Government Relations Report Issue 49

Winter 2003 CSANews Issue 49  |  Posted date : May 02, 2007.Back to list

For the past six years, it has been my honour to chair the Canadian Snowbird Association's Government Relations Committee. I am extremely proud of our association and, in particular, of the work accomplished by this group.

During my eight years as a director, it has been my pleasure to work with presidents Don Slinger, Bob Jackson and Ellen White. Each of them was unique in his or her manner of overseeing the association's activities, and all three were proactive, keeping the well-being of the association uppermost in their thoughts. I have no doubt that without the leadership that has been exhibited, we as an association would not be in the strong position we are in today.

I never cease to be impressed with the time and dedication our volunteer board of directors and our staff in Toronto put forth on behalf of the CSA. These ingredients are the reasons for our success.

When the association began in 1992, there was a vision and a goal that we would effect positive change on behalf of Canada's travellers. We are succeeding. Whether it was the discussions held with government leaders or our appearance on Capitol Hill, the CSA has always strived to ensure that our members are our foremost concern.

In terms of longevity, the Canadian Snowbird Association is still in its infancy. Over the course of a very few years, we have done much to elevate our profile before the government, the media and the public. Our original Steering Committee ­ Art Jackson, Jack Parry, Frank Oliver, Evelyn Goodings and Don Slinger ­ are to be commended for their drive and foresight. Two of the original members, Jack Parry and Don Slinger, went on to lead the association as president.

In recent times, we have been honoured to have been asked to appear before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology as well as the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. We've been invited to closed-door meetings to discuss changes to passports and we've travelled across the country, meeting with government officials from every province and territory.

Our Canadian Travellers' Report Card was the culmination of two years' effort, and I would like to commend the members of my committee, all of whom supported this endeavour from its inception. This sound document has opened doors for us and provides us with a measure against which future results will be judged.

The Canadian Snowbird Association's Special Action Fund (SAF) is 10 years old this year. The SAF, which is integral to the success of our many advocacy initiatives, is funded entirely by our members. There is a cost to doing business - especially that which is designed to sway government opinion. Your generosity has enabled us to continue moving mountains, and I urge you all to make a donation to this very important fund.

Through much soul-searching, my wife, Barb, and I have decided that it is time to retire - again. Although my participation on the CSA's board of directors will come to an end, I will continue to promote and support its endeavours at every opportunity. We are thankful to have made so many new friends through the CSA, both as members of the board and members of the association.

I encourage you all to get involved with the CSA in some way - you have a new board of directors assuming their places in January, and they are doing so with your best interests in mind. If you have friends who enjoy travelling and are not members of the CSA, tell them to call us. I you belong to Canada Club in the States and you are looking for guest speakers or can use some assistance with your down-home days while you winter in the south, give us a call.

There are numerous Extravaganzas and Winter Information Meetings throughout the Sunbelt - take the opportunity to come out and hear what the association has to say and, at the same time, enjoy some fabulous entertainment.

I would like to thank you for your support of the CSA. I look forward to seeing it enjoy many more successes in the future. In the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, "Happy trails to you."