President's Message Issue 62

Spring 2007 CSANews Issue 62  |  Posted date : Jun 06, 2007.Back to list

I have now begun my final year as president of our association. It started off with plenty of travel and many meetings.

One part of those travels that was not enjoyable was attending the funeral of an old friend, Don Slinger. Don was one of the CSA's founders and, if not for his work and dedication, we would not have the great association that exists today. It was a great shock to both Joan and I when we heard of Don's passing. We shared a table with Don and his wife Beth at the last Extravaganza and, at that time, he was his same old hearty self. Many of you will recall seeing Don at the main doors of the Extravaganza welcoming everyone with a big smile and, for many, a big bear hug. The association will miss Don, but he will never be forgotten. As Don always finished his column in the CSANews – God bless.

Prior to the two-day Florida Extravaganza, we held our French-Canadian Winter Information Meeting in Pompano Beach, Florida. Following the two-day Extravaganza at Lakeland, it was off to South Padre Island, Texas for the two-day Winter Texans' Snowbird Extravaganza, and then on to McAllen, Texas for a Winter Information Meeting. We then flew to Phoenix, Arizona for the Canadian Snowbird Celebration in Mesa and from there, we were on the road again to Yuma, Arizona for another Winter Information Meeting. The next day, we were off by road to Indio, California and then Laughlin, Nevada – our first trip to this area. The following day, we drove to Las Vegas to catch a flight to Guadalajara, Mexico. Once in Mexico, we drove to Lake Chapala for our first-ever Winter Information Meeting in Mexico. As many members vacation in this area, the turnout was very good. It was then back to Florida for Winter Information Meetings in Ocala, Panama City Beach, Daytona, Manatee, Port Charlotte and, lastly, Clearwater. While in Clearwater, we attended the Ontario Provincial Police Veterans' Association luncheon. These numerous meetings across the southern United States gave us an opportunity to meet and inform our members of the work done by the association on their behalf. It also afforded us the opportunity to listen to questions and comments from local members. A highlight, of course, was the number of attendees who signed up as new CSA members! I would like to thank everyone who attended the meetings for their support, as well as those who donated so generously to our Special Action Fund. The money raised is used for travel to meet with politicians across our two great countries. I would be remiss if I didn't also thank the numerous volunteers who helped to promote the meetings in advance of our arrival, as well as helping on the day of the event.

This year, you will notice that we have increased the cost of membership to $25.00 per couple. This is the first increase in five years and results from the rising cost of communications and printing. CSA membership is still the best value for the money.

Many of you in Florida are concerned about the rising cost of property taxes and insurance. In December, together with our legal counsel Wallace Weylie, I made a presentation to the property tax reform committee in Tampa. A copy of our brief can be found on our website at www.snowbirds.org. We will continue to keep on top of this problem and the problem of property insurance.

Closer to home, we have the problem with the provinces failing to obey the Canada Health Act. The portability section of the act states (section 11), Residents who are temporarily absent from their home province or territory or from Canada, must continue to be covered for insured health-care services during their absence. This allows individuals to travel or be absent from their home province or territory, within a prescribed duration, while retaining their health insurance coverage. The portability criterion does not entitle a person to seek services in another province, territory or country, but is intended to permit one to receive necessary services in relation to an urgent or emergent need when absent on a temporary basis, such as on business or vacation.

If insured persons are temporarily absent in another province or territory, the portability criterion requires that insured services be paid at the host province's rate. If insured persons are temporarily out of the country, insured services are to be paid at the host province's rate.

I think that the act is clear enough. I encourage everyone to write to their provincial and federal members of Parliament, as well as to those politicians in opposition. Remind them of the act. Snowbirds have paid their taxes for all of their working lives and are still paying their taxes even when absent for a given vacation period. We should, therefore, receive the same treatment as a person who decides not to travel. We should not be discriminated against just because we decide to travel.

I am pleased to inform you that following my meeting with federal Minister of Health Tony Clement, he has written to every provincial and territorial minister of health reminding them of their obligation with respect to the Canada Health Act. This letter can be seen on another page of CSANews, as well as on our website at www.snowbirds.org. We must now hope that the ministers will obey the act and pay the same amount for out-of-country emergency health care as they pay for in-country health care.

This year is an election year for the association. If you are interested in becoming a member of the board of directors, now is the time for you to send in your resumé. We need directors for all areas. If you feel that you have something to contribute to the association, please apply. An independent nomination committee has been appointed. The job of this committee will be to examine all resumés and produce a slate of candidates for the members to consider.

I would like to welcome everyone back to Canada and hope that you all enjoy a pleasant and healthy summer. I hope that many of you will join us in the fall for our series of Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations.