Letter by Daishowa official


Lubicon Lake Indian Nation
Little Buffalo Lake, AB
403-629-3945
FAX: 403-629-3939

Mailing address:
3536 - 106 Street
Edmonton, AB T6J 1A4
403-436-5652
FAX: 403-437-0719



September 01, 1991



Enclosed for your information is a copy of a letter from Daishowa official Jim Morrison. While typically self-serving and selective in the information it provides, the letter is still the most explicit statement to-date of Daishowa's intentions to clear-cut trees in the unceded Lubicon territory this fall.



Mr. Morrison starts out by making the point that Daishowa cannot resolve the jurisdictional dispute between the Lubicon people and both levels of Canadian Government, which is of course true. It is not true, however, as officials of Daishowa regularly imply, that Daishowa is therefore some kind of innocent, uninvolved third party in this jurisdictional dispute. Daishowa has obtained so-called logging "rights" from one party in this jurisdictional dispute (the Alberta Provincial Government) and is proposing to clear-cut trees in the contested area on that basis -- to the profound detriment of the other party (the Lubicons). Under these circumstances, and especially given the obvious monetary rewards accruing to Daishowa as a result of these arrangements, Daishowa is in effect a mercenary of the Alberta Provincial Government being used by the Alberta Provincial Government to help destroy the traditional Lubicon society. As the mercenary of one of the parties in this jurisdictional dispute, Daishowa can hardly claim to be either innocent or uninvolved.



In his letter Mr. Morrison tosses around phrases like "good faith" as though using such phrases in itself sanctifies Daishowa and Daishowa's actions, which it of course does not. Negotiating a supposedly "good faith" Forest Management Agreement (FMA) with one party in a jurisdictional dispute is in fact the antithesis of operating in "good faith" -- more properly characterized as cynically taking advantage of the misfortune of the Lubicons and the avarice of the Alberta Provincial Government.



Mr. Morrison says as though it's uncontested, undisputed fact that the "FMA" which Daishowa negotiated with the Alberta Provincial Government "gives (Daishowa) the right to establish, grow and harvest timber within a defined area under prescribed conditions". The truth is quite different. As officials of Daishowa well know, and as they well knew before negotiating this so-called "FMA" with the Alberta Provincial Government, Alberta's authority to negotiate such an agreement with Daishowa is not uncontested at all but is very much in dispute.



Alberta says that it received rights to the traditional Lubicon territory from the Canadian Federal Government. The Canadian Federal Government says that it obtained rights to the traditional Lubicon territory by negotiating a cession treaty with its original aboriginal owners. However the Lubicon people are the original aboriginal owners of the traditional Lubicon territory; they've never negotiated a cession treaty of their traditional lands with anybody and they consequently assert continuing aboriginal rights over their entire 4,000 square mile unceded traditional territory.



Under such circumstances the so-called "FMA" which Daishowa negotiated with the Alberta Provincial Government may well not "give" Daishowa any more "right" to the trees in the traditional Lubicon territory than it does to the trees in the mangrove swamps of Florida. Officials of Daishowa knew all of these things going into negotiations with the Alberta Provincial Government but decided to proceed anyway because Alberta Provincial officials were prepared to sell Lubicon trees at a fraction of what they'd cost elsewhere and because Daishowa officials didn't think that the Lubicons would be able to do anything about it. (Officials of Daishowa may therefore be able to legitimately plead that they miscalculated Lubicon ability to fight back but they sure can't make any claims to decency, honour, integrity or "good faith".)



Mr. Morrison says as though it were relevant that "A specified (95 square mile) area has been excluded from the (12,000 square mile) FMA (negotiated with the Alberta Provincial Government) to accommodate a future reserve for the Lubicon Band". Again officials of Daishowa are fooling around with the facts in order to deliberately confuse and mislead the uninitiated.



A so-called "Indian Reserve" is only one element of a potential settlement of Lubicon land rights, which, taken together with other key elements of such a settlement would hopefully enable the Lubicon people to successfully make the difficult transition from a traditional hunting and trapping society occupying some 4,000 square miles of traditional Lubicon territory to a society with a mixed economy occupying a much smaller amount of "reserve" lands. That's the way the whole of North America has changed hands from aboriginal people to non-aboriginal people -- jurisdiction over huge pieces of land has basically been exchanged for much smaller pieces of land and certain rights and benefits. However, as officials of Daishowa well know, unless and/or until that comprehensive, all-inclusive settlement of Lubicon land rights is achieved, and it has not yet been achieved, the Lubicon people will continue to retain aboriginal rights to their entire 4,000 square mile traditional territory -- not just over the 95 square mile area which Daishowa and the Alberta Provincial Government have unilaterally set aside and excepted from logging activities.



Mr. Morrison says that the Peace River Division of Daishowa Canada hasn't started clear-cutting in the traditional Lubicon territory because "we are awaiting the completion of a new bridge across the river which is scheduled for completion in 1992". This makes it sound as though Daishowa won't be clear-cutting in the traditional Lubicon territory this fall -- a deliberate untruth.



Daishowa fully intends to clear-cut in the unceded traditional territory this fall, not under its own name, but, as Mr. Morrison effectively admits in his own deliberately obscure way in the last two points of his letter, working through subsidiaries and subcontractors.



In point three of his letter Mr. Morrison says that "Daishowa...has purchased and is legally obligated to purchase salvage from independent sawmillers, farmers and loggers who have their own coniferous quotas within the FMA area". What this statement means in plain English is that Daishowa subcontractors will be clear-cutting in the traditional Lubicon territory this fall and providing Daishowa with woodchips and aspen trees.



What Mr. Morrison doesn't say is that these small subcontractors have been told by the Alberta Provincial Government, undoubtedly working in close consultation with Daishowa officials, that they must clear-cut in the traditional Lubicon territory and provide Daishowa with the woodchips and aspen or they'll lose the logging licences upon which they depend to operate. In other words, Daishowa and the Alberta Provincial Government are using these small companies as catspaws in the jurisdictional struggle with the Lubicons.



In point four of his letter Mr. Morrison does a crafty little number about wholly-owned Daishowa subsidiary Brewster Construction, which he says "has been harvesting its timber quotas on the east side of the Peace River without incident or confrontation for the past 12 years".



With the Daishowa pulp mill located across the Peace River to the west side of the traditional Lubicon territory, Mr. Morrison's comment about Brewster harvesting on the east side of the Peace River implies that Brewster has been logging in the traditional Lubicon territory for "the past 12 years without incident or confrontation". In fact the Brewster mill is so far to the east of the Peace River that it's outside of the traditional Lubicon territory altogether, and, until now, Brewster has been doing most of its logging to the east of the traditional Lubicon territory.



Mr. Morrison says that "All of Brewster's timber quotas are outside the specified reserve area", implying that Brewster's proposed clear-cut logging activities will be outside of the Lubicon area of concern. In fact Brewster's main timber quota is located literally across the road from the proposed Lubicon reserve -- right smack dab in the middle of the unceded traditional Lubicon territory.



"Recognizing the sensitivity of the negotiations", Mr. Morrison says, "last year...Brewster modified its logging plans for new areas". In fact there were no negotiations last fall, sensitive or any other kind, and Brewster "modified its logging plans for new areas" last year only after being warned by the Lubicon people that any effort to clear-cut the traditional Lubicon territory would be blocked on the ground if need be. (Last year after being advised of the Lubicon position, Brewster President Lyman Brewster was asked by the media how badly he needed to clear-cut Lubicon trees. "It's not necessary enough to go in and get into trouble", he replied.)



Finally regarding Daishowa's clear-cut logging plans for the unceded Lubicon territory this fall, Mr. Morrison makes crystal clear that wholly-owned Daishowa subsidiary Brewster Construction intends to proceed. "Last year", Mr. Morrison says, "Brewster modified its logging plans for new areas". "However", he concludes ominously, "further delays are no longer possible".


August 22, 1991, letter from James P. Morrison to Lennoxville, Quebec resident V. Vanlenho





Dear Mr. Vanlenho:



This is in reply to your letter to Mr. Tom Hamaoka dated July 11, 1991, and further to our letter dated February 14, 1991, concerning the Lubicon land claim dispute.



Thank you for enclosing with your letter what appears to be part of a partisan overview of Daishowa's involvement with the Lubicon Band (unfortunately, the first 8 pages were missing). This very misleading information certainly helps explain why persons such as yourself have expressed sincere concerns about our logging activities.



The following is Daishowa Canada's position with respect to the Lubicon situation:



  1. This matter must be resolved by both levels of government and the Lubicons. While Daishowa Canada deeply regrets the dispute, we cannot resolve it.
  2. Daishowa Canada Co. Ltd. negotiated a Forest Management Agreement (FMA) with the Alberta Government in good faith. The FMA describes the obligations and responsibilities of Daishowa Canada and gives us the right to establish, grow and harvest timber within a defined area under prescribed conditions. A specified area has been excluded from the FMA area to accommodate a future reserve for the Lubicon Band. Logging activities are not, of course, permitted within this area. To date, Daishowa Canada, Peace River Pulp Division has not commenced its own FMA operations on the east side of the Peace River as we are awaiting the completion of a new bridge across the river which is scheduled to open in 1992.
  3. Daishowa Canada, Peace River Pulp Division, has purchased and is legally obligated to purchase salvage aspen from independent sawmillers, farmers and loggers who have their own coniferous quotas within the FMA area.
  4. Brewster Construction Ltd. was acquired in October of 1989 and subsequently became a subsidiary of Daishowa Canada. This sawmill has been in existence for 13 years and has been harvesting its timber quotas on the east side of the Peace River without incident or confrontation for the past 12 years. All of Brewster's timber quotas are outside the specified reserve area for the Lubicon Band. Last year, recognizing the sensitivity of the negotiations, Brewster modified its logging plans for new areas, in the hope that talks would be restarted. However, further delays are no longer possible.


Daishowa has publicly and privately urged the two levels of government and the Lubicons to work towards resolving their differences. We have also endeavoured to keep the Lubicons informed about our operations and plans, and to avoid confrontations or challenges through the media.





Yours truly,

DAISHOWA CANADA CO. LTD.



James P. Morrison

General Manager, Edmonton Office