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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
  • What does debt do to us?

    Brian Dijkema

    There is an ongoing discussion, between various economists on the left and right in the United States, on how to understand debt. Paul Krugman is in favour of accruing national debt for the sake of stimulating a stalled economy. He implies that economic growth is stalled due to a lack of demand among various sectors of the economy, and that government spending—enabled by government borrowing—is what is needed to kick-start the American economic engine.

  • Hope Against Those Who Have No Hope

    Brian Dijkema

    This week saw the demise of thousands of people around the world. The rough statistics, as I understand them, are that there are approximately 8.37 deaths per thousand people per year. That means that taking a very conservative world population of 6 billion, there are about 138,000 deaths per day.

  • Hidden Costs of Prosperity

    Brian Dijkema

    Brian Lee Crowley's piece in yesterday's Financial Post is the most provocative piece I have read in some time. It not only contains one of the most open challenges to Canadian sovereignty I've read, but it is written at a time when Europe—a continent which reflects most closely the policy proposal he offers in the article—is in the midst of a 26-alarm economic and political disaster.

  • White Bread Liberalism is Stale

    Brian Dijkema

    Things like this give liberalism a bad name. The city of Gatineau—best known for hosting Canada's Museum of Civilization and a host of public servants—has recently released a "values guide" for new immigrants. The guide is a veritable smorgasbord of helpful advice for new immigrants to ensure that they assimilate—sorry, transition—into Canadian society.

  • Taking responsibility together

    Brian Dijkema

    "It's an absolute disgrace. It's the single biggest moral issue we face as a country." So says Paul Martin about the state of life on Native reserves in Canada. Well, it might not be the single biggest moral issue—I can think of one that is bigger—but, that aside, his words ring true. The state of life on native reserves in this country is an absolute disgrace.

  • Ireland and Quebec

    Brian Dijkema

    George Weigel has a fascinating article "On the Square" at First Things yesterday which surveys the the situation of the Catholic church in Ireland. In short, that church—massive, deeply connected to the political elite, and seemingly prone to moral and other types of corruption—is in trouble. And as such, Christianity in Ireland is in trouble. To wit:

  • Money Ain't a Thing

    Brian Dijkema

    Monday night's Munk Debates saw two sides debating the resolution that "North America faces a Japan-style era of high unemployment and slow growth." Debating in favour of this were Paul Krugman and David Rosenberg. Laurence Summers and Ian Bremmer—the wittiest of the bunch—were opposed.

  • Remember and Believe

    Brian Dijkema

    I remember visiting the National War Memorial two years ago. The skies were a fittingly sombre shade of grey and the air was damp and cold. It was the type of cold that made even Ottawans—so used to the bitter northwest winds which rip down from the northwest along the Ottawa river before slamming against the bluffs on which our government, and the cenotaph, sit—shiver and crave heat.

  • I'll Take the Candy—Hold the Confusion

    Brian Dijkema

    In four days streets across the continent will be covered with little people, running around in the great communal and sugar-fuelled pantomime that we call Hallowe'en. Kids who would otherwise be brushing their teeth and preparing for bed will instead be released to ask complete strangers to give them confections.

  • The New York Times' (and America's) Rejection of Faith

    Brian Dijkema

    The New York Times published an article this week opining on the evangelical rejection of reason. The article, written by Karl Giberson and Randall Stephens, covers much of the ground previously covered by Mark Noll in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. The charges are familiar to many in the evangelical world: evangelicals reject science and are marked by "simplistic theology, cultural isolationism, and stubborn anti-intellectualism" and a sub-culture which is parasitic on the mainstream of American life.

  • Freedom of Religion includes the Freedom to Proselytize

    Brian Dijkema

    Well, let's hope that Arvind Sharma isn't appointed as Canada's first ambassador for religious freedom. In an interview with the CBC on the topic of Canada's imminent federal office of religious freedom, Sharma offers a confusing conception of the office and the religious freedom which it is intended to promote:

  • The point of public research

    Brian Dijkema

    Cardus does research on all kinds of things: the contribution of churches to the vitality of cities, the importance of charitable giving for society, outcomes of education, as well as work and economics. What's the point of all this research? Why do we do it?

  • New Economies, Strange Christendoms

    Brian Dijkema

    Business is booming in Brazil. So is Christianity. What does the latter mean for the former, and vice-versa? The former statement has become commonplace in discussions about the world's economy. While the U.S. and Europe begin to experience the full weight of fiscal irresponsibility, and their national limbs strain to hold up the ever-increasing weight of debt, Brazil has sprung out of the global recession and appears poised to continue to grow as an economic power.

  • Protesting with Prudence

    Brian Dijkema

    I'm a Protestant, but I'm really not much of a protester. Nonetheless, protests are very much in vogue. It seems like every week there is a group which has taken the time to put together picket signs, and walk the streets in opposition to . . . whatever. Inevitably, these protests receive media coverage of some kind.

  • Seamless Garments

    Brian Dijkema

    Stephen Lewis is one of those people who, if we had to live off of words, would subsist on a diet comprised mainly of adjectives and adverbs. His speech is attractive, but it's prone to produce a bit of flab, and can sometimes makes one feel a bit windy.

  • Greater hope

    Brian Dijkema

    . . . We take [politics] very seriously, but we know that at the end of the day, politics has its limits and its purpose. Politics and even his indefatiguable optimism won't cure Jack Layton. Perhaps medicine will. Perhaps a miracle will. Perhaps they won't. But we—and I pray that he—can take comfort in the fact that politics has led to friendship.

  • Royal Canadian News Farce

    Brian Dijkema

    Cardus is not the monarchist league, nor is it primarily a political think tank. As such we tend to stay away from the hurly-burly of discussions about the monarchy and its place in Canadian politics (well, except for the occasional swoon by a director of research). In general we're content to let the Monarchist league and the Citizens for a Canadian Republic duke it out in the public square on that issue, while we go about our work of renewing the social infrastructure of our country.

  • Spare the Rod, Spoil the State

    Brian Dijkema

    Theodore Dalrymple's op-ed in today's Globe argues that the British justice system deserves the blame for this shameful rioting. He says "the guilty parties are obvious: my lords, the Queen's justices... In view of their leniency, the wonder is not that we have scenes such as those that have astonished the world in the past few days but that we don't have them all the time."

  • A Portrait in Letters

    Brian Dijkema

    My colleague Alissa Wilkinson wrote eloquently a few weeks ago about "letters to the future." She suggests that blogs offer the possibility of some future historian working through posts to reconstruct "what it meant to be a twenty-first century human."

  • Political amoebas

    Brian Dijkema

    The Canadian chattering class is all divided on whether or not the dual political allegiance of Nycole Turmel, interim leader of the New Democratic Party, is actually a problem. Nick Van Der Graaf, in the Mark, suggests that the uproar about Turmel's membership in the Bloc and Quebec Solidaire reveals the "dangerous nationalist underbelly of Canadian politics." How dare anybody suggest that Turmel's membership in a party that explicitly hopes to assist Quebec's secession from Canada is a problem? "Intolerance!" he cries.

  • The limits of optimism

    Brian Dijkema

    Life-threatening cancer in Canada's leader of the opposition; shootings in Norway; starvation of thousands in Somalia. Not exactly the type of week which instills optimism in those who read the news. But newspapers—good newspapers—aren't really meant to be read by optimistic people. Anyone who follows the news knows that the scale of the terrors we see this week in the news appear larger than the terrors in last week's news only because the newspapers from May—and those from, say, 1944—have been placed in the recycling bins of history.

  • One of the highest ends of politics

    Brian Dijkema

    Many Canadians are thinking about Jack Layton today; I know I am. The press conference held by the leader of her majesty's loyal opposition yesterday was jarring—less so from the news itself, than from the visual and audio evidence of the effects that cancer is having on Mr. Layton's body.

  • Peculiar to public libraries

    Brian Dijkema

    One of the great fringe benefits of having children is the amount of time it allows my wife and me to spend in the library. My wife and I order books online from the Ottawa Public Library on the recommendation of friends, or from the valuable book of book lists, Honey for a Child's Heart. And, weekly, we make a pilgrimage to our local branch to pick those books up and spend some time browsing the shelves.

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