Articles by Robert Joustra
November 11, 2021
On the day Canadians remember those who died fighting for freedom’s sake, Rob Joustra challenges us to name what we would give up, here and now, for our country.
This may sound like a Canadian debate – certainly peace, order, and good government is a very Canadian trinity – but it’s not But where does Canada sit? What is Canada worth? Is it just another bureaucratic behemoth, take it or leave it, that manages our taxes, paves our roads, and buys our vaccinations? Is its character and constitution only as good as its ability to deliver what matters to me? Does it stand for anything intrinsically important – on its own merit - or is it a service provider whose democratic way of life is showing its age, and may be time to put to pasture?
October 29, 2021
Ominous State expansion under cover of the COVID crisis isn’t a sign of future despots at work but the consequence of a culture in which outcome trumps process, Robert Joustra argues.
State overreach is the consequence of a much more seemingly innocuous pathology: pragmatism Father de Souza argues, for example, that State overreach – no argument from me on that part – is motivated by a tyrannical desire to put its subjects in its place, remind businesses who has what power and ch...
December 7, 2020
There’s much wrong with increasingly closed secularism in France and Québec yet both societies understand diversity requires strong ground rules, Robert Joustra argues.
A game without clear boundaries breaks down fast, and a pluralism in politics that rewards diversity without asking for a common good, a common set of ground rules – rules for speaking and knowing each other across our epistemic chasms, boundaries for our habitation - breaks down just as quickly Ne...
October 20, 2020
CNN celebrity thinker Fareed Zakaria maps 10 potholes from here to post-pandemia. Reviewer Robert Joustra, as if channeling the Tao of Eeyore, isn’t sure the ride’s worth the ruts.
Finally, Zakaria says, the natural world, which has only barely begun its tempestuous revolt against our fast and open lifestyles, kicked up the Great Pandemic Zakaria boils down our post pandemic world to three options: (1) the pandemic will be the hinge event of modern history, forever altering ou...
September 26, 2020
Agree or disagree with Michael Sandel’s new book, reviewer Robert Joustra writes, it makes an eloquent case that Western society is in desperate need for grace.
It’s catharsis and catnip for our meritocratic age, says Michael Sandel, in his new book The Tyranny of Merit: the idea that people get what they deserve, or should get what they deserve, is baked deep into the dish of our social subconscious It was one thing, says Sandel, when the upper stratus of ...
August 24, 2020
Newly minted Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s best bet for sussing out his Liberal foes is putting his money down on the newly appointed Finance Minister’s eight-year-old manifesto, Robert Joustra writes.
The pandemic opens an opportunity for just the kind of bold agenda that the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Freeland see as necessary to pry open Canada’s Book of Gold before it is set in stone Chrystia Freeland, in her 2012 book Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of ...
August 18, 2020
New Zealand is feted for its pandemic lockdown, but Robert Joustra says the awkward truth of Auckland’s approach is it raises irrational fear even as we’re being fleeced economically.
What does it mean for our own careful reopening of schools and businesses this fall? I think it means no matter how economically suicidal certain policies may appear, uncertain short-run security concerns – that we might get sick – may win the battle for hearts and minds Medium to long range economi...
August 14, 2020
Anne Applebaum’s new book eulogizes the global ruin of classical liberalism as an empty table at a dinner party that former friends refuse to attend, reviewer Robert Joustra writes.
Who can’t name a friend, a family member, a work colleague, that we once knew, laughed with, loved, that is now lost? Those losses hang heavy over Anne Applebaum’s new, beautiful memoir, a long lament for a lost liberalism A certain kind of political animal will find Applebaum’s book a tasteless mem...
August 5, 2020
From historic military meltdowns to last week’s barbecuing of the Kielburger brothers by a Commons committee, being too nice to ask hard questions invariably risks organizational catastrophe, Robert Joustra writes.
WE is really a case study in problems that plague organizations of their kind: they are routinely victims of their own groupthink, saddled with high likeability, mission fidelity, and cultish devotion The paradigmatic case study is, after all, the Bay of Pigs; funding and outfitting a violent coup i...
July 28, 2020
As Turkey reconverts the Hagia Sophia from secular museum to mosque, it risks a deal with the devil by turning religious devotion to political purpose, Robert Joustra writes.
On the other hand, the move by Erdoğan, under an ostensibly secular Turkish state, seems motivated to catalyze a religious nationalism, one out of step with Turkey’s avowedly secular recent past, but very much part of a larger global trend State funding is a significant cause of corruption in religi...
August 27, 2019
Redeemer University College’s Robert Joustra sees protests and violence in Hong Kong as a desperate attempt to fend off autocracy, not the attempt to implant democracy that characterized geopolitical risings a decade ago.
This was the driving question of Henry Kissinger’s serious and important book On China: Can China moderate its rise and accommodate itself to a world order it did not design, and can the world, especially the United States, accommodate itself, its rules, and its order, to the rise of Chinese power? ...
April 24, 2017
Debate rages on whether it’s possible to engage a militantly secular age, or if retreat is, in Leonard Cohen’s words, “the only engine of survival.” Robert Joustra and Alissa Wilkinson in their book How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, Faith & Politics at the End of the World, find the answer in Daniel, a prophet who profited from an apocalypse by his strategic sense of loyalty.
Daniel is our patron saint because religious people, and especially evangelicals, often feel unsettled or out of place in this Secular age Often, we religious types take a hard look at this modern culture, its crisis of individualist authenticity, its slide to subjectivism, its double loss of freedo...
September 12, 2016
Saunders’ own brand of religious freedom can often run a bit indulgent on curious, personal affectations (you don’t eat pork? whatever) but zero tolerance on public manifestation (marriage between husband and wife? Keep it to yourself) Doug Saunders in the weekend’s Globe and Mail calls for public p...
November 19, 2015
The time is therefore ripe for the incoming government to expand the work of the Office of Religious Freedom, increase its funding and interrelationships with other like-minded allied organizations, and to unapologetically put human rights at the centre of Canadian foreign affairs Finally, and third...
February 1, 2015
We're renovating these pages in 2015 to open them up to you, our readers. Each month, we'll send out a question via our weekly emails, Twitter account (@conviviumproj) and our Facebook page (facebook.com/conviviumproject). The next step is up to you: we want to hear your opinions about the topics we're discussing in these pages.
In this issue of Convivium, Andrew Bennett, Ambassador for Canada's Office of Religious Freedom, recounts this tale from his October 2013 visit to Turkey, during which he met with all the different religious communities and had conversations with the ecumenical patriarch, with the Jewish community i...
November 28, 2013
Critics complain this strategy reduces foreign policy to a series of managerial exercises and business deals; it reduces foreign policy to an economic prism Last November, a "leaked copy" of a briefing paper on the new foreign policy strategy made its way into the media, detailing the already unders...
August 28, 2013
The real sadness of Ivison's argument is not that he called attention to the Quebec Charter, but that in doing so he missed the real story that needed to be told that day: the story of an internationalist Canada at work in the world on the bedrock issue of religious freedom ...
August 1, 2013
Guy Gavriel Kay’s fiction takes a quarter-turn to the fantastic. Robert Joustra closes the circle of meaning
His novels move from high fantasy and world building to historical fiction with a quarter-turn from mythology to the religious "In The Lions of Al-Rassan, one of the reasons the book is a fantasy rather than a story about medieval Spain, even though it's very closely modelled on real history, is tha...
April 25, 2013
But in politics, governance culture can be everything, and yesterday in the House of Commons Motion 382 took an important step forward to recognizing not only the high priority of religious freedom in Canadian foreign policy, but also religious literacy generally in its foreign affairs ...
April 19, 2013
NBC's Revolution is one big game theory experiment: if all the power shut off, how would people respond? Or AMC's The Walking Dead: what are the social and moral dynamics of post-apocalyptic survivors? Right down, of course, to Max Brooks' unsurpassed World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, ...
April 12, 2013
But is it true, like Alexis Wichowski has argued, that social media is now so central to good governance, to political and social life, that "to ignore or disdain it would amount to professional malpractice?" Maybe it's not just diplomats disdaining twitter that are guilty of professional malpractic...