The following offers our assessment of the potential impacts of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (the MAI) on policies, laws and programs relating to the forest and fisheries sectors of British Columbia. Our primary focus is the environment and related employment and economic development goals. Our assessment intends to illustrate the breadth and range of impacts that the MAI is likely to have on forest and fisheries-related policy, law and programs in this province. It should not be taken as either comprehensive or exhaustive.
We have not within the scope of this review undertaken a constitutional analysis of the MAI, nor have we assessed the authority of the federal government to negotiate this Treaty. Neither have we addressed the prospective impacts of the MAI on provincial land claims or other First Nations issues, except when these are explicitly addressed by forest and fisheries laws. Nevertheless it is clear that serious constitutional questions arise in this context. These remain to be addressed.
Our method in carrying out this assessment assumes, at first instance, the full application of MAI provisions to policy, law and programs as these concern the forest and fisheries sectors. We then consider how various safeguards, exceptions and reservations may ameliorate the potential impacts and conflicts we identify.