Thousands of e-mails used on petition to stop a deportation from Canada harvested by Government

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.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

Tags: Conservative Government deportation from canada Gay Refugees in Canada Humanitarian and compassionate grounds LGBT Minister Kenney

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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