The Parkland Institute's publication, The Bottom Line: The Truth Behind Private Health Insurance in Canada, comes with a warning against further privatization of Alberta's health care system. "Experience in Canada and other countries is clear: privatized health financing costs more, not less," said author Diana Gibson, a research director with the Parkland Institute. "We wanted to focus specifically on the funding side of this issue and move the debate beyond rhetoric and ideology and into the realm of evidence."
President Rod Fraser continued to defend free speech this week after the Parkland Institute came under attack from Premier Ralph Klein. He emphasized the need to "protect freedom of expression in the pursuit of our research—freedom to publish, freedom to speak, and freedom to teach." Fraser's remarks were made in the wake of a letter sent to him last week from Klein criticizing the Parkland Institute, a university-funded, left-wing think tank established in January, 1997 to counter right-wing think tanks such as the Fraser and C.D. Howe institutes.
Original: Folio News Story
The Parkland Institute exists because of widespread concern about rapid changes within Alberta's and Canada's political and economic culture. Through scholarly research and public education, Parkland Institute draws attention to and promotes discussion of substantive questions that are central to political dialogue in Alberta and Canada. It is an Alberta research network that is affiliated with the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta. The non-partisan Institute was founded in 1996 to counteract such organizations as the Fraser and C.D. Howe Institutes.
Although the Institute often raises the ire of provincial politicians with its reports that are opposed to government policy and practice, it is an apolitical organization that has supporters from all political parties.
Parkland Institute conducts research within the long-established intellectual approach of Canadian political economy. Political economy is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on economics, history, business, anthropology, sociology, and political science to uncover material and conceptual linkages among aspects of our society.
The research done at the Parkland Institute is in the areas of Alberta vs British Columbia policy lessons, conflict of interest, education, electricity deregulation, energy, health, media, poverty, and rural issues. The Institute shares the results of its research widely and promotes discussion of the issues its research raises.
Parkland Institute collaborates with post-secondary scholars who are involved in interdisciplinary and socially-engaged thinking. In the broader Alberta community, the Institute works with religious organizations, professionals, trade unionists, the arts community, non-profit organizations, environmentalists, feminists, social movement activists, private sector individuals, and other interested individuals.
The Institute co-publishes books and reports on numerous aspects of public policy in Alberta, as well as The Parkland Post. The Parkland Institute is involved in organizing such conferences as 'Treading Water; Workers, Wages, and the Boom,' which looks at the impacts of the boom on Alberta workers and their families. The Institute also offers a yearly student essay contest open to students at any level in Alberta.
The Institute also holds an annual conference which has had high-profile speakers such as John Ralston Saul, Helen Caldicott, Maude Barlow, Naomi Klein, and Linda McQuaig.
There are over 800 individual and organizational members of the Parkland Institute, whose small staff and Director are housed at the University of Alberta. The Board of Directors includes representatives of the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge, and Athabasca, as well as the other colleges of Alberta. The other half of the Board includes representatives from the community, unions, professional associations, private sector, and community organizations. The Board also attempts to maintain gender balance and regional representation throughout Alberta.
To read more about the Parkland Institute, please visit its website.