Environment minister fights back against violent tweets targeting women in politics

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips received a tweet from a man who said his boot "would look nice" on her face. "Several times in fact."

"I think it’s good when women speak out and say, ‘Look, enough’s enough,' " minister says

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips has tweeted about the harassing messages she has received on social media. (Michelle Bellefontaine/CBC News )

Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says she's glad other Canadian female politicians are speaking out about the threats and harassment they receive on social media.

"I think it's good when women speak out and say, 'Look, enough's enough,' " Phillips said Wednesday.

" 'This is ridiculous. This is my work. This is my workplace and there are some things that are just inappropriate.' "

Earlier in the day, Philips retweeted a post by a man who stated: "My boot would look nice on @SPhillipsAB's face. Several times in fact."

Phillips wrote in her retweet: "I have no idea why women might think twice about entering politics."

The individual who made the post has since deleted it.

(Twitter )

In the last week, both federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Minister for the Status of Women Patricia Hadju have posted about the harassing, sexist tweets they receive.

"No matter your political leanings, the vitriol unleashed against female politicians on @twitter is unacceptable," McKenna wrote. "Honestly, it sucks."

"So disheartening to have to delete misogynist, hate filled tweets," Hadju posted. "Not acceptable, no matter the circumstances."

Violent language

Phillips said she's heard the same thing from discussions with political colleagues.

"People are just a little tired of it," she said."I think that type of violent language is inappropriate, and it's inappropriate no matter who says it and no matter who it's said to."

As environment minister, Phillips has been the target of harassment on Twitter since she took office a year ago.

Earlier this year, a man was charged with making death threats to people in her office. He was allegedly angry over the carbon tax.

Premier Rachel Notley has received death threats on social media. Energy Minister Marg McCuaig broke down in tears in the legislature last December as she recounted the threats she received on social media over the government's controversial farm safety bill.

Deputy premier and Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said she has also been targeted. She said threatening messages get passed on to the premier's security unit.

"Sometimes [people] utter threats that could impede my safety and security, and the premier's security unit certainly pays attention to that," she said. " But I have a job to do. When I receive it, I pass it on and I get back to work."

Finance Minister Joe Ceci said the use of threatening language on Twitter is not appropriate.

"We're just people doing a job and we're using the best information we know, and if you want to have a civil conversation, please, let's have a civil conversation," he said.

"The other stuff is stuff they should leave off the table."