INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS STEPPED UP TO SAVE CANADA'S BOREAL FORESTS
TAIGA RESCUE NETWORK AND INDIGENOUS REPRESENTATIVES JOIN FORCES TO STOP DESTRUCTION OF BOREAL FORESTS
10:00am, Wednesday, 24 August, 1994 -- Edmonton, Alberta
****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****
Today in Edmonton the Lubicon Cree Nation announced their membership in the Taiga Rescue Network (TRN) in order to expand international support for their struggle to halt the destructive resource extraction taking place on their traditional territories. TRN will be participating in the ongoing consumer boycott of Daishowa-Marubeni International (DMI) paper products.
The move by the Lubicon was welcomed by the TRN, an international network which campaigns around the world to expose and publicise the links between the consumption of products from the boreal region, boreal forest destruction, and the impacts on indigenous peoples.
Lubicon traditional territory, already under siege from the oil and gas industry, now faces a new threat from the proposed Unocal sour gas plant. In addition, the Lubicon continue their struggle against DMI, a Japanese-controlled company which has been given permission to clearcut an area of 40,000 km2 by the Alberta Government. TRN will step up pressure on thsettle the long-standing Lubicon land claims. TRN will also target Japanese users of paper supplied by DMI. Another key focus will be the continued campaign against AL-PAC, one of the largest kraft pulp mills in the world. AL-PAC and DMI have gained control over 100 000 km2 of boreal forest in northern Alberta.
The TRN conference also heard from other indigenous nations across the Canadian boreal forest which are involved in struggles similar to that of the Lubicon.
The Innu Nation of Labrador faces the loss of their land called Nitassinan, their forests, and their way of life due to continued military low-level flying, road construction and industrial forestry which are destroying one of the largest roadless areas on Earth. Innu participation in environmental assessments has failed to alter the courses of the CaNewfoundland governments, which continue to view Nitassinan as a storehouse of resources waiting to be exploited. The Innu are determined to maintain their way of life and to protect the land and their rights.
The Cree of Canoe Lake, Saskatchewan continue to struggle against ongoing destruction of their traditional land. This community lost half of their land in the 1950s when it was expropriated for the Primrose Air Weapons Testing Range. Now, they face the destruction of the remainder through one of the largest ongoing forestry operations in Saskatchewan. They maintained a blockade of the logging roads for almost to voice their struggle.
The Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Quebec have made considerable progress towards sustainable forestry within the framework of a Trilateral Agreement (Canada-Algonquins-Quebec) signed in August 1991 whose purpose was to develop an integrated resource management plan for forests and wildlife over 10,000 km2 of the Algonquins community land use area. Significant progress has been made because important studies and inventories have been completed. However, it is apparent that the current timeframe is insufficient to fully analyse the findings of many of the studies or develop because of delays caused by the Quebec Government. Consequently, there is a need for an extension to this Trilateral Agreement.
TRN will be increasing its efforts to ensure that these issues are meaningfully resolved within the frameworks provided and that the Canadian Government moves to bring an end to the appalling situation facing the people of these territories so that indigenous peoples end up with a decisive voice over land and resource management.
The Earth's boreal forests cannot feed the industrialised world's appetite for pulp, paper and wood products, fossil fuels, hydroelectric energy and other raw materials. Current patterns, causes and rates of forest destruction in the boreal region are unsustainable and must be reversed. In particular, Canada is rapidly losing credibarena as the above scandals demonstrate. Just as transnational corporations know no boundaries in their relentless pursuit and exploitation of natural resources, Taiga Rescue Network will also work worldwide to stop the devastation.
PRESENT AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE WERE:
Colleen McCrory, Canada's Future Forest Alliance & Taiga Rescue Network
Russell Diabo, Advisor to the Algonquins of Barriere Lake
Daniel Ashini, Innu Nation
Bernard Ominayak, Lubicon Lake Cree Nation
Joe Iron, Canoe Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan
Patrick Anderson, Forest Campaigns Coordinator, Greenpeace International
Gray Jones, Director, Western Canada Wilderness Committee in Alberta
Yoichi Kuroda, Coordinator, Japan Tropical Forest Action Network (JATAN)