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Anti-gay emails flood Ottawa city councillors’ inboxes

Emails target Alex Munter, ED of the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau

Anti-gay emails sent to Ottawa city councillors have been forwarded to police, says city councillor Rick Chiarelli.

Since early March, members of Parliament and Ottawa city councillors have been the recipients of a barrage of anti-gay emails. Over the past weekend, a new round of emails spammed the politicians’ mailboxes.

The emails, signed by Karol Karolak — who uses different email addresses — are laden with homophobic rants targeting Alex Munter, executive director of the Ottawa Youth Services Bureau (YSB). Munter is a former Ottawa city councillor and he ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the 2006 municipal election.

Munter declined to comment on the emails.

“We are aware of emails of this nature, but Alex doesn’t have any comment on them,” says Eva Schacherl, director of communications for YSB. “We have a long history of supporting LBGT youth. It goes right back to 1980, and we are very proud of our role in fighting homophobia and supporting LGBT youth with our services.”

The emails, with subject lines such as “active promotion of homosexuality on taxpayer’s dime,” include links to photos on Munter’s Facebook page, as well as articles from Ottawa East EMC, Ottawa Sun and Xtra.

After the last barrage of emails, Baseline councillor Chiarelli contacted Vern White, Ottawa’s chief of police, and handed over copies of the emails.

“He [Karolak] has been contacted by the police, so yes, we have dealt with the situation,” says a representative from Chiarelli’s office.

In his last email to Karolak on March 22, Chiarelli sent a strong message that denounced Karolak’s anti-gay rants.

“Your emails have not only appalled members on this Council but your narrow-minded and unsubstantiated views are the very same that contribute to the lack of progress for the world in which we live,” wrote Chiarelli.

In the email, Chiarelli goes on to praise Munter and the work he does.

Munter was appointed executive director of YSB in 2007. YSB offers support in health services, education, housing and youth programs, including a queer component that started in 1980.

“We will see how this unfolds, but our operations go on,” says Schacherl. “We have 3,000 youth coming in the door every month, and we are out there providing the best support we can to them.”