Court Decision Rejects Toronto Friends Of the Lubicon's Right Of Appeal


FRIENDS OF THE LUBICON

(Toronto) 485 Ridelle Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M6B 1K6

Tel: (416) 763-7500 - Fax: (416) 603-2715



For immediate release

April 29, 1996



LUBICON SUPPORTERS DENIED THEIR DAY IN COURT



Toronto -- Supporters of the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation have been denied leave to appeal a court decision they say is silencing criticism of a transnational paper company. Last January, Daishowa Inc. was granted an injunction by an Ontario Divisional Court preventing the Toronto-based Friends of the Lubicon from continuing a highly successful boycott campaign directed at Daishowa products. On Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal denied the Friends the right to challenge that decision.



"This is adding insult to injury," says Friends' spokesperson Stephen Kenda. "Granting an injunction against a peaceful consumer boycott is an affront to Canadians' freedom of expression and now we're not even allowed our day in court to challenge that decision."



The court would not give any reasons for its decision.



"When the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled in 1990 that the Lubicons couldn't achieve effective legal redress in Canada, most Canadians probably didn't think that it applied to the rest of us as well," says Kenda. "But if you think you have equality under the law, just try challenging a wealthy corporation and see what happens."



Background



The Lubicon Lake Indian Nation of northern Alberta has been fighting for a land rights settlement for almsot 60 years. In 1988 the timber right to almost their entire traditional lands were sold to Daishowa, a transnational paper giant. An international boycott of Daishowa paper products has convined almost 50 companies representing over 4,300 retail outlets to stop using Daishowa paper bags, forcing Daishowa to abandon clearcutting operations since 1991. Last year the company began a massive lawsuit against the volunteer group Friends of the Lubicon, claiming over $5 million damages and asking for a permanent injunction against the consumer boycott campaign. On January 23, 1996, the Ontario Divisional Court rendered a split 2-1 decision granting an injunction against the boycott, arguing that the boycott was intended to cause economic harm to Daishowa and that intention renders a boycott illegal.



For futher information:



Stephen Kenda, spokesperson, Friends of the Lubicon (416) 763-7500

Karen Wristen, Friends' counsel, Sierra Legal Defense Fund (604) 685-5618

Lubicon Lake Indian Nation (403) 436-5652