President's Message - Issue 74

Spring 2010 CSANews Issue 74  |  Posted date : May 27, 2010.Back to list

As many of our Ontario members are aware, Ontario was the only place in North America that failed to permit absentee mail-in balloting in provincial elections. Voters enjoyed this right in the rest of Canada, all 50 U.S. states and Mexico. After years of lobbying by your association, the Ontario government has finally taken action to right this electoral wrong.

On December 8, 2009, Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley introduced a bill for first reading in the legislative assembly of Ontario that would permit Ontario travellers to vote by absentee ballot in provincial elections. On May 3, 2010, the bill passed with the support of both the Liberal and Progressive Conservative members of the assembly. If you follow Ontario politics, you know that this doesn't happen every day!

After eight years of the CSA formally lobbying two different provincial governments and probably a few years of informal lobbying before that, snowbirds will now be able to vote by mail in provincial elections. This victory is a result of all the hard work which the association has undertaken, lobbying both government and opposition politicians alike. Once again, a sincere thanks to our members for all of their support and donations to the Special Action Fund that helped make this happen. You can read a far more in-depth report on this big win elsewhere in this edition of CSANews. I encourage all of you to read it, as I think that it does a nice job of illustrating how the work of this association gets things done!

It was a busy winter with plenty of travel and many meetings. My wife Lois and I kicked off our travels at the annual Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland, Florida. Every year, there seem to be more and more people at this incredible event. With all of the talk about the global economic recession, you might think that the numbers may have been down this year, but you and I know better. Snowbirds are some of the most experienced and savvy travellers in the world and they proved it again by attending this two-day event in record numbers. The quality of the entertainment and information presented is second to none and it is provided entirely free of charge. I would like to welcome the newest member of your board of directors, Marianna Pupulin, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time in Lakeland. Marianna will serve as an Ontario director and we are all looking forward to working with her on your behalf.

I would also like to thank Don Gardiner and his wife Alice for their time and service leading the CSA during the last two years. Don's passionate dedication to improving and protecting the rights and privileges of travelling Canadians will always be cherished.

Following the Florida Extravaganza, we were off to beautiful South Padre Island, Texas for the Winter Texans' Snowbird Extravaganza and then on to Mesa, Arizona for the Canadian Snowbird Celebration. These meetings throughout the southern and western United States are invaluable to both me and your board of directors as they give us an opportunity to meet and update you, our members, on what the association has been undertaking on your behalf. They also give us an opportunity to listen to your questions and comments. It is important for us to know what you think is working and what you think needs to be tweaked and improved upon in order for us to do our jobs as effectively as we possibly can.

After attending these larger gatherings, Lois and I embarked on the CSA's annual round of Winter Information Meetings. This year, we stopped in Indio, California and Yuma, Arizona before heading back to Florida for meetings in Largo, Panama City Beach and Port Charlotte. Although the turnout for Winter Information Meetings is smaller than that for our other shows, these really give us an opportunity for more in-depth interaction with all of the attendees. Again, I met many of our wonderful members and heard some good ideas and suggestions that I will take forward to your board of directors. Having so many passionate and engaged members certainly helps me do my job and I sincerely thank you.

I would also like to thank everyone who donated so generously to our Special Action Fund. The money raised for this fund is dedicated to our lobbying efforts when we meet with politicians and decision-makers on both sides of the border. Finally, I would like to thank the hundreds of dedicated volunteers who come out year after year to help us put on these magnificent events. We sincerely could not pull it off without your help. Thank you!

This winter, I had the pleasure of attending many of the provincial picnics to which I know so many of you always look forward. This winter's picnics were represented by the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island. I am also happy to report that I attended the first-ever Ontario picnic at Fort Desoto Park, which was very successful. The CSA plays a leading role in sponsoring these day-long celebrations which allow Canadians to meet their snowbird neighbours and just relax while listening to live music over a picnic lunch. There are also numerous friendships made which have the added benefit of being deepened over the odd round of summer golf or backyard barbecue back in our home provinces. To all the volunteers who make these annual gatherings such a success, my thanks.

The long-anticipated third edition of The Canadian Travellers' Report Card was officially released at the Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland. It is a critical tool when we sit down with our elected officials and members of the media. I strongly encourage all of you to read it so that you will be aware of the latest developments in government policy pertaining to travellers in your home province or territory. You can read more about this in the government relations column and the report is available online at www.snowbirds.org.

Have a great summer relaxing with family and friends!




Related links
President's Message - Fall 2009
Presdent's Message - Winter 2009