British Columbia Library Association Opposes the MAI
The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA) today announced its opposition
to the Multilateral
Agreement on Investment (MAI). "The implications of the MAI are sweeping for all sectors of our
social, cultural, political and economic life." commented F rieda Wiebe, BCLA President, "
Government policies in all these areas, including policies affecting the creation and dissemination of
information, could be severely restricted if considered to be inconsistent with MAI rules."
In opposing the MAI, the BCLA adds its name to the over 500 national and provincial
that have publicly declared grave concerns over the agreement. The MAI, which is currently under
negotiation by OECD member countries, would erode the democ ratic process and the ability of our
governments at all levels to enact legislation and establish policies that would place the public
interest, whether it be regarding social services, health care, education, cultural institutions, or access
to information, above the interest of multilateral investors. The MAI in its present form dictates that
any such laws and policies would have to conform to the rules of the agreement, which gives private
investors and corporations the same rights and legal standing as nation states.
Several provincial governments, including the government of B.C. have also declared
opposition to the MAI.
The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA), founded in 1911 and with a
of 800, has worked diligently over the years to support and improve library services in B.C. The
BCLA works to ensure policies and legislation provide equitabl e and affordable access to
information for the citizens of the province. The Association sees the MAI as posing a serious threat
to our government's ability to protect that basic, democratic principle.
For more information contact
Frieda Wiebe, President 984-4943
Brian Campbell, BCLA Information Policy Committee 331-4070
The American Library Association's Social Responsibility Round Table (SRRT)
passed a resolution
opposing the MAI on June 27, 1998. You can read the text of the resolution.