After a mass email, which praised the Harper governments record on gay refugees from Iran, was sent to members of the gay and lesbian community from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office, many in the community worried that their privacy has been compromised, the CBC reports. The most worrying issue among respondents is how Kenney’s office came to know their sexual orientation.
Many Canadians expressed anger and fear over Kenney’s email yesterday on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Randall Garrison, the NDP critic for LGBT issues, said that the targeted emails brought up a “serious privacy question.” Many who commented yesterday said that sexual orientation is a sensitive issue and should not be the subject of political targeting.
A spokeswoman for Kenney said the email was a “response to individuals who have communicated with our office about gay refugee issues,” but many who received the email say they have never communicated with the Minister’s office. The National Post reported that the email addresses were mined from an online petition protesting the deportation of a gay artist from Nicaragua, who was then facing deportation because he could not “prove” he was gay. After signing the petition, names and emails were automatically sent to Kenney’s office.
Others accuse Kenney of “pink-washing” the issue of gay refugees in order to support the issue he truly cares about—criticizing Iran. Kenney, who describes himself as a strict Roman Catholic, does not have a well-publicized history of engaging in LGBT issues.