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

Just Posted

Unplowed Roads parody song destined to be a classic

Move over Weird Al, Island elementary students on the same level

North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

Municipality expects decision to cause $150,000 shorfall this year

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Sound of Music echoes with a surprising amount of cool

Chemainus Theatre review: my teenage self didn’t know what he was missing

Robert Barron column: Thanks to municipal workers during snow storm

I’ve always wondered how anything gets done when mounds of snow fall from the sky.

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Police dog tracks suspect through wintry Vancouver Island backcountry

Assault suspect arrested after two-hour track by Nanaimo RCMP police dog Jager

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

B.C. photographer captures otters on ice

A Langley photographer was at the right place at the right time on the Fraser River

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read