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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 ›

Bio last modified June 1st, 2017.
Articles by Brian Dijkema
  • Quinoa Strikes Help No One

    Brian Dijkema

    The newest food for fret is quinoa. The Guardian warns, "There is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder." The article continues, "The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it."

  • Theology Matters

    Brian Dijkema

    No, says Derek Burney in a Canadian Press article. Burney argues that theology gets in the way of resolution of the problems facing aboriginals in Canada: "If one side is approaching it from a practical standpoint, and the other comes at it from a constitutional or what I would call an almost theological standpoint, it's very difficult to come to an agreement." In taking this position, Coyne and Burney are adopting a very common approach to religion in liberal democracies: that is, that theological questions are divisive "conversation stoppers" awhile real politics takes place in neutral matters of practical consequence.

  • Less than Exemplary

    Brian Dijkema

    You'll be hearing a lot of this type of doublespeak in the next while, so I thought it would be helpful to clarify a few things.

  • A whole lot of decisions to be made

    Brian Dijkema

    Right. Is this not to be expected? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Blinded by the Light

    Brian Dijkema

    The passage says that the "darkness" has not overcome the light. But I often think—as I do about many passages in Scripture—how difficult it is to understand the hope that comes from a light shining in the darkness. It's hard to understand because most of us don't experience darkness on a regular basis. North America has the infrastructure to ensure that we're flooded with light all the time.

  • An Engagement with Acton on Right to Work

    Brian Dijkema

    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. Needless to say, the debate around this law has been heated; so heated that multiple rules of engagement were broken in the span of minutes.

  • A Fate Worse Than Death

    Brian Dijkema

    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. It is first and foremost a cultural issue—an issue that sheds light on how we understand what it means to be human, and what it means to be a human community.

  • Battlefield: University

    Brian Dijkema

    This rankles the student government of Queen's, and is currently the subject of a student grievance. Argues a spokeswoman, "The inclusion of a civility clause, especially when it threatens a student's academic standing, would actively discourage the exchange of critical inquiry and free speech which are foundational to a quality undergraduate education." .

  • Memento Mori

    Brian Dijkema

    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. It's hard to remember, living in a city that never sleeps, that each of us will one day sleep in the cold ground.

  • Marvel and Wonder in October

    Brian Dijkema

    It's unsettling to see people rummage through the blue boxes on your street in search of the discarded bottle which will give them ten or twenty more cents to add to their revenue stream. I recall one particular morning in October 2004. For some reason known only to God I was up at 4 a.m. and glanced outside to check the weather.

  • Public Wastelands

    Brian Dijkema

    This, sadly, was the picture that came to my mind as I read John McKay's excellent article this week on the state of parliament after the defeat of Motion C-312. McKay writes, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Where is this Ship Headed, Captain?

    Brian Dijkema

    The watchwords of his speech are intended to be non-threatening and romantic; inspirational even. It started with the quote from the father of German romanticism and continued in that stream—love, trust, listening, open minds, big dreams (his and yours!), and youth. I got a sense that Canada was the Dead Poets Society, with Justin as O Captain! My Captain! This is, of course, good politics.

  • A Bit of Perspective

    Brian Dijkema

    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. How messy can it get? Well, recent labour strife in the Lonmin platinum mines in South Africa give us some indication . . .

  • Labour Storms

    Brian Dijkema

    It's hard to think critically and carefully about strikes. Typically, the response to a strike is rather simple: are you for it, or against it? And, it's often personal: are you with us, or against us? But how would one even go about deciding if you are for or against a strike? . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Persuade Me

    Brian Dijkema

    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. [It] is simply wrong to suggest that there is an asymmetrical relationship between the right to have religious belief and the right to persuade others of the validity of that belief. If [this] was correct, individuals would not be free, but would be confined to keeping their most fundamental beliefs private. To say otherwise is to ask people to act without integrity (i.e. to believe one thing in private and another thing in public). Such a conception necessarily bifurcates religion. My October blog was intended to promote the positive value of proselytization against the claims of McGill professor Arvind Sharma. Sharma, however, continues to be concerned about the role of Canada's forthcoming Office of Religious Freedom. And his desire to move what is an empirically undeniable truth—that some religions are not "missionary" religions—into the realm of political rights requires more attention.

  • Secular Does Not Mean What You Think it Means

    Brian Dijkema

    What exactly would a secular charter look like? Well, see if you can figure it out from the CBC's report: The PQ wants to adopt a secular charter for Quebec which will ensure the neutrality of the state toward all religions, but . . . The state is guided by fundamental values which remain unarticulated but which nonetheless .

  • The Peach is Charged with the Grandeur of God

    Brian Dijkema

    This shouldn't surprise me. After all, Psalm 148 tells us that peach trees can praise the Lord with the same volume as "young men and women, old men and children." But biting into one of those glorious peaches I am treated to an unexpected, gratuitous goodness. There are good evolutionary reasons for peaches to be sweet, but not that sweet.

  • Whispering in Public

    Brian Dijkema

    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. I have never heard of someone walking off the street into a funeral. And, with the very limited exception of the very famous—a pope, a prime minister, a princess—they are not broadcast or shared in any public way.

  • Buildings Encouraging Idiocy?

    Brian Dijkema

    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. They are places where we make love, play music, brush our teeth, eat, sleep, hold meetings, do business, pray.

  • A Culture on Fire?

    Brian Dijkema

    We know a little bit about what Catholic culture looks like. We have Caravaggio, and Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh, and Flannery O'Connor, and Shusaku Endo. We know a bit about Reformed culture too. There's Shakespeare, and Rembrandt, and Makoto Fujimura, and Marilynne Robinson. But we don't really know what to expect when it comes to Pentecostalism's effect on anything, let alone its effect on literature, or painting, or film.

  • Wisdom Cries Out in the Streets

    Brian Dijkema

    But despite the cognitive and visual dissonance, the young lady above—whether consciously or not, and even fractionally—does exhibit wisdom on the streets. And, insofar as she is participating in that great mob of disaffected Quebec youth, there might be more wisdom in these street protests than one might imagine at first glance.

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