Government Relations Report Issue 54

Spring 2005 CSANews Issue 54  |  Posted date : May 17, 2007.Back to list

In the 2005 series of winter events, CSA President Gerry Brissenden made a concerted effort to bring as many political representatives to our gatherings as possible. As you likely have read in the President's Report, this task was accomplished with unprecedented success. Tourism ministers from the local snowbird communities, mayors, sheriffs, representatives from state governors' offices and dignitaries from Canada were among the throngs of attendees at our events. Their presence raised the profile of the Canadian Snowbird Association with the powerful politicos, as we must, in order to ensure that the privileges of Canadian snowbirds who choose the United States as their winter destination are maintained for years to come.

On the home front, the Canadian Snowbird Association has been no less active in maintaining its unrelenting presence amongst the political parties that govern us. On May 17, British Columbia will be holding an election to choose their new premier and MLAs. In order to ensure that the issues which affect snowbirds are kept in the forefront of the election campaigns, the CSA has designed a British Columbia Provincial Election Handbook and has delivered it to the thousands of CSA members in B.C. The handbook outlines the limitations of British Columbia's reimbursement rates for out-of-province medical care, $75.00 per day; the advance prescription drug allowance, only 100 days; and the underlying issue for all Canadian travellers—the Canada Health Act clearly states that insured services are to be paid at the home province's rate. If British Columbia can provide health-care treatment to its residents for as little as $75.00 a day, the province's Ministry of Health should be conducting seminars across North America to teach the rest of us what it is that we are doing wrong in the management of our health-care systems!

The CSA Federal Election Handbook had tremendous impact on the election in 2004. Members were raising the issues at town hall meetings, in the media and at their doorsteps when candidates dropped by to garner support. This kind of grassroots trench work accomplishes a great deal in keeping our issues up front and on the minds of politicians. We wish our members in British Columbia the best of luck in their quest to fulfil this end, and offer our support and gratitude for their efforts. Every step the CSA takes towards harmonizing portable health care across Canada is an important step in revitalizing a fair and equitable health-care system in Canada.

This fall, the Canadian Snowbird Association will be travelling through the Eastern provinces of Canada in conjunction with the Snowbird Lifestyle Presentation series. This will provide us with ample opportunity to meet with premiers, ministers of health and related policy makers to raise our issues and to ensure that travelling Canadians are in their thoughts when developing policies relating to health care, prescription medication and residency requirements. If any readers of this column have influence or the ear of politicians who play a role in developing these policies, please let us know. We can use all the help we can get!

Finally, if you spend your winters in the United States, keep your own government relations in check. It is tax season and 8840 Forms should be submitted to the IRS, as required. So take a few minutes to complete the substantial presence test in this issue of CSANews and send a completed 8840 Form to the IRS for each member of your household who qualifies. You will have received a copy of the 8840 Form in your CSA Renewal Kit; if additional copies are required, make as many photocopies as you need or just visit our website for the appropriate links to get the form online.