After the first M-103 hearing on Monday, I wrote that we were perhaps facing a less adversarial process than expected. Liberal MP Iqra Khalid was conciliatory as the initial witness, emphasizing that her motion to tackle discrimination was equally about all religions and races. She hardly mentioned the ill-defined phrase Islamophobia.
How quickly things change. Wednesday’s hearing confirmed some of Canadians’ worst suspicions about the process and its effects on free speech.
Witness Michel Juneau-Katsuya was an officer in both the RCMP and CSIS. He’s been in private security for a number of years and a regular media voice offering commentary on national security and terror.
From what I know of him, he’s never said anything particularly controversial. Yet on Wednesday, he offered a number of eerie observations about using the state to deal with voices that “go too far.”
Juneau-Katsuya used his time to speak – in French, so all of my quotes are the interpreter’s words – about the threat of the “alt-right” in Quebec, never specifying how he was using this term.
This in itself is no big deal and Quebec certainly seems to have a problem with radicalism. But then he went on to chastise what they call “trash radio” in Quebec, recommending they should perhaps have their licences pulled for engaging in Islamophobia.
What exactly are they saying on Francophone radio? Are they calling for violence? Issuing death threats?