Christopher Wilson, who identified himself as working for Rebel Media, has an exchange Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna during a news conference after a Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment meeting in Vancouver on Friday, November 3, 2017. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Environment minister confronts Rebel reporter about ‘climate Barbie’ name

Media outlet had used the term in the past

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confronted a reporter for The Rebel on Friday, demanding he make a commitment that the far-right website stop calling her “climate Barbie.”

The exchange occurred at a news conference after a meeting of provincial, territorial and federal environment ministers in Vancouver.

Christopher Wilson identified himself as a Rebel reporter and asked McKenna a question about the federal government’s opinion on the role of hydroelectricity as a clean power source.

“So you’re the Rebel Media that happens to call me ‘climate Barbie.’ I certainly hope that you will no longer use that hashtag,” McKenna said.

Wilson replied that he personally has never called her that name.

However, the reporter has used it at least twice on Twitter and it appeared in an article published under his byline in January. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McKenna pushed Wilson for a commitment that The Rebel will stop using that name in its articles and on social media.

“Me personally, yes, but I don’t have editorial control of others,” Wilson responded.

Wilson then accused McKenna of banning one of The Rebel’s correspondents from going to an upcoming climate conference, which McKenna denied and said she wrote a letter encouraging the outlet to come so they could learn about climate change.

“Absolutely, and I have a legitimate question about hydroelectricity’s role,” Wilson said.

McKenna interjected that she was just asking for a commitment that the outlet won’t call her names, talk about the colour of her hair or make fun of her.

“The reason I’m asking you not to do this is because I have two daughters. There are lots of girls that want to get into politics and it is completely unacceptable that you do this,” she said.

Wilson replied by saying he finds it unacceptable that McKenna “smears” people who question climate change as “deniers” with “all the connotations of the Holocaust denial.”

McKenna ultimately thanked Wilson for his commitment to stop using the term and addressed his question on hydroelectricity.

The Rebel did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but on Saturday morning founder Ezra Levant tweeted, “Appointed to fill a gender quota; unable to control her emotions when criticized; spends taxes on vanity photo shoots. #ClimateBarbie fits.

And after his testy exchange with the minister Wilson wrote in a Twitter post, “Our Alberta bureau chief coined the phrase ‘Climate Barbie,’ a reference to McKenna’s shallowness. She did not disprove that tonight.”

In September, Conservative MP Gerry Ritz apologized for calling McKenna “climate Barbie” on Twitter, saying the term is “not reflective of the role the minister plays.”

The Canadian Press

Environmentsexism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Directional traffic change coming to one-way street beside McLeod Elementary

This change will be in effect starting Monday, Oct. 5.

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read