Government Relations Report Issue 59

Summer 2006 CSANews Issue 59  |  Posted date : May 28, 2007.Back to list

As most of you are aware, the CSA is heavily involved in lobbying our federal, provincial and territorial governments right here at home.

That is incredibly important but, as the president alludes to in his message earlier in this edition of CSANews, if we are going to do our job defending and improving the rights and privileges of Canadian travellers, we cannot neglect making our voices heard to the elected officials in the United States as well.

This past June, the association was invited by members of the United States Congress to attend the kick-off reception of the Congressional friends of Canada Caucus. This 78-member caucus, comprised entirely of members from the United States Congress, will focus on border security, tourism and commerce.

CSA President Gerry Brissenden and our research and communications officer Michael MacKenzie discussed these issues with caucus co-chairs Henry E. Brown, Jr. (R-SC), James Oberstar (DMN) and Canadian Ambassador to the United States, the Honourable Michael Wilson.

The United States and Canada are each other's largest trading partners with more than $1.3 billion in trade crossing the border every day. It is estimated that 5.5 million U.S. jobs depend directly on Canadian imports, and Canadian snowbirds are at the top of that list! The relationship that the CSA has now established with these 78 members of the U.S. Congress will prove invaluable in voicing the concerns of our members to our congressional friends south of the border.

As I mentioned in the spring edition of CSANews, the 2006 edition of the Canadian Travellers' Report Card was being sent to every elected federal, provincial and territorial official in Canada, to be followed by targeted face-to-face meetings.

I am happy to report that the report card has, in fact, been sent to those elected officials. On May 18, 2006, the CSA met with a senior official in the office of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the report.

Why not start right at the top?

As alluded to earlier in the president's message, one of the key recommendations which we have consistently made – in both the original 2002, as well as the new 2006 editions of our report card – to Canadian federal governments over the years is the introduction of fixed federal election dates. Fixed election dates, preferably in the autumn, would greatly enhance the ability of our members to plan their trips south without jeopardizing their ability to exercise their democratic right and duty.

On May 30, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper authorized the introduction of a bill that would see federal elections take place every four years, on the third Monday of October, with the first fixed vote taking place on October 19, 2009.

Although we have a great deal of work ahead of us, it is always encouraging when we see the tangible results of our extensive government advocacy efforts.

Other recent advocacy activities include the CSA's attendance at the Team Canada Atlantic Trade Mission and our ongoing work with Ontario MPP Tim Hudak in his effort to reduce the property taxes of seniors and the disabled.

As you can see, we have had a busy spring on the government relations front! Rest assured that while you are taking a much-deserved break this summer, before the hustle and bustle of the fall, we will continue to press our elected officials for action on the issues that matter to you, our members.