In  last month’s Interim, we reported on concerns about the Multi-Lateral Agreement on Investment, which many in the pro-life community fear is a step towards the emergence of one-world government and a reduction in national sovereignty. Part two of this series expands on those concerns.

An assortment of groups around the world is taking up the fight against the Multi-Lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI).

Last December, 40 Canadian organizations met in Ottawa to co-ordinate their opposition to the deal, including the Council of Canadians. In public statements, the Council called the implications of the pact for the average Canadian “chilling” despite the fact that “nobody is talking about it.

“The agreement will give trans-national corporations their own charter of rights and freedoms,” it says. “Large parts of our health care sector could fall under the control of multi-national corporations whose only concern is with the bottom line.”

Council of Canadians executive member Murray Dobbin says small- and medium-sized businesses will be hardest hit if the deal goes through because they will be hopelessly competing against huge, trans-national corporations.

“The global economy, by its very definition, savages domestic economies because all are reduced to little more than collectivities of mass consumers,” he said.

Community assault

The agenda of trans-national corporations, he added, is at its core a “deliberate assault on the notion of community and on the authority of democratic institutions. If we do not stop them, their domination of the world will usher in a new and possibly very long period of authoritarian rule with some very nasty similarities to fascism.”

The loosely knit People’s Global Action group is also co-ordinating a campaign against the pact.

The PGA, which supports decentralization and autonomy in global affairs, describes itself as an organization that also rejects the work of the World Trade Organization and trade-liberalization agreements.

In recent reports, the PGA added some more fuel to the fire of global and economic conspiracy theories. It said that between Jan. 29 and Feb. 3, representatives of 1,000 leading multi-national corporations met in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

The event, which in the past has claimed to have played a leading role in the ongoing economic globalization process, was intended to shape the “global agenda.” One thousand top business leaders, 250 political leaders, 250 academic experts from every domain and about 250 media leaders gathered for the deliberations.

But there is more to come. From May 18-20, heads of state and ministers from countries throughout the world will meet in Geneva, Switzerland for the second ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization.

With the theme, “Celebrate the past while preparing the way for the future,” they will mark the 50th anniversary of multi-lateral trade agreements as manifested through the WTO and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

These continuing, suspicion-arousing trends towards the breakdown of international barriers follow in the wake of North American free trade agreements which themselves were surrounded by stiff acrimony. Federal government watchdog Glen Kealey, who gained notoriety for harassing then-prime minister Brian Mulroney with corruption allegations, has said that free trade is “the biggest scam ever to be pulled on the entire world.”

Parliament bypassed

“Most people in Canada live with the illusion that laws are written by Parliament, but most regulations are changed by politicians in power,” he said in a 1994 book by University of Toronto professor Robert O’Driscoll.

“For every law that passes through Parliament, there are 3,000 laws that are changed unilaterally behind the scenes.”

Kealey claimed that Canadian negotiators Simon Reisman and Gordon Ritchie “gave away Canada” in the Canada-U.S. free trade deal and that the text of the pact – some 200-plus pages – has never been seen by the Canadian public. An attempt by his executive secretary to obtain the text yielded the official response that 95 per cent of the agreement has been declared security-sensitive and is not available to the public.

Kealey added that the plan behind NAFTA is to have the U.S. act as the profiteer while Canada serves as “a warehouse for raw materials” and Mexico as “the boiler room where all the dirty work is done.” It’s all a first-step toward a single, global economy.

“The raison d’etre of free trade agreements being concluded throughout the world is to consolidate international control over a country by making sure that all of the parts needed for manufacturing of everything are not made in one country,” he said, pointing to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the UN Security Council and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade as controlling the situation.

“The (Canada-U.S.) free-trade deal was not a negotiation. It was trans-national bankers saying to the governments involved: ‘This is what you are going to do and here is an implementation schedule’ … What is being created is a United Nations in which rich countries send money to build an International Monetary Fund, causing the country from which the money was sent to borrow more and more money, thus causing more and more debt.

“Money is then sent to poor countries, creating more debt there. So everybody is indebted to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund … Over time, the resources of each country are gathered under UN control.”

Outside control

Similar fears are being expressed by elements in the U.S. As long ago as 1990, author Texe Marrs was claiming that “foreigners own America.”

He quoted the Wall Street Journal in noting that foreigners “now hold the power to help keep the U.S. economy growing or help plunge it into recession … (foreign investors) have an ever-increasing say in the economy’s future.”

Marrs was an assistant professor at the University of Texas, a teacher at two other universities and a career U.S. air force officer.

He said foreigners in 1990 already owned 46 per cent of prime real estate in Los Angeles, 39 per cent in Houston and 33 per cent in Washington, D.C. As far back as 1986, almost two-thirds of net investment in U.S. plants, equipment and housing were supplied by foreign interests.

Greater awareness

It appears that more and more Canadians are becoming aware of the dangers posed by freer trade and globalization.

Columnist Rosemary Speirs, writing in the Feb. 5 Toronto Star, said top advisers to Prime
Minister Jean Chretien are interpreting inside polls and warning him that Canadians are becoming leery of trends toward globalization.

“We really have to assess the MAI very carefully in terms of public opinion now,” said an unnamed, key Liberal adviser.

And Trade Minister Sergio Marchi said the April deadline would “clearly” not be met – news that was welcomed by provincial ministers who were concerned about the deal.

Earlier this year, provincial trade ministers warned the federal government against signing any deal without the provinces’ approval.

The issue may be decided at the federal Liberal party’s annual meeting, where several resolutions concerning the MAI are expected to be presented.