The environment minister for Canada has had to assign additional security detail after internet abuse has risen.
The minister, Catherine Mckenna, said that a car pulled over next to her when she was walking to the cinema with her children and proceeded to swear at her and yell out “Climate Barbie.”
It is unusual for Canadian ministers to use high-level security. Yet, since the tension on climate change has increased, the abuse toward has shift from online to reality with the trend.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change has said, quoted by Canadian press: “There are places, yes, that I have to have security now and I don’t think that’s a great situation,
“I’m someone who is trying to do my job, live my life, and talk and engage with people, and it makes it harder. I’m not going to let this stop me but I wish it would stop.”
As Canadian press report, Mckenna has been yelled at publicly with her kids several times and called a ‘C-word’, ‘traitor’, ‘communist piece of garbage’. In addition, she has also received sexualised messages, her family has been threatened and some have wished for them to suffer fatal diseases.
Mckenna has been known as a passionate climate action campaigner. In 2018, Mckenna announced that the government would work with businesses directly to reinvest the $420M remaining in the province’s Low Carbon Economy Fund. This August, she announced the $200M Energy Savings Rebate Program for Ontarians to reduce energy use by above 60% with smart thermostats or energy-efficient dishwashers.
In fact, after the Alberta Premier, Jason Kenney, launched a $30M “War Room” project which is to discredit climate action advocates, many environmental activists found themselves becoming the target of abuse from deniers of climate change, including 16-year-old Greta Thunberg – an environmental activist who has been verbally attacked after she voyaged across the Atlantic on an environmentally-friendly yacht.