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Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/canadian/anti-racist-action/Quesnel.010221

February 21, 2001


On February 14, 2001, the FTAA-Alert Coalition received an email to their
listserv from Joseph Quesnel, who claimed to represent a group at McGill
University called RadicalWatch.  In the email, Quesnel invited people
"interested in a free speech populist democracy angle to this issue"
to contact his group.


While Joseph Quesnel is a student at McGill University, his group has no
official standing, according to school officials.  Moreover, his impassioned
championing of "free speech" is highly suspect, given his associations with
extremist racist elements and his attempts to silence McGill Anti-Racist
Action (ARA).


In the spring of 2000, Friends of the Lubicon held a protest rally in front
of the Montreal offices of Daishowa, a logging conglomerate that has
attempted to silence supporters of the Lubicon Cree with a lawsuit.  McGill
ARA sent out a call for supporters to attend the protest rally.  Quesnel
responded to this call by sending an email to McGill ARA members in which he
condemned "special interest groups" and threatened ARA members with "rahowa."

"Rahowa" is an acronym for "racial holy war." It is also the motto used by
the World Church of the Creator, a U.S.-based racist terrorist groups whose
members have been involved in drive-by shootings, multiple murders and other
forms of racist violence in recent years.  The inclusion of the term
"rahowa" in the email was clearly designed to intimidate McGill ARA members
into silence.

McGill ARA members responded to this threat by directly confronting Quesnel
on two occassions, making it clear to him that we will not be threatened
into silence by Daishowa or by people like him.  Quesnel apologized both
times and promised to not attempt to intimidate or harrass our members further.


Quesnel's concerns for free speech seem to center mainly on the free speech
of fascists and hate-mongers and do not appear to extend to anti-racist
groups or organizations.

In October 2000, someone using the name "Joseph Quesnel" and Quesnel's
email address signed an on-line petition against proposed hate crimes
legislation.  This petition can be found on the website of the Canadian
Association for Free Expression (CAFE).

The Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) describes CAFE as
a "fringe right organization" devoted to defending "Holocaust deniers like
Ernst Zundel, Jim Keegstra and Malcolm Ross." (SOURCE: "The Heritage Front
Affair - Report to the Solicitor General of Canada", Security Intelligence
Review Committee, December 9, 1994).

SIRC also describes Paul Fromm, CAFE's director, as a man with a
decades-long history of associating and supporting racist groups in Canada,
and one of the three key leaders of the racist right in Canada during the
1980's (Ibid.).  Fromm has spoken at Heritage Front rallies, a group
currently led by CAFE's webmaster, Marc Lemire.


In the fall of 2000, Quesnel met with representatives of the McGill Arts
Undergraduate Society (AUS) to complain about their decision to grant
permission to McGill ARA to set up an information table on-campus.  During
this meeting, Quesnel produced anti-ARA propaganda from the Heritage Front
website in an attempt to depict ARA as a "violent terrorist" organization
that had no right to distribute anti-racist literature on campus.  Quesnel's
charges were brought to the attention of McGill ARA representatives, who
quickly informed both AUS and Students' Society (SSMU) representatives about
the reality of the situation.

Not satisfied, Quesnel contacted Lemire in an attempt to get "evidence" that
would enable him to force McGill University to revoke McGill ARA's status as
a student club.  To date, Quesnel's attempts to silence McGill ARA have been


We believe that the attempts of Quesnel and his cohorts to infiltrate the
anti-globalization movement are further evidence of the racist right's
desperate attempt to capitalize on the fastest-growing political movement in
the world for their own gain.  It is extremely dangerous for
anti-globalization activists to allow space in their milieu for racists and
fascists to organize and recruit from.  To do so threatens the security and
safety of activists and citizens and compromises the legitimacy of the
movement as a whole.

At the IMF/World Bank meeting in Prague last fall, European fascists
attempted to exploit the efforts of anti-globalization activists by
participating in the protests.  The Prague demonstrators responded by
driving the fascists out of the city before the demonstrations got

There is no room in the anti-globalization movement for alliances with
racists and fascists.  It is our hope that the anti-FTAA coalitions will
realize this and take appropriate action against the likes of Joseph Quesnel
and his "RadicalWatch" group.


McGill Anti-Racist Action
B-09 William Shatner Building
3480 MacTavish
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec
Tel. (514) 573-STOP
ARA Canada website:

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