Miriam’s Regent Park CHC Retirement Speech

Dear friends and co-workers,

I really want to tell you how much I have loved working here with you all.

I think this is really a unique place – I have worked in other settings in medicine including other CHC’s and I have never come across the kind of dedication and cohesive vision of justice and decency that I have found among the people that work in this organization.

It is of course what is needed to work here in this community but it is remarkable and it has been an honour to be part of it.

The challenges of keeping this model of health care intact are increasing. The CHC model is under attack by the same forces that are at play everywhere led by short-sighted and dim-viewed players who do not see or want to see the larger complex picture and are often driven by a corporate-type mentality.

We are also seeing increasing social and economic inequaility here in Canada and all over the world – truly the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer and human rights are increasingly violated to maintain this. We don’t need more and more studies to tell us about the consequences of this. We need governments and societies to take the measures to that will tax corporations fairly and pay people a decent income that can sustain their health and their children’s health and engage people in meaningful ways. And we need much more decent and affordable housing.

You folks are doing such a great job here. I’ll truly miss you all – from my neighbours at 465 to the folks in the other sites such as PFBB and Pathways.

To quote from our dear Cynthia Burke: “You don’t just want Band-Aid care, but comprehensive care. It is about helping people live the best life they can have.”

I think that is what you folks all try to do every single day.

I wish you all the very best and I certainly promise that I’ll stay in touch.

Miriam Garfinkle – September 2014