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

Firefighters and RCMP are on scene at a fire on Douglas Street. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
PHOTOS: Firefighters battling blaze on Douglas Street

RCMP are also on scene and blocking off access to the street

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Zuzana Riha’s last exhibition at the Revelstoke Visual Arts Centre was in October 2018. She has another coming up in November 2020. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke gallery exhibition opening coming Nov. 5

The November show will feature Zuzana Riha in the main gallery

Snowfall in the Okanagan shatters records. (Contributed)
Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

Penticton has received over 10 cm today, surpassing the 8 cm record set in 1957

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Voters are saying they felt safe voting in person despite the current pandemic. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Central Okanagan voters talk about their pandemic election experience

Despite an election taking place during COVID-19, residents said they felt safe voting in person

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Most Read