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Support Democracy: do lunch early Thursday!

[Copied to local MAI-not contacts]

The MAI-Not! Project urges all citizens in the National Capital Region who
cherish democracy to: 

1. Come out to the Sierra Youth Coalition's demonstration against the
Multilateral Agreement on Investment, 11am Thursday, at the Centennial
Flame on Parliament Hill. For info call SYC at 241-4611.

2. Write, call, fax and email your MP! Ask, "what are the implications of
the MAI?" In particular, "who would benefit, and why should they?" "who
would bear what cost and risks, and why should they?" Or you can also help
our MP survey! We are asking all MPs whether they are informing themselves
and their constituents on the MAI. Call Terry at 236-6433.

3. Come to the "Challenging Corporate Rule" teach-in at Carleton on Friday
and Saturday. Tony Clarke and Alexa McDonough will speak out against the
MAI. "MAI? Tell us why" is one of three afternoon workshops. For info call
OPIRG-Carleton, 520-2757.

Join the global movement to stop the MAI, on the eve of the next round of
MAI meetings in Paris. Canada, the U.S. and other countries are having
second thoughts about the MAI. Let's stop it before it ever starts! Let's
expect politicians to either answer and justify their intentions on the
MAI, or withdraw their proposal: "no answering, NO MAI!"

Below are more good questions to ask your MP from GLOBAL RESPONSE, plus an
abridged press release. They cite our MAI-not website as a useful resource
on the MAI. Our site includes a FREE-FAX to all MPs, plus a sample letter
you can cut and paste on the MAI, copied to the Minister!

Citizens of other countries:  Contact your appropriate government offices or
Members of Parliament.  Friends of the Earth has developed the  following
list of questions for us to pose to our governments.  The questions are
designed to expose flaws in theMAI and the way the agreement was negotiated,
and particularly to show that governments have not sufficiently explored the
implications of the MAI.

Sample questions to governments:

1. What has the government done to inform the public of MAI negotiations and
seek public input?

2. What reservations is the government asking for to protect our national
interests? Are they limited to protection of certain existing laws or do they
extend to the right to regulate freely in the future?

3. Has the government performed assessments of the MAI's likely 
effects on the environment, workers, and the economy? If so, were 
public comments sought in this process and are the assessments 
available to the public? 4. Have regulatory agencies such as the 
environmental and labor ministries been involved in developing the 
government's negotiating position? If so, which ones?

5a.  ( for non-OECD countries): Would signing the MAI give the OECD 
countries an incentive to continue to negotiate agreements without 
allowing us a seat at the bargaining table? 

5b. (for OECD countries): Will pressing developing countries to sign 
the MAI undercut the efforts of our overseas development assistance 
and other forms of cooperation with non-OECD countries? Is it the 
government's position that it is appropriate to negotiate 
international treaties affecting all countries without allowing all 
countries to participate? 

6. Wouldn't the 20 year withdrawal period restrict our nation's
ability to meet the needs of our population? Why does the MAI have
such an extended withdrawal period when most international treaties
allow 6 months notice to withdraw?

7. Is there time before the end of negotiations {before ratification} to
address our concerns and ensure full public debate?

8. Why is it that measures to protect corporate investors are enforceable,
the environmental and labor provisions are non-binding? What is the
government's position on requiring binding environmental and labor standards
in the MAI?

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Just so you know how other groups are organizing and acting THIS WEEK to
stop negotiations on the MAI, here's a news story, posted at 7:46 p.m. PST
Friday, February 6, 1998.
>                       Groups to protest
>                       international investment
>                       treaty
>WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Environmental and consumer
>groups, worried that an international investment treaty under
>negotiation will undermine national laws and give too
>much power to investors, Friday announced a week of protests.
>``This is a dagger in the heart of democracy and
>should be resisted,'' Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends
>of the Earth, told reporters.

>.....As part of the protest, the groups plan to mail
>handcuffs to all 535 members of the House of Representatives and Senate
>and selected White House staff members to symbolize their
>concern, Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Lisa Baumgartner
>They are also planning a national call-in day Tuesday
>during which people will be encouraged to call their
>congressional representatives to protest against the treaty, which
>would have to be approved by the Senate.

>.....The actions are designed to draw attention to the
>treaty before a Feb. 16-17 meeting of the OECD at which the grouping
>of wealthy nations will decide whether the treaty can be
>concluded by an April deadline or whether negotiations should
>be allowed to continue....

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And here's another great MAI-Not website, with a large searchable
MAI-related database:  http://mai.flora.org/

GLOBAL RESPONSE is an international letter-writing network of environmental
activists..... Visit our website at: http://www.globalresponse.org

In solidarity,
Terry Cottam, MAI-Not! Project
OPIRG-Carleton and OPIRG-Ottawa 
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