The MAI will put the $QUEEZE on Canada
It's called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, or MAI.
The MAI is being quietly negotiated through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a
club of 29 rich countries -- with no debate or input from citizens of these countries. The MAI is a bill of rights for investors only, a coup d'état against democracy everywhere. The World Trade Organization
boasts, "we are writing the constitution of a single global economy."1 All countries would be coerced into joining the MAI.p10
What would the MAI do?
- transfer final legal authority from our governments to transnational corporations.2 Governments would answer to them first,
not to we the voting citizens. All our laws, from our federal Charter of Rights down to our local bylaws, would be subject to
their approval through the MAI.
- have its own "supreme court." If an investor from any other country that signs on, decides that one of our laws breaches the
MAI -- including laws that hold them accountable to employees or our community -- it could sue our governments through
the MAI tribunal to have that law removed.p62 There would be no appeal.p66 Governments could not sue foreign investors.3
Proposed MAI provisions on the environment and labour have no effective means of enforcement.
- compel our governments to "rollback" or remove laws that violate the MAIp153 and achieve "standstill"p151 i.e. not pass any
more laws that, for instance, hinder privatization or access to government contracts by foreign investorsp32 or give any
advantage to domestic firms.p14
- render existing laws useless that apply to Canadian firms by exempting transnational corporationsp50,61 and banning any
restrictions on the movement of capital or management personnel.p52,17 Jobs, plants and profits could move anywhere,
anytime with no financial penalty.
How does big business justify the MAI?
The MAI claims to seek the "improvement of living standards."p9 This might be so if, for instance, foreign investors abided by "performance requirements" that
encourage job creation or local investment. But the MAI bans such requirements.p18 Instead, it requires
that we give investors virtually unconditional access to our markets.p14
Does our government want this treaty?
Yes, but MPs are not being fully informed. The government is not consulting Parliament.4 Instead it claims "there is no agreement,"
that it's only preliminary discussions. In fact, the MAI was almost ratified in May. Now it is delayed one year to deal with dissenting
OECD countries. These may be excluded to ensure a "high standard" treaty, then later pressured to sign on. Signatories are locked in
for 20 years.p94
You can help! Ask questions, break the secrecy.
- Educate yourself and all your friends. Contact us for information about the MAI.
- Write your elected officials, including your MP, MPP and city councillor. Do they know that the MAI would reduce their jobs
to filing clerks?5 That even if you vote for them their new boss would be foreign investors -- even fly-by-night speculators?
Request a response.
- Ask businesses and organizations if they know about the MAI, and that it would assume authority over our laws. Request a
- Write op-eds and letters to the editor, especially community papers where they are much more likely to be published.
- Copy to us all your correspondence with businesses, organizations and elected officials. We will catalogue and publicize
SOURCES: 1. Preamble Collaborative (US); 2. CCPA Monitor, Apr 97; 3. The Corporate Rule Treaty, Tony Clarke, CCPA Apr 97; 4. Canadian Forum, Apr 97; 5. Guardian Weekly (UK) 15 Apr 97.
Updated Monday, August 18, 1997. "P" no.'s are from the confidential draft MAI: Consolidated Text and Summary, 13 May 97 (see our website.)
The MAI-Not! Project, OPIRG-Carleton
(Ontario Public Interest Research Group)
1125 Colonel By Drive, Room 326 Unicentre, Carleton University, Ottawa ON K1S 5B6
Tel (613) 520-2757, fax (613) 520-3989
http://www.flora.org/mai-not Usenet newsgroup flora.mai-not