Rob MacDonald [President, Texada Land Corp.] maintains there is no clear-cutting on Saltspring. (CBC Radio, July 10, 2000)
Photo: Mt Bruce, September 2000


Without Manulife Financial Corporation's $16,000,000 in mortgage financing, the Texada Land Corporation would not have the operating capital to be clear-cutting our forests at 15-20 times the sustainable rate.

At 15-20 times the sustainable rate, all the merchantable timber at Horne Lake could be gone in little over a year. On Salt spring more than 1,000 acres of rain-shadow forest, unique to the Southern Gulf Islands, will be destroyed by the end of the year 2000.

Robert J. MacDonald and Derek Trethewey, Texada's owners, have a history of failed development and default judgements for unpaid gambling debts and other loans.

Robert MacDonald was the defendant in a suit heard before the B.C. Supreme Court in 1997 in which Nelson Skalbania was the plaintiff. Hon. Justice Parrett described their Arbutus Garden Homes project as "a $43,750,000 real estate transaction whose structure and documentation was more in keeping with the disposition of a neighbourhood kiosk than that of a major commercial enterprise."

Las Vegas casino operator Caesar's Palace won a $71,000 default judgment against Derek Trethewey in Nov. 1998. Last June, Mr Trethewey swore under oath he had significant debts well in excess of any assets. And in a court judgment this March, Mr Trethewey was ordered to pay a California couple nearly $135,000 for loans made in 1994. Mr MacDonald responded by offering the couple $80,000 on Mr Trethewey's behalf, "in light of the fact that Derek has no money at present nor is he likely to have for several years."

Would you lend these men $16,000,000? Why did Manulife: a company that claims that all its dealings "are characterized by the highest levels of honesty and fairness," and that claims to "develop trust by maintaining the highest ethical practices."?


Manulife prides itself on its "vision and values." It claims that "being a good corporate citizen is an integral part of Manulife Financial's overall vision." Manulife has pledged to "apply to our citizenship activities the "same high standards of leadership and innovation that we apply to our business practices."

Over a thousand islanders have sent postcards, faxes, and e-mails to Manulife executives, pleading with them to slow down Texada's logging and get them to listen to our community. We have raised the issue at Manulife's first annual shareholders' meeting. We have performed street theatre on the theme of "Manulife or Manudeath?" at the Manulife Literary Festival in Victoria and at the opening of the International Insurance Seminar in Vancouver.

Manulife has responded repeatedly with form letters denying any responsibility for what Texada does with the money Manulife lent them. Manulife's top executives need to hear from you.


1) Please contact Domenic D'Alessandro, the CEO of Manulife Financial Corporation. Ask him if clear cut logging at 15-20 times the sustainable rate is part of the "reasonable" business plan he agreed to with Texada. Urge him to use Manulife's financial leverage to insist that Texada impose an immediate moratorium on its logging so that the community can negotiate fair and equitable land purchases.

Dominic D'Alessandro
CEO, Manulife Financial
200 Bloor St. East
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 1E5
Phone: 416-926-6623
Fax: 416-926-3520
e-mail: dominic_d'

2) Are you a member of the Canadian Automobile Association? Manulife is the underwriter for their current offer of specially designed term life insurance. Contact your provincial branch and tell them you don't want your automobile association selling Manulife insurance as long as Manulife continues to finance clear-cut logging.

3) Do you own shares in Manulife, either directly or through a mutual fund? We've identified the following Canadian mutual funds as holding Manulife shares:

Ethical Funds
Talvest Fund
Investors Group (including: Investors Canadian Equity;
Investors Retirement Mutual;
Investors Summa;
Investors Retirement;
Investors Mutual of Canada;
Investors Canadian Balanced)

AIG Global Investment's American International Fund
Phillips Hager & North
AGF Funds, AGF Canadian Stock
CI Mutual Funds, BPI Income and Growth
Spectrum United's Asset Allocation
CIBC Securities (including: Core Canadian Equities;
Financial Companies;
Balanced Fund;
Dividend Fund;
Canadian Imperial Equity;
Global Equity)

There are, no doubt, many others. Check your own mutual funds to be sure. And then please contact your fund manager and Mr D'Alessandro. Tell them you are seriously questioning owning shares in a company that continues to finance clear-cut logging. Ask your fund manager to raise these concerns with Manulife directly.

Environmental Protection?

Delete those clauses

Why did Manulife delete the "Environmental Protection" clauses from its mortgage with Texada Corp?

Quotes From the Globe and Mail article. May 5, 2000

Manulife chief calls for end to whining

Time for business to stop blaming government for woes, D'Alessandro says

Financial Services Reporter
Friday, May 5, 2000

...... Mr. D'Alessandro chose Manulife's annual shareholders' meeting yesterday to add his voice to a growing chorus expressing concerns about Canada's economy, despite signs of robust growth. He rattled off a list of woes including the weak Canadian dollar, high taxes and a lower standard of living relative to our U.S. neighbours....

.... Mr. D'Alessandro's philosophical mood was interrupted at yesterday's meeting by an environmental group that showed up to protest against a small loan that has become a big headache for Manulife.

Manulife lent $16-million to a logging company called Texada Land Corp. to help it finance its $50-million acquisition of a parcel of land on British Columbia's Salt Spring Island and Horne Lake. Texada has raised the ire of environmental groups and local residents because it is clear-cutting several thousand acres in the two areas.

"They're clear-cutting our precious forests seven days a week," Ken See (sic), a representative of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, said during a lengthy address at the meeting.

The environmental group put much of the blame at Manulife's door for lending Texada the money. "It is not chainsaws decimating our beautiful island. It is Manulife," Mr. See said.

Mr. D'Alessandro responded that Texada presented a "reasonable" business plan to harvest timber lands and develop the areas for housing.

But since becoming aware of local residents' concerns about the company's logging practices, Mr. D'Alessandro said he has met with Texada officials and has had Manulife's lawyers examine the loan agreement to see if it could "force or coerce" Texada to "behave" in a different manner.

"We regret, frankly, that it's created this controversy," Mr. D'Alessandro said. But Manulife is powerless to do anything because Texada is honouring all of its obligations under the loan agreement.

The loan to Texada represents only a tiny portion of the loan book at Manulife, Canada's biggest life insurer with a market capitalization of more than $11-billion.