President's Message Issue 68

Fall 2008 CSANews Issue 68  |  Posted date : Sep 19, 2008.Back to list

I trust that everyone has been enjoying a relaxing summer at home in Canada. With fall right around the corner, it is almost time to start contemplating another winter snowbird travel season. This was my first summer as your new president and I was out and about attending political functions and meeting with various government officials. One of the things that struck me most, is how familiar our elected officials are with the CSA and the concerns of our members. That is a direct result of your support and the hard work of our presidents and board of directors, both past and present. On that note, I would like to thank all of you who have renewed your membership over the summer. As a small token of our appreciation, we have provided you with a newly expanded and updated edition of our popular CSA Travel Information Guide. The information contained in this new 2008 edition is – alone – worth the price of membership. We have received many compliments regarding our inaugural 2004 edition and 2005 supplement. I am confident that you will find this edition just as useful.

In July, at the invitation of U.S. ambassador to Canada the Honourable David Wilkins and U.S. Consul General Harold Foster, my wife Alice and I attended Fourth of July celebrations aboard the USS Winston S. Churchill moored in Halifax harbour. This was also a celebration of the 175th founding of the U.S. consulate. Consul General Foster co-hosted the event with Commander Fred Pyle, commanding officer of the USS Winston S. Churchill. Guests at the event included the lieutenant-governors of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, U.S. congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Canadian MPs and senators, several provincial cabinet ministers and leadership from the Canadian Forces and the RCMP. It was a tremendous opportunity to put our issues before some very influential people on both sides of the border, and I did just that.

I recently discussed some of the concerns of our Québec members in an August meeting with federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities the Honourable Lawrence Cannon. In addition to his responsibility as minister of transport, minister Cannon is also responsible for 16 crown corporations including Canada Post and Via Rail, and is widely considered to be Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Québec lieutenant. As our Québec members are well aware, Québec's practice of reimbursing residents a maximum of $100 per day for emergency out-of-province health services is a contravention of the Canada Health Act. I look forward to working with Minister Cannon on this issue in the fall.

Also in August, I, along with CSA first vice-president Bob Slack met with Ontario Opposition leader John Tory and Leeds-Grenville MPP Bob Runciman. As you may have guessed, we discussed the Ontario government's continued violation of the portability section of the Canada Health Act. We are planning an event for the fall session of the Ontario legislature that will finally give us an opportunity to sit down with members of all three parties (in the same room) to discuss the concerns of our members and how we can move the ball down the field. I will update you about our progress in the winter edition of CSANews.

I have just concluded meetings with senior officials in the New Brunswick Ministry of Health regarding our proposed changes to the New Brunswick provincial drug program. New Brunswick only directly covers the cost of up to a 100-day supply of prescription medication. Obviously, a 100-day supply is insufficient for the six-month trip that a New Brunswicker may take while still maintaining health coverage. A traveller requiring more than a 100-day supply has two options – pay for an additional supply and submit the receipt for reimbursement or make arrangements with the pharmacy to have an additional supply sent abroad. This can create all sorts of problems with getting the medication cleared at the border, not to mention the significant cost. I am hopeful that I will soon be able to announce some positive news on this front for our New Brunswick members.

If you live in the Maritimes, please mark your calendars for the dates of the upcoming Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations. This year, we will be visiting Halifax, Moncton and both St. John's, Newfoundland and Saint John, New Brunswick. Our Ontario friends can catch our shows in Elliot Lake, North Bay, Sarnia, Port Hope and Nepean. You will see some great entertainment and learn the latest about what your association and our friends at Medipac are doing for you, our members. Don't forget that admission is always free and please don't hesitate to spread the word and bring your friends – even if they are not yet members. Dates, times and specific locations can be found elsewhere in this edition of CSANews, as well as on our website.

One last bit of news before I wrap this up...we have an exciting new and improved website! Please have a look at www.snowbirds.org. We also have a special password-protected section for the exclusive use of our members. Please use your CSA membership number as your Login ID and the last four digits of your telephone number as your password. If you experience any problems, just call the CSA office and we will be more than happy to assist you.

It has been a busy summer! My wife Alice and I wish all of you a safe journey this fall. We hope to see you soon at one of our fall Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations.

Pic 1: (L-R) Bob Runciman, MPP Leeds-Grenville; Don Gardiner, CSA
President; Bob Slack, CSA First Vice-President.

Pic 2: (L-R) Don Gardiner, CSA President; John Tory, Ontario Leader of
the Official Opposition; Bob Slack, CSA First Vice-President.

Pic 3: (L-R) Bob Slack, CSA First Vice-President; The Hon. Lawrence
Cannon, Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and
Communities; Don Gardiner, CSA President.