Executive Director's Report Issue 46

Spring 2003 CSANews Issue 46  |  Posted date : Apr 15, 2007.Back to list

The CSA was asked to attend the groundbreaking delivery of the Ontario budget this year. Rather than bringing down the budget in the legislature as had been done since 1867, the government decided to 'bring down' this year's budget at an industrial training site and use various technological advancements to involve other cabinet ministers in the delivery and the public in discussion. By utilizing satellite locations across the province, the government was able to invite representatives from various organizations, who had made pre-budget submissions, to attend the budget delivery. The public was able to participate by e-mailing questions to the premier and the minister of finance at the conclusion of the formal budget presentation. In all, it was a very interesting format but the inevitable question of legality was brought forward before Budget day. This provided the basis for considering a constitutional challenge by members of the Tory caucus itself. As a historian, I was at first in agreement with the dissenters and uncomfortable with stepping away from the manner in which things had been done in the past. However, with the media attention focused on this break from tradition and its ongoing coverage of the political/legal challenge, I couldn't help but notice that people who, in the past, would not have even known that a budget was being delivered were talking about it. Finally, a budget was in the public eye. To me, this was a great thing.

The next major break with tradition with which we, as a nation, dealt was Canada's choice not to participate as a combatant in the Iraqi War. Historically, Canada has sided with Great Britain and the United States in any conflict or insurrection. Prime Minister Chrétien broke with a traditional, historical pattern and decided to stand with the United Nations. Having made this decision for Canada, it was important for the Prime Minister to be our sole spokesperson. It was a shame that, through a veil of ignorance, other politicians embarrassed us with un-statesmanlike behaviour. Insulting the leader and the people of a neighbouring country during a time of war is truly regrettable. Perhaps it is time that some of our elected representatives remember that they are not elected to air their personal opinions but, rather, to represent the voting populace. I don't think that any Canadians, regardless of their feeling regarding the war, appreciated the comments attributed to key members of the government.

As society moves forward, ongoing change which breaks or disrupts a pattern set in the past continually occurs. Even in our own little world of CSA we are on the verge of seeing massive demographic shifts that will impact the former lifestyle of our members. Retirees are leaving work earlier and rather than settling in one location, they are travelling to various locales in the South and in fact, the world. As an association, we are preparing to service two groups: those who have been retired for years and live what has been branded as the 'snowbird' lifestyle and those about to retire. Both groups have different needs and interests that will require ongoing support by our association.

Upon reflection, tradition in CSA is not the 'who' we serve but the 'how' we serve. Commitment, Service and Advocacy express the fundamental principles and traditional attributes of CSA. I guess the more we change, the more CSA stays the same.