Government Relations Report Issue 41

Winter 2001 CSANews Issue 41  |  Posted date : Apr 03, 2007.Back to list

On November 8, 2001, a delegation from the Canadian Snowbird Association was invited to attend and present at the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology to discuss the Association's view of the committee's interim report.

Bob Jackson was called forward as a witness for the CSA and made our presentation to a panel of five senators. Upon his conclusion, it was made abundantly clear that this was not a committee that intended for its findings to remain on a shelf but, rather, committee chair, Senator Margery LeBreton, stated that they want action on their recommendations. Senator Brenda Robertson commented that she believed that the CSA is getting minimal results for the campaigns that have been waged and asked Mr. Jackson how should the federal government deal with our issues. Mr. Jackson stated that, although the Canada Health Act was in the realm of the federal government, the CSA had not had much success getting the federal government to enforce the Portability Principle - Section 11(1)(b)(ii). We have turned to the provinces to try and achieve compliance. Senator Robertson felt that the federal government should take responsibility for the act, to ensure that it is followed, and that the federal government should treat the provinces like any "citizen breaking the law." It was agreed that the committee would take the CSA issues as presented, namely compliance with the Canada Health Act, residency requirements and uniform drug policies, and bring them directly to Allan Rock so that the situation can be remedied.

We are extremely appreciative of having been given the opportunity to appear before the committee, and look forward to the outcome.

Manitoba Health Minister David ChomiakOur meeting with Manitoba's Health Minister David Chomiak, was most enlightening. Previous to this, we (the CSA) had been under the impression that the "comfort letters" that we had received from various provinces allowing additional travel beyond 182 days were simply words on paper. Minister Chomiak and his staff clearly informed us that these letters were/are a "minister's interpretation of public policy...and the minute the minister puts it into writing, it becomes policy." Minister Chomiak was very open to our discussion on amending Manitoba's residency requirements and we have been asked to work in conjunction with his ministry to re-word the regulation.

While Manitoba is doing well in its compliance with the Canada Health Act, the per diem rates are still not indexed to reflect yearly changes. The Assistant Deputy Minister of Health, Mr. Rick Dedi, assigned a staff person to prepare an analysis of the indexing issue and promised to share it with us shortly.

On Tuesday, November 13, the final submissions for the legal tender to work on our National Evaluation were received. I am very pleased to announce that we will be working with the law firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon towards the launch of what I expect to be a continuing initiative. I look forward to presenting a solid evaluation to both our membership and all Canadians in the spring.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me the privilege of being chair of the CSA Government Relations Committee. It has been an exciting term of office and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I have been nominated for the position of first vice-president of the association, and I look forward to continuing to serve both our board of directors and our members.

In the coming year, I encourage you all to get involved ­ no matter how small ­ because as we've learned over the past 10 years, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The Canadian Snowbird Association has enjoyed many successes, and I believe that's largely due to perseverance. If enough people make their opinions heard, then our nation's politicians may just start to listen.

On behalf of my wife Barbara, please accept our best wishes for a safe, happy and healthy holiday season.