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According to a number of media reports, thousands of Canadians recently received an e-mail from Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney with the subject line “LGBT Refugees in Iran.” LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.
However, none of the recipients of this e-mail had signed up for e-mails from the Conservative party and many of them were extremely perplexed at how the government seemed to know that they were gay.
But what they did do was sign a petition in 2011 online that offered support for a gay artist from Nicaragua named Alvaro Orozco. Orozco is gay and faced persecution in his native Nicaragua for being gay, but couldn’t prove that he was gay when he made a claim for refugee status in Canada. As a result, his refugee claim was denied. Almost 10,000 people signed the petition and he was eventually able to remain in Canada and obtain permanent resident status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
It would appear that Kenney’s office saved all of those e-mails and used them to pander to people who were concerned about gay refugee issues. Kenney also didn’t respond to the original emails, instead waiting until now.
In an open letter to Minister Kenney, Johannah May Black from Toronto wrote,
“None of us have ever signed up to receive e-mails from your office and we wonder how our names ended up on your propaganda spam list.”
In 2007, the Conservative party sent out greeting cards for Rosh Hashanah to many Jewish people who had no idea how the government knew they were Jewish.
The issue is quite concerning – the government is apparently keeping lists of who belongs to religious and other minorities in Canada.
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