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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
  • Absurd, and Good

    Brian Dijkema

    Think of Macbeth. The "Scottish Play"—a political play if there ever was one—ends with blood all over the stage.  Carl P.G. von Clausewitz, ever the Prussian, is blunter.  "War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means."

  • What kind of culture of generosity do we want?

    Brian Dijkema

    Cardus is working for a renewed culture of generosity in this country; we've done studies, and we've proposed policies to this effect. For most of us the key marker of a renewed culture of generosity is one where, to cut to the bottom line, the bottom line is bigger.

  • Cultivating Civic Virtue

    Brian Dijkema

    Political parties, as always, have noticed this, and exploit these tendencies by routine use of a wedge to carve these various self-selecting groups into potentially winnable constituencies. As a result, while the conversations in our living rooms and across our fences are amiable and comfortable, our politics exude a special type of nastiness; extreme politics, if you will.

  • Sick Schools, Sick Students, Sick State

    Brian Dijkema

    Let's start with the superintendent, Ms. Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, and the school board. Young William Swinimer wore a bright yellow t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Life is Wasted without Jesus" to school. Those words offended another student, who complained to the vice-principal, who asked William to remove the shirt.

  • A little thin, isn't it?

    Brian Dijkema

    I've read the report, and its content is not what makes it noteworthy. I'm reasonably certain that you could find a bunch of similar-calibre papers from C-range students in first year political science courses in universities across the country. No, what makes it noteworthy, and the reason it made front page news, is that it was produced by something described as a Christian church.

  • Canada Includes the State, But Is More than the State

    Brian Dijkema

    This budget gives pretty clear signals of a different Canada, perhaps hard to get at because it is not about building but about dismantling: not dismantling the state—witness the expanded use of the coercive criminal law power and the build up of our military and security apparatus—so much as rolling back the progressive state. 

  • The Race to the Top

    Brian Dijkema

    Take, for instance, the Canadian Auto Workers Union. Yesterday, the CAW launched a major paper entitled "Re-thinking Canada's Auto Industry: A Policy Vision to Escape the Race to the Bottom." The report outlines policy recommendations including "buy Canadian" measures, direct government investment in the auto industry, Central Bank tampering with monetary policy to lower the Canadian dollar and encourage exports, and a host of other measures intended to "protect Canada's share of this industry." The first community whose head gets stepped on is workers in developing economies.

  • A Band of Love

    Brian Dijkema

    Music is also a part of death and dying, and there it is very noticeable, because it says a great deal about who we are as individuals and as a culture.

  • Centrist politics: the problem, not the solution

    Brian Dijkema

    It is generally acknowledged among the punditry, and apparently among the NDP's leadership as well, that the election of Thomas Mulcair was a move to the mushy middle. Mulcair, who flirted with the federal Tories and served as a Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec before winning a seat for, and then the leadership of, the NDP, campaigned openly for the NDP to "modernize," and has maintained this position in the wake of his election. His pro-middle agenda was opposed by members of the NDP's principled elite, including Ed Broadbent, and was set against Brian Topp, whose position on matters of party principle could not be clearer. Topp wanted an NDP which found its "fundamental identity as a social democratic/democratic socialist party."

  • What's a Soul Worth?

    Brian Dijkema

    What role should markets play in public life and personal relations? How can we decide which goods should be bought and sold, and which should be governed by nonmarket values? Where should money's writ not run?What it doesn't note is that the former editor of Comment magazine, Gideon Strauss, made this exact same argument seven years ago:

  • Government Addictions

    Brian Dijkema

    It's a good question, but it's the wrong one. Ontario's finance minister, Dwight Duncan, should have asked, "What is a Crown corporation doing taking revenues from a casino at all?" As Adam Radwanski notes in the Globe, "The new vision for OLG adds up to something radically different—a tough-minded (some would say cold-blooded) business plan without any of the usual moral squeamishness."

  • Condemnations, contradictions, and rich ironies

    Brian Dijkema

    Some see the plant's closure as just another example of blood-sucking foreign companies who come into Canada, ignore our unions, buy our plants, and leave the workers, the provinces, and the country to clean up the mess. Ken Lewenza, the head of the union representing the workers at the EMD plant, suggests that the closure "open[s] a door for multinational corporations to feel confident they can do whatever they want, to destroy communities and the lives of people and get away with it." A commodities boom has driven the Canadian dollar from a 62¢ U.S.

  • Ignoring a Key Reason for the Decline of Unions

    Brian Dijkema

    A discussion paper released by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and the Communications Energy and Paper Workers (CEP) suggests that unions are "fac[ing] an enormous and historic moment of truth." While Canadian unions are known for their overuse of hyperbole, the list of problems they themselves provide suggests the problem is genuine.

  • The Repentance of Thieves and Murderers

    Brian Dijkema

    The long-time Cuban president is responsible for the dispossession of millions of dollars worth of land, cars, cash, and other material goods once held privately by Cubans. He is also responsible for the more heinous crime of dispossession of the dignity and lives of countless Cuban citizens. Hundreds of men and women endure squalid prison conditions because of his policies. Churches, trade unions, newspapers, political parties, free courts, and other green shoots of independence, pluralism, and liberty have been cut down to the nub or choked by Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and their geriatric posse of communist true believers. But rumour has it that Fidel is contemplating a return to his old faith. As with most news from Cuba, it's difficult to determine the veracity of these claims, but an Italian newspaper quotes his daughter Alina as saying, "Today he is more interested in the fate of his soul than the future of Cuba."

  • What the Monks of Tibhirine Teach Us about Faith and Public Life

    Brian Dijkema

    The film depicts the life of eight Trappist monks at Our Lady of the Atlas monastery in Algeria during Algeria's civil war in the 1990s. Unlike Into Great Silence—another excellent film portraying the lives of monks—Of Gods and Men focuses not merely on the day-to-day practices, routines, and disciplines of the monastery, but on how such routines can be maintained in the face of a deadly, and very real, threat of Islamic terrorists and the violence of war.

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