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ois and I have just arrived in sunny
Florida and we are both looking
forward to spending the winter with
many of our old friends and neighbours.
We were fortunate enough to meet
many of you and make some new snow-
bird friends at our latest round of fall
Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations held in
September. This year, we began our round
of shows inOntariowith stops in Richmond
Hill, Guelph, Parry Sound and Brockville.
We then headed east to Moncton and
Fredericton, New Brunswick before our last
stop in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
Many of our members brought friends and
relatives who are embracing the snowbird
lifestyle for the frst time, and we were
fortunate enough to sign up many new
One of the great benefts of our
Lifestyle Presentations is that I get an
opportunity to hear directly from many
of you on a wide range of issues. Without
doubt, the one issue that was raised time
and again was the status of our eforts in
lobbying the United States Congress for
the introduction of a Retired Persons’ Visa.
I’m happy to report that we have made
some serious progress and, on October 20,
2011 a bill was introduced in the United
States Senate that would create just such
a visa for Canadian citizens over the age
of 50. We still have a great deal of work to
do in order to make it a reality, but this is
very encouraging news. The bottom line is
that our hard work is beginning to pay of
and the politicians in Washington seem to
fnally be listening. Jim Sherb covers this
issue in greater detail in his Government
Relations Report.
Another beneft of our Lifestyle
Presentations is that we use them as an
opportunity to drop in on local politicians
when we are in town. It’s a great way to
keep our issues front and centre in their
minds and it saves the Association money
on additional travel costs.
While we were in Fredericton, New
Brunswick, CSA Director for Atlantic
Canada Ron Steeves and I sat down with
New Brunswick’s health minister, The Hon.
Madeleine Dubé. Ordinarily, residents
of New Brunswick must remain in the
province for at least six months during a
12-month period to remain eligible for
provincial health benefts. Their neigh-
bours in Newfoundland & Labrador need
only be present in their province for four
consecutive months in any 12-month
period. We asked the minister to con-
sider adopting the same standards as in
Newfoundland & Labrador. If adopted,
New Brunswick snowbirds who spend
their entire six-month allotment down
south in the winter won’t have to worry
about losing their health benefts when
they return in the summer, if they decide
to go to a wedding in Ontario or visit family
and friends in another province. There are
many provinces that provide this added
level of fexibility for their residents and I
believe that the minister was receptive to
our arguments. We’ll keep you posted as
this issue develops in New Brunswick.
This year’s
Snowbird Extravaganza
be held at the Lakeland Center in Lakeland,
Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday,
January 31 and February 1, 2012.
will be held on Tuesday and
Wednesday, February 7 and 8, 2012 at the
South Padre Island Convention Center in
South Padre Island, Texas.
Finally, our
Snowbird Extravaganza
Canadian Celebration
will take place on
Tuesday and Wednesday, February 14 and
15, 2012 at the Mesa Convention Center in
Mesa, Arizona.
These Extravaganzas are great op-
portunities to socialize and get to know
other snowbirds and, when you combine
that with all of the great entertainment
and information available, they really can’t
be beat. As always, admission to Snowbird
Extravaganzas is free and I’d encourage
each and every one of you to participate if
at all possible.
If for some reason you cannot attend
one of our Extravaganzas, I’d urge you
to consider attending one of our Winter
Information Meetings later in the winter.
These are smaller meetings that give your
CSA Board members an opportunity to
update you regarding many of our latest
initiatives. They also aford us an opportun-
ity to talk to you in greater depth about the
issues on which you would like to see us
focus in the coming year. Don’t worry, it’s
not all policy talk…there’s plenty of great
entertainment provided as well.
This year, our
Winter Information
tour begins in Tucson, Arizona on
February 17, 2012 before heading toYuma,
Arizona on February, 21.
We will be in Indio, California on
February 23, 2012 before heading back
to Florida for shows in Largo on February
28 and Port St. Lucie on February 29.
That’s right, I said February 29 – it’s a leap
year. Does that make us a day older or
younger? At any rate, we fnish our Winter
Information Meeting tour on March 2,
2012 in Bonita Springs, Florida. As always,
all of these shows are free and specifc
venue locations and times are available
elsewhere in this issue of the magazine.
Lois and I wish all of you a Merry
Christmas, Happy New Year and we look
forward to seeing you at one of our winter
meetings in the United States.
Bob Slack
CSA President