornbierer said that he'd like very much to see a copy of the Federal Government's so-called "take-it-or-leave-it" offer, which Mr. Lennarson then shared with him. After reviewing the Federal Government's so-called offer Mr. Dornbierer said "I can appreciate the frustration felt by the Lubicon people". He said "I hope this matter can be settled soon and we won't face confrontation (underlining added)".
Chief Ominayak told the Daishowa representatives "We won't face confrontation if Daishowa honours our agreement".
A couple of days later, on September 27th, Brewster representative Adikat announced that wholly-owned Daishowa subsidiary Brewster Construction would be consulting with Provincial officials and seeking police protection for their planned logging operations in the unceded Lubicon territory. He said that he didn't think that there was "much chance the Lubicon people will have a change of heart and allow logging on lands they claim as traditional territory".
Mr. Adikat said "We are still going to go ahead because (the Lubicon people) don't have a settlement or a land base". He said that Brewster, as a recently purchased subsidiary of Daishowa, didn't consider itself bound by the agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicon.
Responding to reporters' questions, Mr. Crouse said "The company policy right now is we are not going to directly log in that area but that still leaves the problem of the contract people". He said "If (the contract people) have no wood, they have no business, and it becomes a problem for us down the line in the chip supply (underlining added).
Chief Ominayak responded that the Lubicon didn't intend to allow Daishowa to get away with breaching the agreement by working through subsidiary companies and sub-contractors. "At the very least", the Chief said, "an attempt is being made to break the agreement".
The Chief said that the Lubicon people would block any unauthorized efforts to log in unceded Lubicon territory. He said "We've stated very clearly that we have no intention of allowing anybody to steal any more of our resources".
Referring to Mr. Brewster's September 24th letter stating that Brewster had "no alternative but to log in specified areas", Mr. Adikat said that Brewster Construction would be forced out of business and 60 people lose their jobs if it couldn't log in the unceded Lubicon territory during the winter of 1990-91.
Chief Ominayak responded "We have a whole community that has been affected (by development activity) and forced onto welfare".
Contacted by reporters John Boucher of Boucher Brothers announced that his company would not be logging in the unceded Lubicon territory during the winter of 1990-91. He said that his company had been unaware of the 1988 agreement not to log the unceded Lubicon territory until advised of the matter by Chief Ominayak during the September 24th meeting.
On October 6th Norm Boucher of Boucher Brothers said that he'd been told by Daishowa Vice President Tom Hamaoka that planned logging operations in the unceded Lubicon territory "will be dropped in order to avoid a confrontation with the Lubicons". Mr. Boucher said that he agreed with the decision. He said "It's just not right to bulldoze people".
John Boucher said that he and Norm Boucher understood that Daishowa's decision not to log in the unceded Lubicon territory during the winter of 1990-91 would apply to Brewster and other Daishowa sub-contractors. However, John Boucher said, the decision "is good for this logging season only". He said "I guess next year (1991-92) we will have to go there (underlining added)".
Asked how badly Brewster Construction needed to log Lubicon lands, Lyman Brewster said "It's not necessary enough to go in there and get into trouble".
Mr. Crouse told reporters "We had plans to log in the disputed area, but no harvesting (will) take place without the concurrence of the Lubicon Band (underlining added)". He said "We have since met with the Lubicons and have been informed that the Band objects to any logging in the disputed territory". He said "Daishowa is now attempting to put together alternative plans".
Mr. Hamaoka was less firm about Daishowa plans. He told reporters that honouring the agreement was only one option being considered by the endlessly inventive Daishowa. "There were a lot of alternatives discussed", he said, "that was one of them". He said "I wouldn't read anything more into it than what I have said because it could go either way".
Alberta Forest Service Deputy Minister Ken Higginbotham said that a possible decision to "abort" logging plans in the unceded Lubicon territory would not be made before (October 9th)". He said "We are looking at all the alternatives here, including alternative areas". He said that part of the problem was "securing alternate logging areas to carry Boucher Brothers and Brewster through the winter".
Mr. Higginbotham admitted "This is not strictly a Forestry matter". He said "the decision (to abort logging plans in the unceded Lubicon territory) will require some political sanction". He said that a decision to abort logging plans in the unceded Lubicon territory would have to be "politically approved by Forestry Minister LeRoy Fjordbotten and Premier Don Getty".
On October 9th Provincial Forestry Minister Fjordbotten announced that "There will be no new forestry deals to compensate Daishowa Canada for delaying a timber harvest in land claimed by the Lubicon Band". Mr. Fjordbotten expressed "sympathy" for Daishowa saying that it had every right to expect settlement of Lubicon land rights by now".
Mr. Fjordbotten said "I'm pleased that they're trying their best to be helpful and as accommodating as they can, but I think it's unfortunate for the company that they have to do that". He said "Of course Daishowa wants to make sure they don't get involved in a big issue over this and so they're trying to make other arrangements until this is resolved".
On October 10, 1990, Daishowa PR man Wayne Crouse said "We are not logging in that disputed territory, nor are any sub-contractors or our subsidiary". However, he said, "Before coming to a final announcement, we want to sit down with Chief Bernard Ominayak". "The meeting will occur", he said, "as soon as Daishowa Vice President Tom Hamaoka can arrange it".
On October 17th Lubicon advisor Lennarson received a phone call from a reporter checking on reports that "Bissell (Brothers) and Buchanan (Lumber) were being forced by the Provincial Government to provide wood to Daishowa, and that Daishowa was being required by the Province to accept that wood".
The reporter told Mr. Lennarson that Bissell and Buchanan "are not considered Daishowa sub-contractors in that they'd normally be harvesting the spruce and leaving the aspen to rot on the ground". "However", the reporter said, "they'd both been given timber leases by the Province which requires them to stack the aspen for pick-up by Daishowa", and, the reporter said, "Daishowa is being required by the Province to pick-up that stacked wood".
Mr. Lennarson told the reporter that he didn't believe Daishowa was being "forced" to do anything by the Province. He pointed out that the Alberta Provincial Government didn't exactly have a reputation for being tough on large, powerful resource exploitation companies. He speculated that blaming the Province was more likely just another ploy to try and circumvent the agreement with the Lubicons.
Buchanan Lumber commenced logging operations on unceded Lubicon lands at the end of October 1990. Shortly thereafter employees of Brewster were caught bulldozing logging roads literally on Chief Ominayak's personal trapline.
On November 8, 1990, Lubicon Chief Ominayak issued a statement indicating that any unauthorized resource exploitation project operating in unceded Lubicon territory would "be subject to removal at any time without further notice".
Alberta Provincial Attorney General Ken Rostad responded to the Lubicon statement by incorrectly describing the jurisdictional dispute between the Lubicons and Canadian Government as a dispute between the Lubicons and logging companies, by threatening that the Lubicons would "be making a foolish mistake" if they didn't knuckle under to imposition of Provincial Government jurisdiction and laws over unceded Lubicon lands, and by repeating the long-since discredited claim that Chief Ominayak agreed at Grimshaw that the Lubicon people would respect Provincial Government laws.
On November 19th Lyman Brewster publicly denied Lubicon charges that his employees had tried to sneak into the unceded Lubicon territory after his earlier public assurances that Brewster Construction would not be logging in the unceded Lubicon territory this year. Rather what happened, Mr. Brewster claimed, is that "The Lubicons ran into one of our people who was in the (Lubicon) area on his own for some unknown reason".
Mr. Brewster's claims were then publicly contradicted by Daishowa General Manager of the Edmonton Corporate Office James Morrison, who advised the media that "Brewster will commence logging operations tomorrow (in the disputed area). Mr. Morrison claimed that Brewster's logging of unceded Lubicon lands didn't contravene the Lubicon agreement with Daishowa because, Mr. Morrison claimed, Daishowa's agreement with the Lubicons supposedly provided that Daishowa would stay out of the unceded Lubicon territory only until the Lubicon concluded the Grimshaw Agreement with the Alberta Government in October of 1988. (The agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicons was negotiated in March of 1988, at a time when nobody could have possibly predicted the Grimshaw Agreement. Further, all the Grimshaw Agreement really provides is that the Province won't refuse a request from the Federal Government to transfer 95 sq. miles of traditional Lubicon territory for purposes of creating a Lubicon reserve, as only one part of an overall Lubicon settlement agreement -- which in fact still doesn't exist.)
Lubicon notice regarding continued exploitation of unceded Lubicon resources was therefore being effectively ignored by Daishowa, Daishowa subsidiary Brewster Construction and Daishowa sub-contractor Buchanan Lumber -- all three of which were at this point claiming that they were being forced to proceed in the unceded Lubicon territory by the requirements of Provincial Government licences and leases. The Provincial Government's position was purely and simply that it was prepared to use force if necessary to sustain its questionable sale of Lubicon trees to a Japanese forestry company.
The evening of November 24th a lightening surprise raid was made on a logging camp operating in unceded Lubicon territory without Lubicon authorization. The logging camp was owned by Daishowa sub-contractor Buchanan Lumber. Logging equipment belonging to two Buchanan sub-contractors was destroyed. The value of the destroyed equipment has been estimated variously at between $20,000 and $50,000.
Mr. Morrison responded to the Buchanan raid by overtly denying for the first time that there'd ever been an agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicons. He claimed "There was no agreement made between Daishowa and the Lubicons in 1988". He claimed "What happened at that (March 8, 1988) meeting (between Daishowa and the Lubicons) was a discussion on the negotiations going on at that time between the Lubicons and the Province". (There were of course no negotiations "going on at that time between the Lubicons and the Province" -- only one meeting between the Chief and the Premier during which the Premier agreed to support bilateral negotiations between the Lubicons and the Federal Government.)
Contradicting his false assertion that "There was no agreement made between Daishowa and the Lubicons in 1988", Mr. Morrison then went on to falsely claim "What was decided was that there'd be no logging in new areas". He said "Daishowa has not violated that agreement (not to log in so-called new areas)". He claimed falsely that "The Lubicons told Daishowa that Daishowa could continue to log in traditional logging areas". And he claimed "That's what Buchanan and Brewster have been doing".
On November 26, 1990, Daishowa announced that it was "instructing" Brewster Construction to continue logging unceded Lubicon lands despite the Buchanan raid. This was the first public admission by Daishowa that it was in any way involved in the operations of its wholly-owned subsidiary. Always before Daishowa had tried to maintain the pretence that Brewster was somehow independent and therefore not covered by the agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicons.
Allan Wahlstrom, General Manager of Woodlands and Lumber Operations for Daishowa, said "We're certainly concerned (about destruction of the logging camp) but we did avoid what we felt were the majority of sensitive areas of the Lubicon". One of the two sites being logged involved the personal trapline of Lubicon Chief Ominayak. One can only wonder what Lubicon areas are considered particularly sensitive by Daishowa -- presumably areas which are either inaccessible or don't contain desirable timber.
Given this history, and the wording of Mr. Morrison's April 12, 1991, letter to the Task Force on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility, there can be little doubt that Daishowa now intends a major logging operation in the unceded Lubicon territory this fall -- likely right across the road from the proposed Lubicon reserve. If Daishowa cannot be decisively stopped, the result may well be a fatal blow to the collective psyche of the already badly battered and profoundly damaged Lubicon society.
Alternatively, if Daishowa can be stopped, a powerful message will be sent to both resource exploitation companies and to Canadian Government. The message sent to the resource exploitation companies would be that they can no longer simply rely on sweetheart deals with unprincipled Canadian politicians to gain cheap and nearly unrestricted access to Canadian resources. And the message sent to Canadian politicians, at least partly by concerned resource exploitation companies, would be that aboriginal land rights have to be satisfactorily settled for Canadian nation-building to proceed.
The key issue is thus not whether there is an agreement between Daishowa and the Lubicon people, although there is definitely an important issue of honour and veracity involved, but rather one of keeping resource exploitation companies the hell out of unceded aboriginal territory until aboriginal land rights have been satisfactorily settled. If this simple principle cannot somehow be enforced, aboriginal societies in Canada will continue being systematically and irretrievably destroyed while Canadian society as a whole only pays ineffectual lip service -- however politically and constitutionally highfalutin -- to the civil and human rights of Canada's aboriginal people.
It would be helpful if people would let Daishowa know as forcefully as possible that the negative reaction it received when construction of the new mill was first announced was mild indeed compared to what it can expect if it tries to cut down Lubicon trees before Lubicon land rights are settled and an agreement negotiated with the Lubicon people respecting Lubicon wildlife management and environmental concerns. In this regard thought should also be given to possible action to give substance to this message should it be ignored, as it almost certainly will be unless Daishowa is given real reason to take it seriously.
People should also be thinking about taking such action in their own name and on their own behalf, since it's not at all clear that the Lubicon people are up to once again leading the charge. Hopefully this courageous little society will be able to mount at least one last effort in its own defense, but, after ten years of nearly non-stop assault by both levels of Canadian Government and countless major resource exploitation companies -- many of which have more power than most nation states -- the Lubicon people may simply be unable to once again pick themselves for that one last effort. And, if people wait for Lubicon action to support, what we may well witness instead is Daishowa effectively administering the coup de grace to Lubicon society.
Don't dignify Mr. Morrison by dealing with him and don't let Mr. Hamaoka get away with using him as a shield. Insist on communicating directly with Mr. Hamaoka as the one responsible for Daishowa's actions in Canada. Send noted copies of your Hamaoka correspondence to Daishowa Chairman Takashi Saito in Tokyo. Send communications directly to Mr. Saito in Japan. Write Prime Minister Mulroney, Alberta Premier Don Getty, the leaders of opposition political parties, relevant Federal and Provincial Government critics and your Member of Parliament. Send the opposition members copies of what you sent to others and send copies of everything you do to the Edmonton Lubicon office. Write letters to the editors of newspapers. Call and express your views on talk shows. Convince Daishowa that there's going to be hell to pay if they try to go into the unceded Lubicon territory this fall. And convince Canadian politicians that people are not being deceived by the endless barrage of offensive, transparent propaganda and will simply accept no less than the kind of remedial action which everybody knows will be required for Canadians to once again feel proud about themselves and their country.
A copy of the Task Forces response to Mr. Morrison' April 12th letter is attached.
Mailing addresses for Mr. Saito, Mr. Hamaoka, Mr. Mulroney, Mr. Getty and the leaders of opposition political parties are as follows:
Mr. Takashi Saito
Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
Asahi Tokai Building
6-1, Ohte-machi 2-chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100, Japan
Mr. Tom Hamaoka,
Daishowa Canada Company, Ltd.
3500 Park Place, 666 Burrard Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2X8
The Hon. Brian Mulroney
Government of Canada
Ottawa/Hull, Canada K1A OA6
The Hon. J. Chretien
Leader, Official Opposition
House of Commons
Ottawa/Hull, Canada K1A OA6
The Hon. A. McLaughlin
Leader, New Democrat Party
House of Commons
Ms. Ethel Blondin, M.P.
Liberal Aboriginal Affairs Critic
Room 255, West Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, CANADA K1A OA6
Mr. Robert Skelly, M.P.
NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic
House of Commons
Ottawa, CANADA K1A OA6
Mr. Paul Martin
Liberal Environment Critic
House of Commons
Ottawa, CANADA K1A OA6
Mr. Jim Fulton
NDP Environment Critic
House of Commons
Ottawa, CANADA K1A OA6
The Hon. Don Getty
Premier, Government of Alberta
The Hon. R. Martin
Leader of the Official Opposition
The Hon. L. Decore
Alberta Liberal Party
Mr. B. Hawkesworth, MLA
NDP Native Affairs Critic
Room 303, Legislative Annex
Mr. Nick Taylor
Liberal Native Affairs Critic
Mr. John McInnis
NDP Environment Critic
Room 303, Legislative Annex
Mr. Grant Mitchell
Liberal Environment Critic
ATTACHMENT TO July 11, 1991, DAISHOWA MAIL-OUT
June 18, 1991, letter from the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility to Thomas Hamaoka, Vice President & General Manager, Daishowa Canada
Dear Mr. Hamaoka:
The Taskforce on the Churches and Responsibility is writing to you once more with regard to Daishowa's Alberta forest management operations and the aboriginal land rights of the Lubicon Lake Band. While we note the points raised by Mr. James P. Morrison in his reply to our letter to you of March 4, 1991, your company's insistence on the right to harvest timber on the traditional homeland of the Lubicon Lake Indian Band is in direct contradiction to the policies of the Canadian churches which are members of the Taskforce.
The Canadian churches have for many years urged that no new major industrial development should be initiated on unsurrendered land until native land claims are justly settled or terms governing that development are negotiated satisfactorily with the native people concerned.
In Daishowa's previous correspondence with the Taskforce, the company has made the case that it is not directly involved in the Lubicon Lake Indian Band's dispute over its aboriginal rights. Contrary to your assertion, it is our belief that by accepting timber rights offered to you by the Government of Alberta on land under clouded title and then proceeding with timber harvesting operations on that land, you become a party to the dispute and must accept the obligation to conform to principles of justice.
Because this matter is so urgent to the well being of the Lubicon, we are copying this letter to relevant political leaders and making it public. We believe that a just settlement of the outstanding land claims is in the best interests of Daishowa as well as the Lubicon Lake Band. Responsibility for the consequences of this action rest not on the Lubicon Lake Band but with the company and the federal and provincial governments.
We urge you to put the common good ahead of short term profit and not to confuse what is legal with what is moral. In your January 8th letter you indicated that you would "continue to encourage the two sides to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement." Could we have your assurance that you will continue to press for such a settlement and in the meantime you will not pre-empt negotiations through logging activities within the traditional Lubicon territory which would jeopardize the very survival of the band?