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10
CSA
update
President’s
message
In April,
news leaked that the United
States Department of Homeland
Security was requesting funding in
their 2014 budget to conduct a study
determining the feasibility of collecting
a fee for passenger vehicles crossing
the border between the United States
and Canada.
They currently have some fiscal
challenges and we understand that.
Our view is that throwing up more
obstacles at the border…which would
hinder both trade and tourism…
is not the best way to address those
challenges. We don’t know how much
the fee would be, or whether it would
apply to entering the United States,
exiting, or both.
Even if the fee were minimal, it’s our
view that this still sends the wrong
message to the United States’ biggest
customer and closest friend.We are also
very concerned about the delays which
this would inevitably cause at all land
border crossings. Crossing the border
in your vehicle can be a lengthy process
to begin with – depending on where
and when you cross – turning border
officials into toll collectors would only
add to that time and aggravation. In
short, we were opposed to this and we
let the United States government know
how we felt.
This proposal received widespread
media coverage all over Canada, as well
as in no less a publication than the
Wall
Street Journal
in the United States.
Although it was just a proposal for a
study to collect a fee, you’d be amazed
at how quickly that can become a
reality…particularly if it appears that
nobody has noticed.
The Canadian Snowbird Association
led the charge against this and I am
happy to report that this proposal
appears to now be dead on arrival in
the United States Senate.
In May, the United States Senate’s
judiciary committee voted to amend
their
comprehensive
immigration
reform bill to ban the fee outright. Even
if the immigration bill does not pass,
lawmakers in both houses of Congress
have pledged to deny funding for the
proposed study. No money, no study,
no fee.
I would personally like to thank U.S.
Congressman Brian Higgins from
Buffalo, New York and Senator Chuck
Schumer, also from New York, for
helping us to get this stopped. Another
win for the Canadian Snowbird
Association.
As you’ll read in Ron Steeves’
Government Relations Report, we
recently claimed a victory in Manitoba
that falls closely on the heels of our
win in British Columbia, which we
covered extensively in the spring issue
of
CSANews
.
None of these achievements would
be possible without the feedback
and support of you, our members.
You let us know how you feel about
particular issues and we make sure that
feedback is passed along to our elected
representatives.
Having said that, I would also
encourage all of you to contact your
elected representatives directly and let
them know how you feel about issues
of concern to you as a snowbird. The
more they hear from us, the louder our
voice becomes.
We have now put on our website
section entitled
“Guidelines to Writing Government
Representatives.” It’s simply a list of
helpful suggestions of which you
should be aware when contacting your
elected officials. It also briefly summar-
izes some of our key issues and con-
tains links to the contact information
for every federal and provincial/terri-
torial representative in Canada, so that
you don’t have to go hunting.
We understand that contacting
government can be intimidating if
you’ve never done it before. Hey, it
might just be that you don’t have the
time to do it. All that this section does
is attempt to make the process quick,
convenient and effective if you decide
to make contact. These are just tips;
they are just there to help. As always, if
you have any questions, please feel free
to contact the office. Don’t worry, we’ll
be bringing these issues forward on
your behalf regardless.
I hate to say it, but this is Canada
and it means that winter will be here
before you know it. One of the best
ways to prepare for your winter down
south is by attending one of our annual
Snowbird Lifestyle Presentations.
This year, we’ll be touring throughout
Ontario with stops in Port Hope,
Richmond Hill, Burlington, Sarnia,
Niagara Falls, Parry Sound and Nepean.
We’ll be wrapping things up with a
stop in the beautiful city of Montreal,
Quebec, towards the end of September.
Please look for dates and box office
details elsewhere in this issue of the
magazine. Whether you’re thinking
about exploring the snowbird lifestyle
for the first time, or you’re a veteran
winter traveller, these shows are
packed full of useful information and
entertainment. As always, all shows are
free of charge and open to the public…
so please feel free to bring a friend.
Lois and I wish you a safe and relaxing
summer with family and friends.
Bob Slack
CSA President