Greenpeace SLAPPed with $7 million lawsuit by Canada’s largest logging company

“We will not be silenced” says defiant Greenpeace — seeks public donations to fight lawsuit

No 792 Posted by fw, June 29, 2013

“This is an attempt by a multinational, multibillion dollar corporation to quash public discussion about, and comment upon, its operations in Canada’s ‘Endangered Forests.’ Resolute’s lawsuit is a bullying tactic meant to gag its critics, but we will vigorously defend ourselves. We will not be silenced.”Richard Brooks, Greenpeace Forest campaign coordinator

Resolute’s lawsuit for $7 million aims to silence criticism, Greenpeace Canada, Feature story, June 20, 2013

Greenpeace seeks public donations “to fight this bullying tactic”

Greenpeace Canada promised today that it would not be silenced by a $7 million defamation lawsuit by the country’s largest logging company, Resolute Forest Products

Backed by a growing number of social justice, freedom of speech and environmental organizations from both sides of the border critical of Resolute’s lawsuit, Greenpeace characterized the lawsuit filed on 23 May as a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). A SLAPP seeks to intimidate and silence civil society groups by burdening them with mounting legal costs associated with a legal defense.

“This is an attempt by a multinational, multibillion dollar corporation to quash public discussion about, and comment upon, its operations in Canada’s ‘Endangered Forests,’ ” said Richard Brooks, Forest campaign coordinator with Greenpeace Canada. “Resolute’s lawsuit is a bullying tactic meant to gag its critics, but we will vigorously defend ourselves. We will not be silenced.”

DONATE We need your donations to fight this bullying tactic! With your help, we will not be silenced!

Lawsuit filed days after environmental organizations broke off discussions with the company

Facing increased scrutiny and criticism from a range of environmentalists and First Nations over their logging operations, Resolute filed the lawsuit just two days after seven environmental organizations severed discussions with the company under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. A week earlier on 15 May, the Grand Council of the Crees also filed an international appeal to one of Resolute’s Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certificates in Quebec.

Lawsuit threatens free speech, puts Canadian democracy at risk

Free speech and robust advocacy on matters of clear public interest are fundamental rights in a democratic society. Environmental organizations, Indigenous peoples and civil society must be free to contribute to public debate without fear of outrageous lawsuits and other intimidation tactics.

“At a time when many companies are embracing social responsibility and sustainability as part of doing business, it is deeply regrettable that Resolute is turning to the courts rather than dealing with the very real threats to the forest being caused by its operations,” said Brooks. “This lawsuit risks a chilling effect on public debate of Canada’s forest and other matters of clear public interest.”

Quebec’s 2009 anti-SLAPP legislation would have prevented this type of lawsuit

Greenpeace notes that in Quebec, where Resolute is headquartered and primarily operates, its 2009 anti-SLAPP legislation would have likely prevented this type of suit from being successful.

Ontario needs to follow Quebec’s anti-SLAPP lead – and soon

“The success of anti-SLAPP law in Quebec should inspire the Ontario government to quickly pass into law strong legislation to prevent multinationals like Resolute from using this attack against freedom of speech,” said André Belisle, President of L’Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique and former SLAPP victim.

“Once again we see a company using the courts to silence an organization who does valuable work to defend our forests and our right to information,” concluded Élodie Comtois from Éditions Écosociété and a SLAPP victim. “Ontario should urgently implement anti-SLAPP legislation in order to protect freedom of expression for organizations and citizens on matters of public interest.”

Is Resolute retaliating for Greenpeace’s revelations over company’s violations of forestry laws and regs?

Greenpeace recently revealed that Resolute has breached more forestry laws and regulations in Quebec than any other company over the past decade, accumulating over $1.2 million in fines. The organizations says it will to continue to inform Canadian on what is happening in the public forests of Quebec and Ontario, and promote sustainable and healthy ecosystems and communities.

Time for Resolute to suspend operations in endangered forests

What Resolute needs to do is suspend operations in “Endangered Forests” and work collaboratively with Greenpeace and others to complete conservation and protected areas plans based on independent science. We can create solutions that ensure wood goes to mills and supports healthy communities while protecting key areas of forest and wildlife habitat. We have done it elsewhere. We can do it here.

We will not be silenced.

Organizations supporting Greenpeace include: Alternatives, Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA),Centre Québécois du droit de l’environnement, Éditions Écosociété, Ligue des Droits et Libertés, Nature Québec, Réseau Québécois des Groupes Écologistes (RQGE) and Rainforest Action Network.

Read more about Resolute and “Endangered Forests”

DONATE We need your donations to fight this bullying tactic! With your help, we will not be silenced!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog, Citizen Action Monitor, may contain copyrighted material that may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I claim no ownership of such materials. Such material, published without profit, is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues. It is published in accordance with the provisions of the 2004 Supreme Court of Canada ruling and its six principle criteria for evaluating fair dealing.
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