FOL (Toronto) Article: Lubicons Target Daishowa

Article prepared by Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto) September 1991


The giant transnational faces a full-blown fight over plans to begin clearcutting this fall

March 7, 1988, is a day Daishowa Canada officials would rather we forgot. That's the day the giant paper transational made an agreement with the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation not to cut trees in unceded Lubicon territories until a land rights agreement had been reached with the federal and provincial governments. The LOubicons, concerned with the selling off of vast portions of Alberta to transnational forestry companies through provincial government leases, met with Daishowa to wrangle just such an agreement out of them. Now Daishowa has reneged on the agreement with the preparations for a massive clearcutting operation on Lubicon territory this fall.

The Lubicon Lake Nation has consistently mounted a spirited struggle for their aboriginal land rights ever since the onset of oil and gas development on their territory in the early 80s. Although promised a reserve settlement from the feds as far back as 1939, the Lubicons had lived pretty much isolated from the rest of the world up until that point, pursuing a traditional hunting and trapping lifestyle. Oil and gas development destroyed all that; it chased away the game they depended on and forced 95% of the community onto welfare. Now, despite a long and determined struggle to resolve their land rights with both levels of govenrment, the Lubicon people still have no official recognition of their aboriginal teritory and are faced with a new and potentially fatal threat: logging.

A large portion of Alberta is now under lease to transnational logging corporations. The Lubicon nation's entire traditional territory is contained in these leases. Although Daishowa originally agreed not to log Lubicon territory, they have proceeded using wholly owned subsidiaries such as Buchanan Lumber and Brewster Construction, who are just waiting for the ground to freeze to lay their hands on Lubicon forests.

Negotiations have not been fruitful. Not only is Daishowa alternately pretending they had no agreement or that the agreement is not applicable (in fact their story changes from day to day), they are refusing further meetings with the Nation.

While in Tokyo recently, Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak sought meetings with Daishowa's head offices. These attempts were rebuffed on the grounds that the logging of Lubicon lands by wholly-owned Daishowa subsidiaries was a matter between the Lubicons and government and somehow didn't involve Daishowa.

The gloves are coming off. Lubicon supporters have targetted Daishowa for an interatnional boycott. While Daishowa is in a bad financial position due to over-expansion, they are particularly vulnerable to a drop in sales. Daishowa's paper products are primarily bought by other companies foer use in their products rather than as something available direct to consumers. For instance, in Alberta, Lubicon supporters are protesting the decision of Edmonton Telephones to use Daishowa newsprint for their telephone books next year.

In Ontario, the Friends of the Lubicon are callling on the NDP government to cancel a contract from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario which sees the LCBO using Daishowa paper bags. This is particularly important in light of the recent pledges by the Ontario government to honour Native self-government. Other companies who use Daishowa bags are Pizza Pizza, Cultures, and Ho-Lee Chow fast food outlets. While more are being uncovered and a more extensive international boycott campaign is being launched, our immediate focus is to get the LCBO's contract cancelled. It's our feeling that the cancellation of any one of Daishowa's contracts will be a show of strength for Lubicon supporters and might put a scare in Daishowa. People can help accomplish this by writing to Premier Bob Rae at the address below. We would also encourage people to write to Tom Hamaoka, Vice President of Daishowa Canada, to express your outrage about the planned clearcutting of unceded Lubicon territories and the breaking of their agreement with the Lubicon Lake Nation.

The fall will be a crucial point for the Lubicon Lake Nation. If we succeed in stopping Daishowa it will be a major victory for aboriginal interests in the country and will express the power of solidarity in opposing transational corporations, something that is in the interests of all Canadians. If we fail, clearcutting will be carried out in Lubicon territory, leaving a wasteland. The Nation has sent out a request that people take action against Daishowa now, on their own behalf, rather than waiting to support any future Lubicon action. That call has to be enough to bring us together against this transnational or it may be their last words.

By Kevin Thomas

Contact the Friends of the Lubicon (Toronto) at 416-783-4694 or call the Edmonton advisory office at 403-436-5652

Write to:

Premier Bob Rae, Main Building, Room 281, Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto, ONT M7A 1A5, fax 416-325-3745 (concerning LCBO bags)

Mr. Tom Hamaoka, Vice President, Daishowa Canada Ltd., 3500 Park Place, 666 Burrard St., Vancouver, B.C. V6C 2X8, fax 604-689-2853

Please forward copies of your letters and any replies to:

Lubicon Lake Nation, 3536 - 106 Street, Edmonton, AB T6J 1A5, fax 403-437-0719.