This file provides documentation on the position of  the four Canadian Provinces opposed to the current MAI negotiations and is an update from the January 29th, 1998 posting  on  PEI, the Yukon and B.C. This posting includes in addition - a recent press release on the position of Mr. Romanow and Saskatchewan. Compiled by Janet M. Eaton, February 3, 1998.  


Press Statement, February 2nd, 1998  
Released by Council of Canadians, Saskatoon Chapter   

Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanow Opposed to the Multilateral Agreement on Investment.  

(Saskatoon) At two major public events in Saskatoon Premier Roy Romanow declared that he would not be part of any global trade agreements that were a race to the bottom.  

Speaking to a Sutherland NDP constituency meeting and the annual meeting of the Saskatoon District Labour Council this last week-end, Premier Romanow said in reference to global trade agreements such as the MAI "... dollar and cents yes, but coupled with social dividends".  

"We say to Ottawa that what is developing on the MAI is a set of rules that will put Canada into a straight jacket, we will not accept a race to the bottom".  

Roy Romanow stated, "We will ally with the poorest of the poor, and any international trade agreements would have to recognize trade union rights, the preservation of the environment, and human rights". He said "We do not sign international agreements that lower our standards ... and we will not exploit the poor".  

Romanow stated that his support of any international treaty would be contingent upon a "leveling up" of basic rights and a decent standard of living, rather than agreements which force countries to lower standards to attract trade and investment.  

In reference to the upcoming Community Teach in against the MAI at the University of Saskatchewan, Romanow stated that he would ensure that someone from the cabinet would attend to show solidarity.   

The Saskatchewan NDP at it's last annual convention adopted a resolution of opposition to the MAI. The governments of British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon have also taken stands against the MAI. A multitude of organizations across Canada including labour, women's, environmental, senior citizens, students groups have all declared against the MAI.   

Issued by the Saskatoon Chapter, Council of Canadians, February 2nd, 1998. For more information call Don Kossick - 665-6185, or Len Usiskin - 653-4101.  



The Resolution:  
WHEREAS the Government of Canada has been involved in negotiating, through the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, an international Economic treaty called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI);  

AND WHEREAS these negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors, and that most politicians and ordinary citizens know little or nothing about the MAI or its implications;  

AND WHEREAS the most recent draft of the MAI indicates the prime objective of the agreement is to allow the movement of money across international borders by imposing a new set of rules restricting countries from using legislation, policies, and programs seen as impediments to the free flow of capital;  

AND WHEREAS the most recent draft of the MAI indicates that if adopted, transnational corporations would have the status of nation states with certain political rights;  

AND WHEREAS the most recent draft of the MAI indicates that if adopted, foreign fishing fleets could have full access to our waters;   

AND WHEREAS the most recent draft of the MAI if adopted, laws restricting the foreign ownership of land on Prince Edward Island could eventually be struck down and challenged under the MAI;  

AND WHEREAS the most recent draft of the MAI indicates that if adopted, it would have a major impact on many important areas of Island and Canadian life, including environmental protection, employment, wage levels, social programs, and culture;  

AND WHEREAS little information on the MAI has been provided by any public body, and little public discussion about the treaty has yet taken place;  

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Government of Prince Edward Island  insist that the Government of Canada impose a moratorium on  ratification of the MAI until full public hearings on the proposed treaty are held in Prince Edward Island and across the country, so that all Islanders and Canadians may have an opportunity to express  
their opinions about it.  

The resolution was passed on December 18, 1997  

Speaker: Honourable members let the member speak.  

              "Dr. Herb Dickieson (ND): Thank you Mr. Speaker. The  
              negotiations to date have been taken place quite quietly  
              and behind doors and that sort of thing and a lot of  
              Canadians haven't really been aware of what some of the  
              issues are and it's more important that the Canadian  
              Government become more up front with this. I would point  
              out as well that I appreciate the statements coming from  
              the Attorney General. Clearly the Attorney General has  
              looked at some of these issues, he has read up and he  
              understands just how important this agreement is to  
              Canadians and to Islanders in particular.  

              So I'm very pleased that members appear to be in agreement  
              with the thrust of the resolution and that's to ensure that  
              the Federal Government is accountable to Islanders and to  
              all Canadians and that accountability takes place in the  
              form of open dialogue with Islanders and other Canadians to  
              ensure that the interest of all Canadians are best served.  
              Thank you Mr. Speaker. "(APPLAUSE)  

              Speaker: Debate on Resolution No. 47 is now complete. All  
              those in favour of the resolution signify by saying aye.  

              Honourable Members: Aye.  

              Speaker: Contrary nay. Motion carried.  



Yukon (Canada) Legislative Assembly.  
Motion on the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).   
Passed November 19, 1997.  
(unofficial transcript).  

"That it is the opinion of the House that:  

(1) the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, (MAI), sponsored by the U.S.A., supported by Canada, and currently the subject of secret negotiation by the 29 industrial nations and the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), represents a major attack on the autonomy and self determination of governments at all levels; and   

(2) the democratic process which Canadians so value is seriously threatened by the MAI whose aim is to remove control of the economic process from the people's elected representatives and to consolidate it in the hands of the transnational corporations; and  

(3) that this House calls on the federal government to cease all negotiations on the MAI and to facilitate full participation of all Canadians in the major decisions affecting our economic future."   
Motion no. 82, standing in the name of Mr. Todd Hardy, New Democratic  Party Member of the Legislative Assembly from Whitehorse Centre, was debated and agreed to by the Legislature on November 19, 1997.   


NEWS RELEASE: January 23, 1998  


VICTORIA - NDP Caucus Chair Joan Smallwood warned the federal government not to expect British Columbia to accept the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).  Smallwood issued the warning at a news conference today with Maude Barlow, the National Chair of the Council of Canadians.  

"The MAI is addressing many areas that are shared or exclusive provincial jurisdiction," said Smallwood. "It is the BC Government's view that our interests would be threatened by this agreement, so the federal government should not assume that we will allow the MAI to be applied to BC."  

BC and Canada already provide very high standards of investment protection.  But the MAI will grant special rights to international investors and place restrictions on  democratically elected governments to act on behalf of citizens at the local, provincial and federal levels.   

An important concern for the province is that the agreement is unbalanced and could challenge the government's ability to protect the environment, manage and conserve natural resources, and leverage economic benefits from corporations that exploit natural resources. The MAI could also threaten the integrity of existing health and social services, cultural industries, and undermine the province's ability to create  jobs.   

"We don't need the MAI, and we want to convey to the federal government in the strongest terms that the BC Government is opposed to this agreement," said Smallwood. "The MAI moves us way beyond NAFTA and offers no adequate protection for the environment, workers or consumers."   

As closed door negotiations continue on the MAI, the province will continue its efforts to facilitate a national dialogue on this important issue facing British Columbians and Canadians. "Given the impact that the MAI will have on our country, we demand that the federal government open democratic debate on this issue in the House of Commons, and in all regions of Canada," said Smallwood.  

"It's obvious the Chretien Liberals are more concerned with catering to the demands of foreign investors instead of listening to the citizens they are supposed to represent, "said Smallwood.  "This is like Brian Mulroney and NAFTA all over again, only this time the stakes are much higher and the results will be even worse."   Contact: Chris Gainor, Director   NDP Caucus Communications  

top of page