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

    Brian Dijkema

    He said that while he felt the book was right to point out that our culture is indeed rife with lies and half-truths, he ended up by saying: "so . . . what? We like to be lied to. We lie to ourselves all the time. Where do we go from here?"

  • Go Inquire About What is Written in this Book that has been Found

    Brian Dijkema

    In the midst of this cleaning of cobwebs and repointing of masonry, the book of the law—the other cultural pillar of the people of Israel—is re-discovered. The accidental nature of the find reads like an event that occurs when one cleans the dusty attic of a grandparent who has stored odds and ends there for years. The king's secretary says, "The priest has given me a book" as if he hasn't a clue of its importance.

  • How we think of religious freedom

    Brian Dijkema

    The irascible Gerald Caplan's article begins well. There is "much work for Canada to do" with regard to championing religious freedom. Caplan highlights a short list of religious persecutions, violence, and ignorance around the world, taking particular delight in a fight between monks wielding brooms in the church of the Nativity.

  • What does debt do to us?

    Brian Dijkema

    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

    And while each of those deaths mean that scores of people around the world are bereaved, only a few deaths made it into the newspaper headlines this week. Three in particular—Christopher Hitchens, Vaclav Havel, and Kim Jung-Il—have dominated the headlines.

  • Hidden Costs of Prosperity

    Brian Dijkema

    Mr. Crowley proposes a planned disintegration of North American borders in favour of integration of economies. To wit: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • White Bread Liberalism is Stale

    Brian Dijkema

    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. On the one hand it's hard to dismiss outright the idea of such a document. I would like to know the various traditions and practices of the city I'm moving to too. It's hospitable.

  • Taking responsibility together

    Brian Dijkema

    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. The idea that people in our land should suffer from the indignities experienced by those living on reserves—especially northern reserves—is shameful and cause for great national consternation.

  • Ireland and Quebec

    Brian Dijkema

    Clerical corruption and disastrous episcopal leadership have collided with rank political expediency and a rabidly anticlerical media to produce a perfect storm of ecclesiastical meltdown. The country whose constitution begins "In the name of the Most Holy Trinity . . ." is now thoroughly post-Christian. His response is fascinating, not least because the situation in Ireland seems so familiar to Canadians concerned with the vitality of their faith.

  • Money Ain't a Thing

    Brian Dijkema

    Debating in favour of this were Paul Krugman and David Rosenberg. Laurence Summers and Ian Bremmer—the wittiest of the bunch—were opposed. There were two items that I took away from the event:

  • Remember and Believe

    Brian Dijkema

    I remember listening to the 21-gun salute. I remember the echoes of the explosion bouncing off of the walls of the Chateau Laurier and the National Arts Centre, surrounding the cenotaph as the faint acrid smell of smoke wafted over the huge crowd gathered. I remember thinking: this is the closest we'll ever get to seeing war in our land; Lord have mercy on those who hear these sounds and cannot sit quietly knowing that the guns are filled with blanks and aimed away from them.

  • I'll Take the Candy—Hold the Confusion

    Brian Dijkema

    Kids who would otherwise be brushing their teeth and preparing for bed will instead be released to ask complete strangers to give them confections. Bad for the teeth, good for those with shares in Cadbury, right? It might even be good for the community. Instead of packs of youth breaking windows and looting stores, there are peaceful packs of kids and parents meeting neighbours who, for most of the year, go about their lives with a minimum amount of neighbourly interaction. I have a hunch that for most of us, Hallowe'en is benign at worst and a fun community-building exercise at best. The Globe and Mail reports that a number of Christians have taken to handing out Bibles (well, half-Bibles, actually) on Hallowe'en. The Jesusween movement was begun because "the world and its system have a day set aside (October 31st) to celebrate ungodly images and evil characters while Christians all over the world participate, hide or just stay quiet on Halloween day." The Globe and Mail suggests that "proselytizing is becoming a greater priority for many Christians for another reason: Their numbers are steadily declining on both sides of the border."

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

    Brian Dijkema

    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.

  • The point of public research

    Brian Dijkema

    It's a valid question, and it comes specifically to my mind after a phone call I received last week. We recently released a paper on the College of Trades, a new institution created by the Ontario government to modernize the trades. The paper reviewed the literature, compared the College to other similar institutions, examined the legislation behind the College and ultimately concluded, based on the evidence, that the College lacks evidence to back up its claims, and that it is not likely to achieve its goals in a cost-efficient way. We sent the study all over the province, to government, to those in the College, to those in industry, to all major newspapers.

  • New Economies, Strange Christendoms

    Brian Dijkema

    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. The effects of this economic growth influences Brazil's social life in other ways as well. National Geographic recently featured an article describing the increasing sense of empowerment brought on by economic growth, going so far as to describe this new phenomenon as Machisma.

  • Protesting with Prudence

    Brian Dijkema

    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. If someone gets arrested, the media coverage increases. In many cases, those arrrested are heralded for standing up for their principles, even at personal cost. Well, at least it's a good thing insofar as it showcases our political culture's ability to tolerate disparate views. The ability to take to the streets to give whatever politician, or company (these two tend to be the favourites of protesters, sometimes in tandem!) a piece of your mind is a freedom which we should cherish and protect. Nobody wants a replay of Tiananmen. Does the ubiquity of protests in fact undermine their effectiveness as a tool for political or social change? That someone is willing to get arrested because of their opposition to a pipeline coming from one free country to another somehow seems to cast aspersions on the very real sacrifice taken by, say, the protesters at Tiananmen. There are different, and better, displays of courage and principle. How do we evaluate protests? Most protests these days are evaluated on two levels. The first, mentioned above, gives considerable leeway to protesters as they enable us, as a political community, to express our collective magnanimity. "Go ahead and protest," we say, "we can handle your chants." But, if we're honest, this measurement really says more about our political culture than it does about the protest itself, and often gives the protesters a bit of a free ride in terms of evaluation. On the second level, which is often lost in the striking images and catchy sloganeering of protesters: is the intended goal of the protest in line with the demands of public justice? Protesters, like politicians, should be evaluated, at least in part, on whether or not their actions are prudent. After all, as a wise man once said:

  • Seamless Garments

    Brian Dijkema

    Which makes it all the more important to look for a bit of healthy roughage in his speeches. Amidst all the laudatory cream of that eulogy, this stood out for me:

  • Greater hope

    Brian Dijkema

    Now the prayers must shift from Jack's health to his family's comfort as they mourn his passing. And comfort, indeed, that what I wrote remains true: despite impossible differences of political persuasion, Canadians are praying for and alongside Layton's family and friends in genuine hope that they will be comforted in this time of grief.

  • Royal Canadian News Farce

    Brian Dijkema

    But occasionally the news will conspire to move the discussion into the realm of what we do talk about. This week is one of those occasions. The Canadian air command and the Canadian naval command were "re-branded" this week under the decidedly monarchist monikers of Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy.

  • Spare the Rod, Spoil the State

    Brian Dijkema

    While this certainly isn't the whole story, there are legitimate questions to be asked as to why, as he says "criminality is embedded in the culture and minds of at least some of the British population." It speaks to a reality which has not been widely discussed in the chattering class. . . . . . .

  • A Portrait in Letters

    Brian Dijkema

    With that in mind, I picked up a copy of Charlotte Gray's Canada: A Portrait in Letters from the library. Reading through the book—which features letters from Canada from 1800-2000—one gets a glimpse of what letters from the past say about what it meant to be human of the Canadian variety.

  • Political amoebas

    Brian Dijkema

    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.

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