February 19, 1997
Unfazed by Daishowa's heavy-handed judicial silencing of the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon, a new coalition of Lubicon Lake Indian Nation supporters has recently sprung up in Quebec. Amitie Lubicons-Quebec (Lubicon-Quebec Friendship) held a demonstration outside of Daishowa's Montreal offices on January 23 - the first anniversary of the Ontario court's injunction against the Daishowa boycott.
The demonstrators presented Daishowa with a letter demanding a commitment "neither to cut nor buy trees cut on Lubicon land until a land rights agreement has been reached between the Lubicon Lake Cree and the governments of Canada and Alberta, and until the company has reached a agreement with the Cree governing its wood harvesting practices on Lubicon land." They also demanded that Daishowa drop the legal proceedings against the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon.
Daishowa's written response was a by-now-familiar blend of misrepresentation, distortions and fabrications (for a detailed rebuttal of their claims, contact the Toronto Friends of the Lubicon at 485 Ridelle Ave., Toronto, ON M6B 1K6, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org). What's new about it is their expressions of concern for the fate of Daishowa America, who are now finding themselves subject to a boycott campaign in the United States.
After already spending lavish amounts of money muzzling the Toronto Friends, Daishowa is finally learning the difficult lesson that trying to blow out a fire usually just helps it spread.
To reach Amitie Lubicons-Quebec, write:
Kanesatake, Territoire Mohawk (Quebec)
Canada J0N 1E0
For more information on the Daishowa boycott in the United States, contact:
5317-46th Ave S.,
Seattle WA 98118.
Phone: (206) 723-4703
Fax (206) 525-5086
For general information on the Lubicon Cree and the Daishowa boycott, check out the Lubicon Supporters Web Page at:
1. "Cree supporters picket office" Globe and Mail, 24 January 1997.
Supporters of the Lubicon Cree of Northern Alberta took their fight to Quebec yesterday, as about 40 protesters occupied the offices of Daishowa Forest Products in the Montreal suburb of Saint-Laurent. The protest, organized by the Quebec Friends of the Lubicon, marked the first anniversary of a court injunction that Daishowa obtained to stop protesters from continuing a boycott of its paper products. The company wants to cut trees on 26,000 square kilometres which the Lubicon claim as their land [Actually it's 10,000 sq km of land (not 26,000) to which the Lubicon retain unextinguished aboriginal rights]. Lubicon elder Reinie Jobin delivered a letter asking Daishowa to agree not to cut or buy trees from the land until the claim is settled and to drop its legal proceedings against those who started the boycott. -- Staff
2. "Protestors support Alberta Indians" Montreal Gazette, 24 January 1997
(Photo) The Quebec Friends of the Lubicon Cree demonstrated outside the St. Laurent offices of the Daishowa pulp and paper company yesterday, protesting against an injunction in Ontario that prevents a boycott of the company. Protesters want the company to renounce its right to clear-cut logging on the Lubicons' ancestral lands in Alberta.
3. Letter from Amitie Lubicons-Quebec to Mr. Koichi Kitigawa, Daishowa Forest Products Ltd.
Montreal, January 23, 1997
Campagne Amitie Lubicons-Quebec
Kanesatake, Territoire Mohawk (Quebec)
Canada J0N 1E0
Mr. Koichi Kitigawa, CEO
Daishowa Forest Products Ltd.
161 Bay Street, Suite 2100
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2S1
On this day, January 23, 1997, we have gathered in front of Daishowa Forest Products Ltd.'s sales office at 3100 Cote-Verdu Boulevard in Ville St-Laurent, Quebec, in order to publicly express our strong concern regarding your company's activities in Cree territory in Alberta, and in Ontario.
On this day in 1996, your company obtained a temporary injunction before the Appeals Court of Ontario against a campaign organized by Canadian citizens in solidarity with the Lubicon Lake Cree of Alberta. The work carried out in Ontario by the Friends of the Lubicon on such an important issue as Native land rights is worthy not only of our support, but could very well serve as an example for citizens here in Quebec.
Canadian and Albertan authorities have promised the Lubicon Lake Cree a just and equitable land settlement since 1939. And all of a sudden, in 1988, your company was awarded cutting rights to 29,000 km2 of boreal forest in northern Alberta, including land the Lubicon have claimed for 50 years. In November 1991, answering an appeal made by the Cree, the Friends of the Lubicon asked your company to make a public commitment to not cut or use any trees cut on Lubicon land until the land issue was settled between the Crees and the governments of Canada and Alberta. Why does your company still refuse to make such a commitment?
Faced with your company's resistance to such a just demand, we are of the opinion that the Friends of the Lubcion had no other choice than to raise the issue with your customers in Ontario. In January 1995, Daishowa Inc., a subsidiary of your company, decided to sue three individuals who are members of the Friends of the Lubicon for reasons you are well aware of. Exactly a year ago, your lawyers obtained an injunction which we hope will be overturned in a higher court because of its very negative impact on the fundamental right to Freedom of Speech.
In the meantime, it is inconceivable and entirely unacceptable to us that your company cut or use any trees cut on land that has been disputed for close to 60 years. You are in no way an innocent third party in this matter. We are, in fact, of the opinion that the logging practices you have planned for Lubicon land hang "like the sword of Damocles" over the Cree community of Lubicon Lake.
For this reason, we ask that Daishowa Forest Products Ltd. make a firm and unequivocal commitment neither to cut nor buy trees cut on Lubicon land until a land rights agreement has been reached between the Lubicon Lake Cree and the governments of Canada and Alberta, and until the company has reached an agreement with the Cree governing its wood harvesting practices on Lubicon land. We also ask that the lawsuit against the Friends of the Lubicon, Ed Bianchi, Kevin Thomas and Stephen Kenda be dropped. Their peaceful and highly democratic work is of great social use and is being recognized as such by a growing number of Native and non-Native people throughout Quebec and Canada. Any prolonged stubbornness on your part with regards to both of these demands will only increase the breadth of that work here and elsewhere.
We are looking forward to your reply and wish you all the best for the new year.
for the Lubicons-Quebec Friendship campaign
cc. Lubicon Lake Cree Nation
Friends of the Lubicon
Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
4. Response from Mr. James Morrison, Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd.
January 31 1997
Territoire Mohawk, Quebec
Dear Mr. Drouin:
This is in regard to your letter addressed to Mr. Tom Hamaoka, dated January 23, 1997, expressing your concerns about the Lubicon Lake Indian Band.
Daishowa Marubeni International Ltd. (DMI) has been unique in having demonstrated its goodwill to the Lubicon people by voluntarily refraining from harvesting in the Lubicon area of concern, while several other companies have continued with their activities. In fact, many other commercial activities, such as oil and gas exploration and drilling, and logging by various sawmill operators has been underway in the area claimed by the Lubicons for many decades. In some cases, these activities have been supported by the Lubicon people and have included economic benefits for them such as direct employment.
To be clear, DMI is not logging in the Lubicon area of concern and has no plans to initiate logging in the area of concern in the near future. In addition, a future Lubicon reserve area of 246 square kilometres has always been set aside and has never been a part of DMI's forest management area. This reserve area was negotiated between the Lubicons and the Alberta government in 1988, prior to DMI's investment.
It is unfortunate for employees and their families when boycotts are initiated on the basis of false propaganda. A boycott targeted against a company that is demonstrating such sensitivity to the Lubicons is unwarranted and unfair. It is even more unfortunate when the employees of companies such as Daishowa Inc. or Daishowa America, whose operations do not incorporate Alberta wood products, are targeted as well.
DMI has waited patiently for seven years now, but we cannot make an indefinite commitment as this would jeopardize the livelihood of the many thousands of people and their families who depend on our operations, including many aboriginal people and former members of the Lubicon Band. Unfortunately, the remaining Lubicons have rejected all Canadian Government land claim settlement offers to date and it is unknown when or if a resolution can be found that will satisfy their financial requirements. However, we are encouraged by reports that negotiations are progressing between the Canadian Government and the Lubicons.
You can be assured that DMI is concerned about the welfare of the Lubicon people and we believe we have acted responsibly in helping to facilitate dialogue between the principals to the land claim dispute. We hope you will join Daishowa-Marubeni by encouraging the parties directly involved in this land claim dispute to settle their differences as expeditiously as possible.
DAISHOWA-MARUBENI INTERNATIONAL LTD.
James P. Morrison
General Manager, Edmonton Office