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Brian Dijkema

Brian Dijkema is Program Director, Work and Economics at Cardus and senior editor with Comment. Prior to joining Cardus, Brian worked for almost a decade in labour relations in Canada after completing his master's degree with Cardus Senior Fellow, Jonathan Chaplin. He has also done work on international human rights, with a focus on labour, economic, and social rights in Latin America and China. Read More ›

Articles by Brian Dijkema
  • Less than Exemplary

    Brian Dijkema

    The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) wants to strike this Friday. Wait, I'm sorry, they want to stage an "action" that "is a political protest unless the Ontario Labour Relations Board determines otherwise."

  • A whole lot of decisions to be made

    Brian Dijkema

    Paul Wells has an excellent little piece up on how Prime Minister Stephen Harper has changed during his time in office. He cites Harper's increased caution as evidence that the Harper we see today is not the same Harper we saw when he was in opposition or even a few years earlier. "This is what being Prime Minister does to you," says Wells.

  • Blinded by the Light

    Brian Dijkema

    The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. This verse is often read at Christmas, and it means a great deal to those of us who live in the North where the December months are dark and cold.

  • An Engagement with Acton on Right to Work

    Brian Dijkema

    Michigan is now a right to work state. Let the market rejoice, and let unions weep and gnash their teeth. Let prognosticators wait a few minutes before prophesying. The legislation gives workers covered by a collective agreement in their workplace the option of membership (and subsequent dues payments) in the union responsible for negotiating that agreement.

  • A Fate Worse Than Death

    Brian Dijkema

    "The reasons people want assisted suicide include fear of being abandoned, dying alone and unloved—and of being a burden on others." Loneliness and love aren't usually topics that come up in conversations about euthanasia. But the point above, raised by Margaret Somerville at a recent event hosted by the deVeber Institute at the University of Toronto, suggests that euthanasia is far from simply a legal issue.

  • Battlefield: University

    Brian Dijkema

    There's a big fuss this week about a Queen's university professor inserting a "civility clause" into her course syllabus. The clause, written by psychology professor Jill Jacobson, states that, "Discriminatory, rude, threatening, harassing, disruptive, distracting, and inappropriate behaviour and language will not be tolerated. The first offence will result in a 10% reduction in your final mark."

  • Memento Mori

    Brian Dijkema

    Remember, man, that you are dust, and to dust you shall return (and the same for your buildings). New York is not a place known for its contemplation of mortality. The glitz, the money, the movement, the power, the sheer seething of the place contributes to a sense that it is a place that will never die.

  • Marvel and Wonder in October

    Brian Dijkema

    You hear them coming every week; usually on a Sunday night, but often very, very early on Monday morning. They come rain or shine. And in the fall, when the whole world seems to be headed for some sort of cold and sodden dormancy, it rains a lot. And yet they still come clinking along. Often they're pushing stolen shopping carts, pulling massive suitcases on wheels, grocery buggies lined with garbage bags, or cycling with some hacked contraption of a trailer which enables them to move from recycling bin to recycling bin faster than those on foot.

  • The Curious Case of Canadian Democracy

    Brian Dijkema

    Democracy in Canada is sick. Our legislatures are presenting strong symptoms including multiple prorogations, maniacal behaviour, repeated eructations of talking points in legislative houses, carbuncular omnibus bills, and gangrenous construction contracts in Ontario and Quebec which reek badly of almonds.

  • Public Wastelands

    Brian Dijkema

    The most dangerous place to be in World War 1 was no-man's land. No-man's land was a treacherous place, filled with mud, mines, rotting bodies and limbs, craters, pits, and poison. Nobody wanted to go there, because if you did, you were likely to die. Canadian war painters and photographers and novelists have left us with a myriad of depictions of the devastation—they're still haunting.

  • Where is this Ship Headed, Captain?

    Brian Dijkema

    As you cut through the hype and horror of the daily news cycle surrounding the daily movements of Justin (no formal titles among friends), and read his opening speech, you get a picture of a candidate who—despite landing a punch or two in his day—prefers to downplay the blood, blows, and sweat of politics, and emphasize things that we can all get behind.

  • A Bit of Perspective

    Brian Dijkema

    A couple weeks back I set out some criteria to help discern whether a strike is justified or not. These lists provide helpful buckets into which we can place events before evaluating them. But they need to be understood for what they are: a tool to help us understand the mess of life. As with most of life, the events of labour relations are as likely to slop all over the sides of buckets and make a big mess on the floor as they are to stay in the bucket.

  • Labour Storms

    Brian Dijkema

    Teacher strikes in Chicago, work-action by teachers in Ontario, strike-banning and wage-freeze legislation in Ontario, imminent strikes in Ontario's auto sector, austerity, right-to-work proposals in Ontario, and in practice in many states—what do we make of it all?

  • Persuade Me

    Brian Dijkema

    To proselytize is to be human. The prevention of proselytization is barbarism. These are two very simple statements, but they lie at the heart of religious freedom. And, particularly in today's day and age—with the advent of such things as blasphemy laws—they are a very real concern for those who care about international religious freedom.

  • Limits on Scripture

    Brian Dijkema

    I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." The greatest moment of American public life in the 20th century—and one of the finest examples of public speech in history—contains a quote from Isaiah.

  • Secular Does Not Mean What You Think it Means

    Brian Dijkema

    The Parti Québécois (PQ) announced yesterday that, if elected in Quebec's upcoming election, it would introduce a secular charter. What exactly would a secular charter look like? Well, see if you can figure it out from the CBC's report:

  • The Peach is Charged with the Grandeur of God

    Brian Dijkema

    A Niagara peach in August is a glorious thing. It is the perfection of fruit and a sign of all that is good and holy in this world. In terms of pleasure, a Niagara peach in the height of its glory, with its perfect curves, its cool smooth skin, its flow of sweetness, its tender flesh, for me ranks just above reading, and just—just—below .

  • Whispering in Public

    Brian Dijkema

    In a strange way, funerals are at the same time very private, and very public affairs. We're inclined to consider funerals private affairs. They are usually not open to the public. They involve family, friends, and loved ones; those, in other words, who have some sort of personal connection with the deceased.

  • Buildings Encouraging Idiocy?

    Brian Dijkema

    Can the shape or condition of a room change you? I have a hunch that most of us think of our buildings as inert shells. They might be pretty or ugly places, but they don't any power to change us. They're just there; we, the humans, are the actors. Rooms are places where we change our shirts, shorts, and sheets.

  • A Culture on Fire?

    Brian Dijkema

    What kind of culture will Pentecostalism produce? There has been a lot of talk lately among scholars about the rise of Pentecostalism as a global force. Much of it is focused on the implications of Pentecostalism on the church, the state, and the economy—sociological talk—but not, to my admittedly limited knowledge, little is focused on the impact that Pentecostalism will have on arts culture.

  • Wisdom Cries Out in the Streets

    Brian Dijkema

    Photo: Peter StocklandI'm reasonably certain that when we read in scripture, "Out in the open, wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the streets", we don't think of the young lady pictured here. Most times we think of wisdom as modest, quiet, and clothed in a flowing gown. Even if you don't picture her that way, I'm reasonably certain that you don't think of wisdom wearing a cheap plastic hula skirt, a bare midriff, a red feather boa, and a party kazoo in her mouth.

  • Reaping the Whirlwind

    Brian Dijkema

    I read an excellent commencement address by Daniel Mendlesohn this week in which he describes a conversation he had with his grandparents about his plans to study classics in university. His grandparents asked:

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