Canada

Government drops Carrier Lumber appeal

The provincial government has dropped its appeal of a court judgement in the high profile Carrier Lumber case, a decision that could cost B.C. taxpayers $150 million.

The decision to concede comes just a day before the appeal was to be heard in court.

In the original judgment in 1999, the B.C. Supreme Court had found that provincial officials had deceived the Carrier Lumber company of Prince George.

Link: 1999 B.C. Supreme Court decision

Specifically, the court found Victoria had cancelled a timber-cutting licence, to appease two First Nations groups in the area, and then tried to cover it up.

Link: Industry analysis of original judgment

Graeme Bowbrick is B.C.'s Attorney General. He says the decision to concede the case was made after the recent discovery of more Forests Ministry documents.

"Some of the documents they discovered were relevant to the case, so the advice I offered, based upon advice I received in my Ministry, was that the appeal should be abandoned," he says, "and the Ministry should be working towards a mediated or negotiated settlement."

Carrier Lumber had won a government contract in the 1980's to cut five million cubic metres of timber near Prince George. The logging was disrupted twice by native blockades.

The government then promised the First Nations groups they would have veto power over future logging in the area. However, the government made no mention of its signed contract with Carrier.

It then tried to impose millions of dollars in additional costs on the company. In 1993, the government cancelled Carrier's tree-cutting licence.