April 20, 1998

          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 organizations
          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 their
          opposition to the MAI.

          The British Columbia Library Association (BCLA), founded in 1911 and with a current membership
          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.