Anita Sarkeesian recently made waves by giving the keynote speech at this year’s Progress Summit in Ottawa. The Progress Summit is an event staged by the Broadbent institute, founded by Ed Broadbent, who served as leader of Canada’s socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) from 1975 to 1989. The purpose of the Progress Summit is to brainstorm ways to force progressive ideas on the general public, and Sarkeesian’s speech, on gendered Internet harassment, bodes ill for opponents of social justice warriors.
Her Majesty’s Disloyal Opposition
Anita Sarkeesian’s speech was mostly about the “gendered minefield” that is the Internet. In it, she detailed incidents of supposed bomb threats and even talked about the discredited “threat” she got when she was due to speak at Utah State. She also went on to criticize the way women are portrayed in gaming. While the content of her speech wasn’t terribly remarkable, the fact that she was addressing the Progress Summit is cause for concern.
As a think tank founded by a former NDP leader, the Broadbent Institute exhibits a huge influence on Canadian politics and public opinion. The NDP is currently the second-largest party in the Canadian Parliament, forming the Official Opposition. Sarkeesian’s speech was designed to both pander to feminists and to sell the idea of tougher “cyber-harassment laws” to Canadian lawmakers. Per her usual M.O., Sarkeesian kept her recommendations as vague as possible.
For those of you wondering what the big deal is, the Progress Summit is sponsored by many major corporations, unions and guilds in Canada. The minimum amount to even get a decent spot on their sponsorship list is about $5,000 (Canadian dollars). Reaxxion doesn’t know if these donations were just a token gesture to the NDP or if these institutions actually believe in Sarkeesian, but we consider it worrying that corporations, unions and guilds are funding anti-gamer rhetoric.
I’ve compiled a list of Progress Summit sponsorships and the amount of money these companies paid for them. Canadian gamers deserve to know if their purchases are funding attacks against them:
|Name||Notes||CAD Amount (Not Definitive)|
|Loblaw Companies Limited||Big Canadian grocery chain (1000+ stores)||$25,000.00|
CUPE/SCFP (Canadian Union of Public Employees)
|Largest Canadian union (600,000+ members)||$25,000.00|
|Ontario English Catholic Teachers||$25,000.00|
|Canadian Piping Trades UA||$15,000.00|
|Unifor||Autoworkers’ union (300,000+ members)||$15,000.00|
|SEIU Healthcare||Health workers’ union (150,000+ members)||$15,000.00|
|Ontario Pipe Trades Council||$15,000.00|
|OSSTF/FEESO||Ontario teachers’ union||$15,000.00|
|IBEW Construction||Electricians’ union||$15,000.00|
|ETFO Feed||Elementary school teachers’ union||$15,000.00|
|Food workers’ union (1.3 million members)||$15,000.00|
|The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada||Government scientists’ and researchers’ union||$15,000.00|
|United Steel Workers||$15,000.00|
|Union of Engineers||$15,000.00|
|Summa Strategies||Major consulting firm||$15,000.00|
|Rogers||Major Canadian telecommunications company||$15,000.00|
|Westjet||Low cost commercial airline similar to Ryanair||$15,000.00|
|Steam Whistle Brewing||$15,000.00|
|Canada Electricity Assocation||$15,000.00|
|American Income Life||Insurance company||$15,000.00|
|The Confederation of Canadian Unions||$15,000.00|
|Green energy retailer||$15,000.00|
|Canadian Labour Congress
|IBEW FIOE||Electrical workers’ union||$15,000.00|
|MPH Graphics||Unionized graphic workers’ company||$15,000.00|
|CBTU/SMCC||Canadian construction union||$15,000.00|
|Hill & Knowlton
||Public relations firm||$15,000.00|
|Canada realtors’ association||$15,000.00|
|IAFF||Canadian firefighters’ union||$15,000.00|
|AMAPCEO||Ontario health workers’ administrative union||$10,000.00|
|GRIC||Government Relations Institute of Canada||$5,000.00|
|Music Canada||Canadian record labels’ association||$5,000.00|
|CIC||Can’t identify which CIC it is||$5,000.00|
Association of Canadian Financial Officers
|CHFA||Natural health industry advocacy group||$5,000.00|
|Power Workers’ Union||$5,000.00|
What’s The End Game?
It’s not a logical leap to assume that the institutions that sponsored the Progress Summit probably sent delegates as well. Many of the Summit’s delegates have major pull in Canadian society. By speaking at the Summit, Sarkeesian has secured an alliance with the NDP and its supporters. She’s the darling of the second biggest political party in Canada.
One of the most unsettling facts about the Progress Summit is that two of Canada’s biggest telecommunications companies sponsored it. Rogers and Telus are the behemoths of Canadian telecommunications, beholden to the government in ways that American ISPs can’t even conceive. Sarkeesian’s proposed “cyber laws” are so vaguely defined that Rogers and Telus could implement them by fiat, with the NDP setting up a telecommunications pledge meant to fight “harassment” on the Internet. These laws could be used to shut down dissent against politicians, celebrities and other powerful figures.
Anita Sarkeesian is the smartest anti-gamer figurehead out there. Brianna Wu has tried to put himself on national media and failed miserably. Zoe Quinn has been forgotten, despite her attempts to force herself back into the spotlight. Instead of attention whoring on social media, Sarkeesian has been quietly working behind the scenes to influence politicians, a strategy that has reaped innumerable rewards.
Sarkeesian is the pretty face needed to sell damsel-in-distress policies to the Canadian public. These policies could include “cyber laws,” female quotas and even more female entitlements. Canadian gamers have a hard fight ahead of them in repudiating Sarkeesian’s infiltration of their government.