David Suzuki has lent his voice to support the Lubicon Lake Crees. “The

boreal forest in Alberta has been essentially given away to companies like Mitsubishi and Daishowa for $1.40 per ton of pulp which on the market will bring $900,” said Suzuki.

“We have this ludicrous situation of a multinational company from Japan—which is not only given our forests but given massive subsidies to exploit those forests—now using Canadian courts to SLAPP Canadian citizens and prevent them from speaking out.”

The SLAPP is another American trend making its way north of the border. The Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is used by companies to shut down anyone who is hassling them about environmental destruction, shifty corporate practices, etc.

Next month, a decision is awaited on a SLAPP lawsuit fired by Daishowa, a Japanese-based logging multinational, against the Friends of the Lubicon. The company sued for alleged losses because of the Friends of the Lubicon organized a highly successful boycott of Daishowa’s forest products. The multinational is seeking punitive damages and a permanent injunction barring any boycott of its products in Ontario. Diashowa already obtained a temporary injunction to that effect on January 23, 1996.

In support of the Lubicon, the group Amitié Lubicons-Quebec organized a demonstration at Daishowa’spaper mill in Quebec City.

The boycott movement had picked up steam all around the world, with dozens of companies and organizations signing on. To crush the boycott, Daishowa hired a Vancouver law firm that used to work for the Lubicon and had complete access to all Lubicon files, including confidential documents. When the lawsuit began in court last September, the Lubicon presented a motion to have Daishowa lawyers removed from the case for reasons of conflict-of-interest. Justice James MacPherson refused to do so.

In 1989, Alberta granted Daishowa logging rights to 29,000 square kilometres of forest that includes the Lubicon territory, which has never been ceded in a treaty. Logging and oil interests have

decimated the Lubicon way of life.

Lubicon Chief Bernard Ominayak is worried about the future.

“After these many, many years of struggle, we are still a proud people. It’s nice to see otherswho are prepared to stand up for what they believe in. More importantly, they’re prepared to standup for our community. That means a whole lot for our community,” he said.

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