Nfld. & Labrador

Threats, sexist comments made against MHAs by budget critics

MHAs say some of the criticism about the provincial budget is getting personal, with threats and sexist comments.

Setting bad example for kids, says Dale Kirby

Budget protesters have been sporting signs and posting on social media. Some MHAs say they have gone too far. (CBC)

Liberal members of the House of Assembly say some of the critics of the provincial budget are getting personal, making threats and sexist comments.

"I have been threatened, harassed, belittled," wrote the MHA for Bonavista Neil King in a Facebook post, saying some of the attacks have been from supporters of other political parties.

"Among these attacks, (one) came from a municipal leader who texted me that God will make me pay for this budget, as a Christian I find this extremely offensive," he wrote.

King said his family and friends have also been "threatened, verbally abused, and accosted" both in public and on social media.

Bonavista MHA Neil King says threatening remarks were made about his family at a rally in the community. (Twitter/@CFSNL)

"It takes pretty low individuals to do this and I am shocked that my 76-year-old father has twice been threatened with physical violence. Once at the NAPE rally [Sunday, April 24, in Bonavista] and once online."

King said he will be voting for the budget, even though he does not like everything in it, but said his family should not be caught in the middle.

'Bordering on sexist'

Education Minister Dale Kirby said Monday that some of the criticism that MHAs are fielding about the budget is sexist, inappropriate, and a bad example for children.

"It seems almost like the level of personal attack is approaching what we've traditionally seen in the United States, with all these internet memes and so on," he told reporters in a scrum at the legislature.

"Some of the stuff is even bordering on sexist and other things that are inappropriate."

Kirby said the backlash is contradicting the anti-bullying messages being delivered in the province's schools and encouraged people to think before they click. 

"People should think about ... the lesson that our children are learning by observing all of that, if there are sexist messages or other degrading, or demeaning messages that are being sent," he said.

"I can take my ticky tumps as well as anybody else but I think sometimes it approaches a line that is inappropriate,"

"Politicians, leaders need to hear feedback and need to hear when people are upset but there is a difference between constructive criticism and some of the stuff that is, like I said, bordering on being sexist."