A group called Friends of the Lubicon began a consumer boycott of multinational forest product company Daishowa after the province of Alberta granted the company logging rights on lands traditionally used and occupied by the Lubicon Cree Nation.
Four years into the boycott, the corporation sued Friends of the Lubicon, claiming, among other things, that the boycott was an “intentional interference with economic relations” of Daishowa and should be restrained by the Courts.
We defended Friends of the Lubicon and the Court concluded that their boycott and accompanying communication was legal (Daishowa Inc. v. Friends of the Lubicon, 1998). After the ruling came down Daishowa confirmed it would not log in the disputed areas until after Lubicon land-rights were settled.
The ability to speak out against environmental harm, or other injustices, without fear of legal repercussions is a defining feature of a healthy democracy. When lawsuits against individuals, community groups and non-profit organizations are used to silence dissent and debate, democracy suffers. That is why believe that it is important to support people and organizations who are the target of these types of suits and to shine a light on their chilling effect.
This landmark victory against Daishowa fortified citizens’ right to free speech and effectively ended the logging that sparked the boycott.