Parkland Institute

Ricardo Acuña

Ricardo is the Executive Director of the Parkland Institute, Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta – a position he has held since May 2002.  Previous to that he worked for nine years as Projects Coordinator for Change for Children Association, an Alberta-based international development organization working in Latin America. He has a degree in Political Science and History from the University of Alberta, and has over 20 years experience as a volunteer, staffer and consultant for various non-government and non-profit organizations around the province. Ricardois a regular speaker to students, teachers, and community groups around Alberta. He has spoken extensively and written on energy policy, democracy, privatization and the Alberta economy.  He is a regular media commentator on public policy issues, and writes a regular column for VueWeekly in Edmonton.

Recent post stories by Ricardo Acuña


Musical deck chairs

It’s unclear whether health-care governance changes will have any beneficial impact

Hey, didn't these deck chairs look different yesterday?  Many Albertans, especially those who work in our health system, were likely asking that very question on Sept. 10 as, for the fourth time in 20 years, the Alberta Government announced a major restructuring of governance at Alberta Health Services.  The announcement was made at a press conference by Health Minister Fred Horne, AHS CEO Chris Eagle and Janet Davidson, the consultant hired to run and review AHS governance last summer.  Horne appointed Davidson in June after he followed up his very public spat with the AHS board by firing all of its members. Davidson was ultimately engaged to be the official administrator of AHS, but she was also asked to conduct a thorough review and make recommendations about governance at the arms-length health authority. Read more...


Faith in privatization creates bigger provincial debts

I In 1994, Ralph Klein's Minister of Municipal Affairs, Dr Steve West, made the following statement in the Alberta Legislature: "I'll make this boldest of statements: There isn't a government operation, a government business, a Crown corporation that is as efficient as the private sector, and indeed they're 20 – 40 per cent less efficient.  You don't have to do a study. You can guarantee it because of the structure in the way they run their economics." In many ways, that short statement perfectly encapsulated the attitude of the entire Klein government, and subsequently the Stelmach government, towards privatization of public services—they didn't care what the evidence said, they didn't care what examples from other jurisdictions demonstrated, they simply believed with all their hearts that the private sector was more efficient than the public sector, and as far as they were concerned, that made it so. Read more...