Terry Haffner with the stump of the tree planted in his father’s memory.
“It felt like digging up his grave,” said Terry Haffner.
A housekeeper at Kingston’s Providence Care, Haffner was disturbed to find a memorial garden to long-serving staff had been cut down and the plaques removed by the hospital without any notice to the families of the deceased or the union who had represented them.
One of those deceased staff members was Terry’s dad Neil, who had worked at the former Kingston Psychiatric hospital from 1961 to his retirement in 1993. Neil passed away in 1996.
When Neil’s tree was planted, his son kept it watered and tended in the early days until it grew hardy enough to withstand the extremes in weather so close to the lake.
It was Terry’s father who told him to apply for a job at the mental health centre in the 1980s. His dad recognized that the heavy construction work his son was doing at the time would be difficult to maintain as he got older. For many years they travelled to work together.
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You have to feel a little bit for the MPPs that are sitting on the all-party Standing Committee on Social Policy. Somehow in the sweet victory of election night it is unlikely the elated victors dreamed of this – spending hour upon hour in a room listening to a long succession of 15-minute presentations, frequently left with a minute at the end to ask a question and receive a somewhat truncated answer. If it weren’t for the question, the MPPs could probably just zone out at will.
We were in Kingston yesterday to make our recommendations to the Standing Committee on the thorny question of what to do with the Local Health Integration Networks.
The hearings were mandated by the legislation that created the LHINs. They were supposed to take place in 2011, but that timing was just not convenient to the Liberals who had a general election to fight. Talking about the LHINs was likely not the route to victory.
On this day one presenter told an MPP afterwards that she was impressed by her question. It demonstrated that somebody was actually listening. Clearly the expectations by the public are not all that high.
We have to admit we like the angry presenters better, not so much for the politics, but at least to keep us from nodding off. It’s not that the presenters were necessarily boring, but more of a question of just too much information.
Each person usually begins with a lengthy descriptor of where they fit within the health system, kind of a Where’s Waldo prerequisite.
We were by no means the exception to that rule, although on this day we erred on the angry side (even if the Blueberry pancakes were giving this writer kind of a nice warm feeling inside).
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