Friday, February 29, 2008


The Lubicon Nation is a small aboriginal society living in north-central Alberta, Canada. They have seen their traditional lands overrun by massive oil and gas exploitation which has destroyed their traditional lands and way of life. The Lubicon people are struggling for their future. In fact a report way back in 1983 accused the federal and provincial government of committing genocide for allowing and contributing to the physical and cultural destruction of the Lubicon People.

It is still going on today.

The Lubicon Nation though will not die without a fight. The Lubicon may be few but they are courageous.

The odds they are battling though are are their enemies.

In the last 28 years an estimated $13 billion in oil and gas revenues from over 1700 wells have been taken without the consent of the Lubicon, who themselves have yet to receive one single cent.

And the big corporations aren't done.

The Friends of the Lubicon - Alberta (FOLA) says that TransCanada is moving ahead with plans for a jumbo 42" gas pipeline cut right through unceded Lubicon land and despite Lubicon objections. TransCanada has the support of Shell, Suncor, Imperial Oil, Exxon Mobile, Cargill and Nexen. The pipeline will transport natural gas to the tar sands, allowing for expanded tar sands processing capacity.

In a letter to TransCanada, Lubicon legal counsel F. M. Lennarson wrote that the "response of the Lubicon people is that they are the aboriginal owners of the land that TransCanada wishes to violate with this huge new pipeline."

FOLA has even worse news for us. They say in a disturbing and related development, Bruce Power -- a 3,800 employee operator of six nuclear reactors in Ontario -- has bought out a controversial 6 billion dollar proposal to build a nuclear power generating plant west of Lubicon Territory -- not far from the "energy corridor" through Lubicon Territory that TransCanada is proposing to use for their new jumbo gas pipeline. Predictably in a colonial set-up, Bruce Power is majority-owned by TransCanada and Saskatoon-based Cameco Corp. Cameco is the largest "investor-owned" uranium mining firm in the world and produces 20% of the the world's supply of uranium.

Fort Chip resident Peter Cyprien resident of Fort Chip and Co-Chair of a coalition of First Nations, environmental organizations, scientists, health care employees, organized labour, faith communities and social justice groups called Keepers of the Althabasca River -- points out that his people are already paying the price of mindless resource exploitation. He says water from the river can no longer be drunk; fish caught in the river often have tumors and the moose are sick and can't be eaten.

John Schertow recently wrote in the ACTivist Magazine:

Things are looking grim for the Lubicon. Like so many other indigenous People in Canada, they have no recourse. I’m not even sure they could seek legal action, because 28 years of illegal and unbridled resource exploitation has systematically impoverished the Lubicon People. It’s as if they’re just supposed to stop existing."

Please take that literally, because at the rate things are going, that is precisely what the Lubicon are faced with: social, cultural, even physical death."

...This completely preventable, ongoing human rights catastrophe is no less than an act of developmental genocide; one that the government deliberately enables by their refusal to comply with their own law and unwillingness to respect the rights of the separate and distinct Lubicon Cree Nation. The most they’ve ever really done is offer a demeaning ‘take it or leave it‘ settlement package, something that was beyond unacceptable to the Lubicon."

The same can also be said about TransCananda, who’s only ever issued a strongly-worded statement that talks about how much ‘they respect the rights of the Lubicon’, about ‘how dedicated they are’ to their financial prosperity and physical well-being. But of course, when it came time to actually do it—well they just didn’t."

The following is taken from the blog Intercontinental Cry.

TransCanada Investors concerned over Lubicon rights abuse

In their plans to build a jumbo pipeline across unceded Lubicon territory, TransCanada’s failure to consult and address the concerns of the Lubicon Cree has begun ricocheting back at the company.

According to a Press Release by the Friends of the Lubicon dated February 26, TransCanada shareholders have learned of the failure and are now “taking the company to task for mismanaging the issue of aboriginal land rights and rightly raising the possibility of delays and/or cancellation of the project if Lubicon land rights are not properly addressed by the company.”

In a letter to letter to the Chairman of the Board of TransCanada (pdf), one investor writes:

“As shareholders, we are deeply concerned with Lubicon Statement of Intent to Participate as well as with management’s handling of this situation.

“At minimum, it constitutes an undisclosed and poorly managed risk to our investment, including potential negative impacts on TransCanada’s financing, insurance, public image or anticipated regulatory decisions. It could also lead to legal or political challenges and serious delays in company plans and projections, which could in turn threaten the company’s markets for the natural gas to be carried by the NCC pipeline, as potential buyers turn elsewhere for their energy needs. One need only look at the delays and difficulties faced by other northern pipelines to see that failure to adequately address aboriginal land rights along the pipeline route has the potential to delay or even terminate an otherwise green-lit project.

“More to the point, however, this situation constitutes an unacceptable failure by management to adequately address a serious, internationally recognized human rights issue that pertains directly to the operations of the company. This is deeply troubling to us as shareholders.”

Here the investor is referring to the fact that the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has previously issued two rulings in defense of Lubicon rights, in 1990 and 2005. Both of them explicitly called for Canada to ensure the Lubicon were consulted “before granting licenses for economic exploitation of the disputed land, and ensure that in no case such exploitation jeopardizes the rights recognized under the [International] Covenant [on Civil and Political Rights].”

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights issued a similar ruling in 2006.And there was yet another ruling in November 2007 by the Special Rapporteur for Housing, which called for Canada to “place a moratorium on all oil and extractive activities in the Lubicon region until a settlement is reached with Lubicon Lake Nation.”

Canada has failed, or perhaps more accurately “refused” to take action in respect to these rulings. TransCanada has been doing the same so far, but with the shareholders now coming forward that may have to change.

To that end, the Friends of the Lubicon ask that “if you or someone you know holds shares in TransCanada (either directly or through a mutual fund), please contact Friends of the Lubicon. We can assist you with making your concerns known to TransCanada and ensuring that your investments contribute to supporting the Lubicon Nation rather than profiting from this assault on the rights of the Lubicon people.”

Friends of the Lubicon
P.O. Box 444, Stn. D,
Etobicoke, ON
Canada, M9A 4X4
Tel: 416-763-7500

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