Page 12 - CSANews 90

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If ever
there were a winter during which Lois
and I were grateful to be living the snow-
bird lifestyle, this one was it. Regions
throughout Canada experienced one of
the coldest and snowiest winters in dec-
ades. Fortunately, we kept warm travel-
ling throughout the southwestern United
States on the Snowbird Extravaganza and
Winter Information Meeting tours.
Once again, we kicked things off with
our annual Snowbird Extravaganza in
Lakeland, Florida at the end of January.
Fromthere,weheadedtoMcAllen,Texas for
the Winter Texans’ Snowbird Extravaganza
followed by a trip to Mesa, Arizona for the
Canadian Snowbird Celebration. Great
shows, great crowds, great fun.
These large shows were quickly followed
by our more intimate Winter Information
Meetings. This year, we had the good for-
tune to visit with snowbirds in Lake Havasu
City, Yuma and Casa Grande, Arizona. We
also made stops in Indio, California and
Punta Gorda, Port St. Lucie and Hollywood,
Thanks to everyone who attended and
also volunteered at these shows, both
large and small. Once again, we signed up
many new members and had an oppor-
tunity to answer questions from literally
hundreds of you. 
I would also like to thank our partners at
Medipac for their invaluable assistance in
putting on these events. As always, all of
the great entertainment and information
available at these shows is absolutely free
and we could not continue to bring these
to you without their assistance and that of
our volunteers.
In December, we received an early
Christmas present courtesy of the Alberta
government. On the heels of a very
productive meeting with Alberta Health
Minister Fred Horne last October, and in
conjunction with a very successful letter-
writing campaign from our Alberta mem-
bers, we have another victory to announce.
As of December 17, 2013, the Alberta
government has increased the amount of
time for which residents may be absent
from Canada from six to seven months,
while still retaining their provincial health
Alberta is now the fifth province in
Canada to permit out-of-country ab-
sences longer than six months, joining
Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia and
Newfoundland and Labrador.
The CSA would like to thank former
premier Allison Redford, the Hon. Fred
Horne, minister of health and the Hon.
Dave Quest, associate minister of health
for seniors for all of their support in help-
ing us get this done. Thanks also to all of
our Alberta members who let their voices
be heard by their elected representatives.
Your involvement was crucial in achieving
this goal.
We finally have a new United States
Ambassador to Canada. Bruce Heyman
officially began his duties on April 8, 2014
following a nine-month delay after his pre-
decessor, David Jacobson, left his post. The
delay was caused in large part by gridlock
in the United States Senate, the same sort
of Washington gridlock that has delayed
the passage of our retiree visa.
A top fundraiser for President Obama,
Mr. Heyman spent 33 years with the invest-
ment firmGoldman Sachs before assuming
his current responsibilities. Ambassador
Heyman said that his old job was to help
businesses reach their full potential and
that he wants to do the same with the
Canada-U.S. relationship. He also stated
that economic prosperity was his top pri-
ority. I suspect that he’ll be very receptive
to our economic arguments for swift pas-
sage of the JOLT Act that contains our pro-
vision for creation of the Canadian Retiree
Visa. We will be meeting with Ambassador
Heyman this spring in Ottawa and we
look forward to having the same positive
relationship with him that we enjoyed with
Ambassadors Wilkens and Jacobson.
Speaking of the Canadian Retiree Visa,
when we went to print with the fall 2013
issue of
, we had 70 members
of the House of Representatives agree to
co-sponsor our bill. By the time the winter
2013 edition of themagazine came out, we
were up to 109. After a week in February in
Washington, D.C. working on your behalf,
I am pleased to report that we now have
150 co-sponsors. It’s a slow process, but we
are almost there; our hard work is paying
At the CSA’s Annual General Meeting in
Lakeland, Florida, we had one new direc-
tor appointed. From British Columbia, we
are pleased to have Jim Sherb and his wife
Alayne back with us. Jim was a director for
eight years; he took two years off and I am
pleased that he has decided once again
to represent our members in Western
Canada. Welcome back, Jim and Alayne!
(International Driver’s Permit repeal),
British Columbia, Manitoba and Alberta,
the year 2013 was very productive for the
Canadian Snowbird Association. I believe
that we are very close to similar wins in
Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, P.E.I. and yes, evenWashington D.C.
Once again, I would like to welcome all
of you back to Canada and hope that you
have a pleasant and relaxing
Bob Slack
CSA President