Some members of the gay and lesbian community are raising concerns about privacy issues after they were sent an email from the office of the immigration minister that extols the government's handling of cases of lesbian and gay refugees from Iran.
Many of the people who received the email, sent from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's office, are asking how Kenney and his government know their sexual orientation.
"I just thought, my god, this is complete propaganda, how did he get my email? What the heck is going on here?" said Datejie Green, from Toronto.
The email was titled "LGBT Refugees from Iran" and touted what Kenney called his government's strong record of defending gay and lesbian rights around the world.
"This is scary. This is actually really scary," Green said. "I wasn't just disturbed, I was frightened, because they're clearly stockpiling lists of particular constituencies of Canadians, for their propaganda."
Green, who is a health researcher, is also upset that the government is trying to "pinkwash" its activities — making them sound more gay and lesbian friendly than they really are.
She points to Kenney's recent cuts to refugee health programs, which she says have taken a direct toll on LGBT refugees who often need trauma counselling and basic medical care.
Several other Canadians also expressed anger about Kenney's missive yesterday on social media sites like Facebook. Randall Garrison is the NDP critic for LGBT issues.
"Well I think there's a serious privacy question here when the minister is obviously touching on a subject that's very sensitive to many people and connecting up sexual orientation with individual names and addresses," Garrison said. "I think we need a full explanation of how he put together that list."
A spokeswoman for Kenney said the email was a "response to individuals who have communicated with our office about gay refugee issues."
But Green says she never communicated with Kenney's office.