President's Message Issue 58

Spring 2006 CSANews Issue 58  |  Posted date : May 27, 2007.Back to list

Well, here I am again, putting pen to paper, or should I say putting fingers to the computer. The office staff has reminded me that my report for the CSANews is due.

for those of you who are unaware, at the Annual General Meeting held in Lakeland in January 2006, I was elected for a second term as your president. This will give me an opportunity to continue working on several issues that are of concern to all of our members and, in fact, to anyone who travels out of his or her province. I am talking of course about the Canada Health Act and the amount of time for which residents are allowed to be absent from their province and still be allowed to receive benefits under their provincial health plan. These are just two of the issues that concern us at this time.

In 2002, the CSA put together a "report card" in which we rated the federal, provincial and territorial governments on five areas of concern to travellers. We rated the governments with grades from A to f, just as we used to get rated in school. I can tell you that there were not too many A's. This report card was sent to every politician and to the media in the hope that the governments would try to improve their ratings. We met with politicians across Canada in an effort to get them to obey the Canada Health Act and to get them to understand that Canadians should have the right to travel freely anywhere in Canada at any time, without the fear of losing their health-care privileges. After all, we are Canadians and should not be held prisoners by the province in which we reside.

This year, we have put together a new "report card" which is being sent once again to all politicians and the media. I, together with our directors, will be visiting our politicians in an effort to get them to improve their ratings in the report card.

Since my last report, we have had a federal election and now have a new government. I will be meeting with members of this new government in the near future.

You can read more about the report card in the Government Relations Report.

At the Annual General Meeting, we also had two new directors appointed. In central Canada, we are pleased to have Malcolm Joyce and his wife Jessie back with us. Malcolm was a director on the board for six years. He took two years off and I am pleased that he has decided to once again represent our members in Central Canada. In Ontario, our Ottawa director Lew Kehoe has retired. During his terms in office, Lew worked hard on behalf of our members. He was first vice-president and chair of the Government Relations Committee, which was responsible for putting together the latest report card. Lew's place on the board has been filled by Robert (Bob) Slack who, with his wife Lois, is a welcome addition to the board. Both Malcolm and Bob have already started working at our Winter Information Meetings, picnics and grassroots meetings.

Your board of directors has decided to regionalize itself. This now gives us a western director Jim Sherb (British Columbia and Alberta), a central director Malcolm Joyce (Saskatchewan and Manitoba), a Qu�bec director Roland Belanger, an atlantic director Don Gardiner and three Ontario directors, namely Nancy Hopcraft in northern Ontario, Bob Slack in southern Ontario and of course myself, who is also serving as your president.

When the recent federal election was called, Jean Pierre Kingsley, the Chief Electoral Officer, contacted the CSA for assistance. Mr. Kingsley and I issued a joint press release advising Canadians of the out-of-country voting procedures. The CSA sent registration packages with instructions to every member. Our directors also distributed registration packages to parks in their areas across the southern U.S. I also visited Canadian Consul General Marcy Grossman in her Miami office and advised her staff to direct people to our website with respect to questions on voting procedures.

I was also interviewed twice by the CBC, which was subsequently aired across Canada. I am pleased to say that Elections Canada was overwhelmed by the response which they received.

During the months of February and March, we travelled across the southern states holding our Winter Information Meetings. These meetings consisted of information given by myself, Hazen Walters who discussed Medipac, and Dr. Robert (Bob) MacMillan who advised us on health issues. Following the presentations, we had a question- and-answer period. The local director in each area then presented some added-value benefits of CSA membership, which was followed by an hour of excellent entertainment. These meetings gave us an opportunity to meet our members, listen to their concerns and sign up new
members.

Once back in Florida, my wife Joan and I, together with director Malcolm Joyce, attended the Prince Edward Island picnic in St Petersburg. More than 700 people enjoyed a pleasant day of entertainment and companionship. I was able to tell them that Prince Edward Island is the only provincial government currently obeying the portability section of the Canada Health Act.

In the very near future, Florida Governor Jeb Bush will be joining me on AM 740 in Toronto to discuss the new passport issue and the high cost of property insurance offered through Citizens Property Insurance Corporation in Florida. For those of you who are unable to hear our regular radio broadcast, you can now go online at www.snowbirds.org and click on "Sunday Showcase" to hear either Chris Bradbury of Medipac International or myself give the CSA report. Broadcasts of past shows are also available online.

As I am writing this, many members are on their way back to Canada. By the time you read this, I myself will be back home. I wish everyone a safe trip and I look forward to seeing you at our Lifestyle meetings in the fall.