Canada’s minister of the environment and climate change is furious that a Conservative Member of Parliament called her a “climate Barbie” in a tweet.
The member of Parliament, Gerry Ritz, was commenting on an article he had just read on Yahoo News entitled: “No major advanced industrialized economy is currently on pace to meeting its Paris commitments.”
“Has anyone told our climate Barbie!” Ritz asked. The phrase has become popular with some of McKenna’s critics.
In New York with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who is addressing the United Nations on Thursday, McKenna said these “sexist, misogynistic comments” are indicative of a dark underside to the Conservative Party, that, she said harbors resentment against women in politics.
On Thursday, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called McKenna to offer his personal apologies for the remark.
“It’s not about me. It’s about how women — especially women in politics — face these kinds of … sexist, misogynistic comments, especially from Conservatives. I want to be talking about what I’m doing, but unfortunately we’re having this conversation,” McKenna told reporters in New York on Wednesday.
Ritz, under pressure from Tory leader Scheer, deleted the tweet and issued something of an apology: “I apologize for the use of Barbie, it is not reflective of the role the minister plays,” he tweeted.
McKenna has accepted the Ritz’s apology but says that’s not the point.
“It’s about changes in behavior and changes in attitude,” she said.
Although there was plenty of outrage on social media over Ritz’s remark, there was some support for Ritz too. One Twitter user noted:
“This is hilarious. @Liberal_party are clearly trying to distract from the #TaxFairness backlash, with faux outrage.” #CdnPoli #ClimateBarbie.
Other Twitter users are transmitting picture of a Barbie doll with an apparently photo-shopped head of McKenna.
McKenna is no stranger to controversy herself. At the Paris climate talks in 2015, she spent almost $7,000 in taxpayer money for a private photographer to take pictures of her and her staff.
Ritz has announced he is retiring from federal politics next month.