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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
  • Taking the Heidelberg Catechism to Work

    Brian Dijkema

    Peter Stockland's excellent blog this week reminds us that "we are called to engage in the political life of our country not to win but to witness. We are called as witnesses of Christ in whatever worldly glory or madness plays itself out before us."

  • Absurd, and Good

    Brian Dijkema

    We think of politics as an epic battle between ideas, but it's not.  Politics, done properly, is theatre.  And theatre involves bodies, expression, movement, speech and action.  It is an endeavour which involves the whole human being. It is, in short, a flesh and blood enterprise rather than an idealist one.

  • Why the Queen is Better Than We Are

    Brian Dijkema

    As much as we try to keep love well outside of the walls of the political arena, it always finds its way in. Witness Andrew Coyne's column this week on the monarchy. Coyne, normally the very picture of stoic sobriety, turns into St. Valentine when he talks about her majesty:

  • What kind of culture of generosity do we want?

    Brian Dijkema

    Anyone who has followed the slow decline of charitable giving and voluntarism in Canada knows that Canadians are not as generous as we think we are. The truth is that the about one quarter of Canada's population carries the other three-quarters in terms of overall giving.

  • Cultivating Civic Virtue

    Brian Dijkema

    When North Americans aren't bowling alone, we're drinking, reading, and laughing together with people who are like us. The media with which we engage, our friends, our neighbourhoods, and, increasingly (sadly) even our churches are filled with people like us. We might differ from these people on minor points, but, in general, we stick with what we know and, perhaps more importantly, what makes us feel good.

  • Sick Schools, Sick Students, Sick State

    Brian Dijkema

    There is an illness plaguing our public school systems. And like a runny nose in a kindergarten class, it spreads quickly. When public schools become sick, it's usually not too long before the whole nation becomes sick. The whole sad debacle unfolding in Nova Scotia is like a giant sneeze in the kindergarten song circle.

  • A little thin, isn't it?

    Brian Dijkema

    The United Church of Canada's recent report on Israeli and Palestinian policy made front-page news this week. But Shimon Fogel's reaction in Tuesday's National Post gets it wrong, when he suggests the report hurts the United Church's reputation.

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

    Brian Dijkema

    Alex Himelfarb worries that our state is being dismantled and rebuilt as an ugly, uncaring, police state. The architect of this, of course, is Stephen Harper and his minions who crafted the budget: 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

    The race to the bottom is a full-contact sport full of cheap hits and thuggery. The thugs, however, are not always easy to spot. 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." .

  • A Band of Love

    Brian Dijkema

    We are surrounded by music; immersed; soaked in it. It's in our heads when we jog, when we drive, when we shop, when we go up elevators, when we watch sports, when we watch films, when we work. Music is a part of life, and yet we only notice it sometimes.

  • Please, do my job for me

    Brian Dijkema

    Politicians like to talk to the public like they're children. Because of this, the tenor of our politics resembles that of a kindergarten class deciding who gets the last red smartie on a rainy day. Perhaps this is because our modern methods of communication force them to interact with the public through means—newspapers, television, radio, the internet—which, for any number of reasons, have become purveyors of mindless barbarism.

  • Truly, God never abandons

    Brian Dijkema

    Pope Benedict left Cuba yesterday and nothing changed. The state is still run by a communist gerontocracy; it remains an officially atheist state; Good Friday is still not a public holiday; hundreds of political prisoners remain in jail or under close surveillance; there is still no respect for civil society, no trade unions, no independent newspapers, no recognition of property rights, no independent political parties; and the most basic of human rights are still not respected.

  • Centrist politics: the problem, not the solution

    Brian Dijkema

    The most interesting thing about this weekend's NDP leadership election is not that Thomas Mulcair won and that Brian Topp lost. No, what will last longest is the weakening of principle—call it ideology if you want—as a driving factor in Canadian politics.

  • What's a Soul Worth?

    Brian Dijkema

    A market economy is a tool—a valuable and effective tool—for organizing productive activity. A market society is a way of life in which market values seep into every aspect of human endeavor. It's a place where social relations are made over in the image of the market.These are the words of Michael Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard university.

  • Government Addictions

    Brian Dijkema

    "What expertise does a Crown corporation have in running a hot dog stand in a casino?" 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?"

  • Contesting the Defence of Liberal Hegemony

    Brian Dijkema

    Dr. John Stackhouse thinks Catholics and Protestants are overreacting in their response to the Supreme Court's decision about religious education in Quebec. Here's a snippet of the Supreme Court's ruling on parental requests to remove their children from state-mandated religious education, which prompted the discussion:

  • Condemnations, contradictions, and rich ironies

    Brian Dijkema

    The talk about last month's move of the Electro-Motive Diesel plant from London (Ontario) to the United States reveals much about the way we treat economics in Ontario and in Canada. 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.

  • Ignoring a Key Reason for the Decline of Unions

    Brian Dijkema

    Canada's unions are in trouble, but what is to be done? 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

    Fidel Castro is a thief and a murderer. And he may be returning to Christianity. 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.

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

    Brian Dijkema

    Faithful presence. Those two words returned to my mind again and again as I reflected on the movie Of Gods and Men. 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.

  • Helping the Humanities Out of its Funk

    Brian Dijkema

    There is a lot of talk these days about the sorry state of universities, and even more talk about the even sorrier state of humanities within those universities. One recurring theme is that universities are too specialized. "Too specialized," in this case, is code-word for either incomprehensibility or marginal futility.

  • We live in a Culture of Lies . . . So What?

    Brian Dijkema

    I was speaking to a friend of mine over the holidays about Marilyn Chandler McEntyre's book Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies. In one of those too-short conversations that take place over coffee and between pews after church, he told me how he felt underwhelmed after reading the book.

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