President's Message Issue 42

Spring 2002 CSANews Issue 42  |  Posted date : Apr 05, 2007.Back to list

Members of the Canadian Snowbird Association, I can think of no better way to start my first president's report than with a heartfelt thank you. I am honoured to have been acclaimed president of the Canadian Snowbird Association, and I give you my word that I will work diligently on your behalf and in the best interests of our association. As we enter our 10th year of service, the CSA is on better footing than it has ever been before.

My inauguration into the presidency could be considered by some to be trial by fire. Immediately following our Annual General Meeting, we embarked on our Western Extravaganzas in Arizona, Texas and California, followed by a Winter Information Meeting tour in Florida and Arizona. It was a remarkable experience, meeting thousands of our members and non-members alike. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to speak with me, and I look forward to seeing you all at next year's events.

While on my western trek, some members told me that they had been stopped at the border by officials who stated that they could bring in only a 50-day supply of prescription medications. However, a perusal of their documents shows that this applies to Americans crossing from Canada. Canadians may bring their six-month supply, but should keep it in the prescription containers when crossing the border.

We have a number of new members on our board of directors and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome each into the fold. Peter Sloggett, representing British Columbia, is chair of our membership committee and a member of our finance committee. Michael Wedekind is our new Alberta director and has joined our government relations and bylaws committees. Harley Sundbo, Saskatchewan's representative, will join the finance and bylaws committees. Ontario has two new directors ­ Jack Mann and Lewis Kehoe. Both Jack and Lewis will be members of our special events committee. As well, Jack is also on the communications committee and Lewis is on the francophone committee.

Along with an experienced executive, I look forward to the insight that our new board of directors will bring to the table.

This past winter, we definitely proved that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Further to our "open letter' to Commissioner Romanow which appeared in the Winter 2001 edition of CSA News, we received a call from the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada inviting me to present before Mr. Romanow in Toronto ­ in one week's time.

Our appearance was interesting for a number of reasons. It was an opportunity for us to hear the positions of other organizations and individuals ­ as well as those who did not agree with the viewpoints being expressed. Mr. Romanow was receptive to our comments, and asked for further information and data that is now being collated by our executive director to be sent to him.

When I stepped into this position, I expected the unexpected ­ but even I could not imagine the magnitude of recent events, nor how quickly they would unfold. As some of you are aware, recently the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) proposed a profound regulatory change that could negatively impact the lifestyles of snowbirds. Our CSA staff began to work on it immediately with great results thus far. We were forwarded a copy of a letter from Florida governor, Jeb Bush's office to the INS (see page 11) outlining his concern over the proposed changes, as well as stating his support for those ("our nation's most loyal and treasured friends") who choose to visit his state. Please look to the executive director's report for information and action taken to date on this important issue.

After a great deal of deliberation, the board of directors has decided to implement a fee increase to a flat rate of $20. A member's spouse will be provided a full membership at no additional cost. We have not raised our membership rates since 1995 and, in the past seven years, we have seen the cost of doing business (printing, mailing, salaries, to name a few) more than double. We trust that you will support us in this, as we are all affected by today's increased costs. The membership rate increase will go into effect May 1, 2002 for new members, and on our annual renewal date of July 1, 2002 for existing members.

Appearing before the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada and working closely with our Department of Foreign Affairs with regard to the INS proposed changes, I believe, are just precursors of the great things to come. I am looking forward to the next two years with great anticipation ­ we have a strong board of directors who are excited about their new roles within the association, a dedicated, behind-the-scenes staff, and members who have told us, loudly and clearly, that they want to be involved.

I cannot think of a better way for a presidency to start.