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Lois and I have
arrived in Florida just in
time to beat the November cold and are
once again looking forward to spending
the winter with many of our old friends
and neighbours. In September, Lois
and I had an opportunity to meet many
of you during our annual round of fall
Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations. This
year, we headedwest with stops in both
Calgary and Sherwood Park, Alberta, as
well as in Victoria and Vernon, British
Columbia. We then began the long
road home with shows in Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan and Brandon, Manitoba
before ending in Ontario with stops in
Nepean, Orillia and Niagara Falls. Once
again, the shows were a great success
combining top-notch entertainment
and providing us with an opportunity
to both meet our members and wel-
come many new ones to the Canadian
Snowbird Association.
Thanks to everyone who helped put
on these shows and to all of you who
generously donated to our Special
Action Fund, dedicated exclusively
to our government lobbying efforts.
Speaking of government lobbying ef-
forts, we had a big win in Saskatchewan
that you can read all about in Ron
Steeves’ Government Relations Report.
The bottom line is that Saskatchewan
snowbirds can now receive six months
of prescription medication through the
Saskatchewan Drug Plan without hav-
ing to pay the costs up front. The plan
previously reimbursed people for only
three months of prescription medica-
tion up front. On behalf of the Canadian
Snowbird Association, I would like to
thank Saskatchewan Health Minister
Dustin Duncan for making this happen.
I would also like to thank Saskatchewan
resident and our Director for Central
Canada John Foster for all of the hard
work which he did on this file.
On a less optimistic note, Florida’s
Amendment 4 was defeated in this
past November’s election. If passed,
Amendment 4 would have reduced
the 10 per cent cap on increases in
property values for non-homesteaded
properties (snowbirds, small-business
owners) to five per cent. Despite strong
support in the Florida legislature, this
ballot measure received support from
only 43% of Florida voters, not the 60%
required to become law. Obviously not
the result which we were looking for, it
is bad news for snowbirds and it is bad
news for small business. Given the state
of the Florida economy, you would
think that those would be two groups
to whom you’d particularly want to
reach out. We have more work to do in
I know that you’ve heard this be-
fore, but there is light at the end of
the tunnel; the new 10-year Canadian
passports are on their way! Just prior to
leaving for Florida, I was invited to at-
tend the unveiling of the new passport
by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.
The new electronic (or ePassports, as
they are known) will be available in
both five- and 10-year formats. The
first five-year editions will begin to be
issued in the first quarter of 2013 and
both five- and 10-year versions will be
available across Canada by early sum-
mer. We have been lobbying for the op-
tion of a 10-year passport for years and
we’re glad to see that it’s finally here.
Not only is the hassle of renewing your
passport every four-and-a-half to five
years eliminated, averaged over a 10-
year period, the new 10-year version is
slightly less expensive than the current
five-year version.
This year’s Snowbird Extravaganza
will be held at the Lakeland Center
in Lakeland, Florida on Tuesday and
Wednesday, January 29 and 30,
2013. Our Winter Texans’ Snowbird
Extravaganza will be held on Monday
and Tuesday, February 4 and 5, 2013
at our new location at the McAllen
Convention Center in McAllen, Texas.
Finally, our Canadian Snowbird
Celebration will take place on Tuesday
and Wednesday, February 12 and 13,
2013 at the Mesa Convention Center
in Mesa, Arizona. As always, all of these
shows are free and combine great en-
tertainment, information and an op-
portunity to get to know your snow-
bird neighbours. If you can’t attend, our
Winter Information Meeting tour will
be making stops in: Casa Grande and
Yuma, Arizona; Indio, California; and
both Port St. Lucie and Punta Gorda,
Florida. Dates, times and locations are
available elsewhere in the magazine.
Have a safe winter!
Bob Slack
CSA President