Now the Quebec government is calling for the Forest Council to back down

Slowly but surely, multinational environmental enforcer Greenpeace is being dragged kicking and screaming to court to answer for its job-destroying misinformation campaigns in the name of “protecting” Canadian forests, which are among the best regulated in the world.

The company doing the dragging is Montreal-based Resolute Forest Products, which has distinguished itself for being prepared to stand up to Greenpeace’s brand of shakedown.

The case is immediately rooted in the rancid 2010 Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, under which a cabal of radical environmental non-governmental organizations, ENGOs, — including Greenpeace, ForestEthics and the David Suzuki Foundation — agreed to stop their campaigns of customer harassment in return for the members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, FPAC, agreeing to sanitize a swathe of the Canadian Boreal forest, and to “consult” on development plans. Astonishingly, governments played no part.

An unpublished internal audit of the CBFA revealed very little cooperation, and towards the end of the agreement’s three years, Greenpeace broke away and started accusing CBFA “partner” Resolute of illegal logging.

When Resolute established that Greenpeace’s accusations were a crock, and threatened action, Greenpeace offered an almost unprecedented apology. Then it went back to peddling the same old lies. Resolute launched a $7 million suit for “defamation, malicious falsehood and intentional interference with economic relations.”

Greenpeace has been writhing for two years to avoid its day in court, but its appeals have been turned down time and again. Not only has the possible penalty got its attention, but the ENGO is likely concerned that the discovery process – when defendants are cross-examined by the plaintiff’s lawyers — will expose the web of global coercive activity that is ENGOs’ modus operandi.

Evidence of this global network has become obvious as the attack on Resolute has been joined by the grandmother of ENGOs, the WWF, and the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.

The FSC’s certification programmes are at the heart of the ENGO agenda of global control of the forestry industry. Sold as a kind of good planet-keeping seal of approval, they are more like a protection racket: sign on, or your customers will receive a visit.

It was hardly coincidental that Resolute had two of its FSC certifications withdrawn in the wake of its Greenpeace suit. Greenpeace was one of the founders of the FSC. Also, the FSC has recently threatened to introduce ever-more draconian control of development via sanitization of “intact forest landscapes” to prevent them from “degradation,” that is, job-creating development. It is also promoting a development veto for native groups.

The good news is that thuggery in the name of “social licence” is beginning to meet resistance not just from Resolute and the communities and native groups whose jobs and welfare are under threat, but from governments.

A month ago, Laurent Lessard, Quebec Minister of Forest, Wildlife and Parks, told the FSC in Bonn that they were going too far. He noted that native groups already had a special status in Quebec’s forest management system. He also stressed his concern about the capacity of forest companies to maintain FSC certification because of “more and more rigid requirements…. This,” he said, “is where I must intervene.” He stressed in particular that the Greenpeace-promoted concept of “intact forest landscape protection” – which would sanitize 85 per cent of undeveloped forest — threatened “absolutely devastating” economic implications.

Lessard concluded that “FSC should not be a substitute to State’s legislation.” Welcome words, but it is surely arresting that a provincial minister should sound like he is pleading a case before a self-appointed group whose certification activities have grown through intimidation.

Shortly before Christmas, WWF (another founder member of the FSC) upped the pressure on Resolute with a press release headlined “WWF urges Resolute Forest Products to engage positively with FSC on forest management.”

Taking a typically moralistic tone, the release declared that “A greater commitment to FSC in Canada is critical to conserving the country’s natural wealth.” It then cited a report from ENGO Global Forest Watch that suggested that Canada “leads the world in forest degradation.” In fact, that report was typically misleading because the “degradation” to which it refers has little or nothing to do with deforestation and much more to do with natural factors such as forest fires.

FSC is in many ways inseparable from WWF and Greenpeace. Indeed, the executive director of FSC International, Kim Carstensen, who recently wrote a letter criticizing Resolute, used to be head of WWF-Denmark. Its previous executive director, Andre de Freitas, now heads ENGO the Rainforest Alliance, which just happens to be the auditor Resolute uses for its FSC certifications. ENGOs claim to be independent organizations but are basically one hydra-headed group with revolving doors between their executive suites.

Resolute’s response to the WWF release was forthright: “Although WWF and FSC continue to insist on good-faith collaboration, they have again launched a seemingly coordinated, public attack on Resolute without warning or consultation.”

FSC wants Resolute now to participate in “mediation” over its conflict with Greenpeace, overseen by the FSC! Resolute has pointed out that governments are the appropriate mediators on such issues, with participation by other stakeholders.

One aspect of the upcoming court case that Greenpeace is desperate to avoid is that its activities in Canada should be put within the context of its parent organization’s slim regard for legality. Resolute’s day in court thus promises to expose a global job-destroying anti-development agenda. The fascinating question is how that agenda – of which Canada has been the prime target — got so far before it met any real resistance.