Page 10 - CSANews 88

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10
CSA
update
President’s
message
By the time you read this,
it will
almost be time to pack your bags and
begin your journeys to your winter
homes. Before you do, you may want
to check the expiration date on your
Canadian passport. As of July 1, 2013,
the new (and more secure) 10-year
electronic passports are now available.
At $160, a 10-year passport provides
better value on a yearly basis than did
the previous five year passport. My own
view is that the greatest benefit is the
convenience of only having to renew
your passport once every 10 years.
Many other countries (but not the
United States) require that your pass-
port be valid for six months beyond
your date of entry, thereby reducing its
validity to 4.5 years.
The CSA has been lobbying for this
change for years and we were deeply
involved in the discussions surround-
ing this initiative. We had multiple
meetings with Passport Canada and
testified before the Senate Committee
on Foreign Affairs and International
Trade urging the government to move
to extend the validity of the passport
to 10 years. We are pleased that they
listened and I would like to thank The
Hon. John Baird, minister of foreign
affairs and international trade and The
Hon. Jason Kenney, minister of citizen-
ship and immigration for their work on
this file. This is a big win for the CSA and
for all travelling Canadians.
The comprehensive immigration
reform legislation which would create
our proposal for a Canadian Retiree
Visa has been approved by the United
States Senate. This does not mean
that the law has changed; the bill
must also be approved by the House
of Representatives. Congress has
adjourned for the month of August
and the House will be taking up this
measure again in the fall. Rest assured
that I will be in Washington, D.C. when
they return, meeting with members
of Congress to ensure that we get this
initiative pushed over the goal line. We
still have much work ahead of us, but
we are now officially halfway there. As
always, we’ll keep you posted as things
develop.
I, along with First Vice-President Ron
Steeves, recently sat down with elected
representatives and government of-
ficials in both New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia. By the time you read this, we
will have had similar meetings in Prince
Edward Island. Our goal in this round
of meetings is to have these provinces
increase the amount of time for which
residents may remain outside of the
province, while still maintaining their
provincial health coverage. As most
of you are aware, different provinces
have different rules in this regard;
some are better than others. Many of
our members spend six months out
of province during the winter and are
simply asking for a little flexibility when
they return home in the spring. That
flexibility would allow them to spend
more time with friends and family in
other provinces during the summer.
We’ve had some recent wins in this area
in both British Columbia and Manitoba
and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to
bring a little more flexibility to our East
Coast members.
When this magazine is published,
our annual round of Snowbird Lifestyle
Presentations will be in full swing. This
September, we will tour Ontario with
stops in Port Hope, Richmond Hill,
Burlington, Sarnia, Niagara Falls, Parry
Sound and Nepean. We will conclude
this year’s round of shows in beautiful
Montreal, Quebec. As always, these
shows are free of charge. They continue
to be great sources of information re-
garding how to get the most out of the
snowbird lifestyle. They also provide
some of the finest musical and comedy
entertainment that you’ll ever see, with
such performers as John McDermott,
Liona Boyd and Bowser and Blue.
During the past few months, I have
received many calls regarding Shaw
Communications and their satellite re-
ception for Canadians travelling in the
United States. We contacted Shaw and
they provided us with an update about
this situation. On May 29, 2013, Shaw
Communications launched a new sat-
ellite for the distribution of additional
high-definition programming. This
satellite has a “footprint” for Canada
only. The new satellite signal is not re-
ceivable south of the border. However,
travellers will still be able to access
the existing satellites and receive all
of the programming which they have
received in past years. Unfortunately,
customer support is only available
to us when we are in Canada. Many
snowbirds expressed concern that
Shaw satellite signals would no longer
be available to Canadians while in the
United States. With the exception of the
situation outlined above, according to
Shaw, this is not the case.
Lois and I look forward to meeting
you at one of our many shows this
fall or during the winter months.
Bob Slack
CSA President