President's Message Issue 46

Spring 2003 CSANews Issue 46  |  Posted date : Apr 15, 2007.Back to list

Our journey through the sun belt this winter proved to be a most interesting few weeks on the road with our Extravaganza/Winter Information Meeting tour. Although it reached a point at which we started remembering the days of the week by meeting location rather than by their proper names, I truly enjoy the opportunity to meet with our members while they're in their winter homes.

These meetings allow me to speak to our members from across Canada ­ to find out the issues affecting our members in all provinces and territories, and to provide information about ongoing events both in our country and in the U.S.

In the past, we have noticed that our Winter Information Meetings are filled with CSA members ­ a wonderful opportunity to update our members on what's been happening within the association, but not-so-great an opportunity to recruit new members. This is a perfect chance for our members to help us! This year, we had our inaugural meeting at Titusville, Florida and we were extremely pleased to have a large number of non-members in our audience. If you live in areas of the sunbelt states in which there are lots of Canadians and we have not visited you, please let us know for future planning. We'd like to welcome all of our new and renewing members to the CSA, and we certainly hope that you'll join us in supporting our advocacy initiatives.

We had an exceptionally good time this year at all of our Snowbird Extravaganzas, although I must admit that the Winter Texans' Snowbird Extravaganza is nearest and dearest to my heart. It is always a pleasure to introduce my extended Extravaganza family to my Winter Texan family. So many people volunteer to help that Lou Kehoe and I are amazed (more than 120!). Now, when Bruce and I disappear for weeks at a stretch, our friends and neighbours have a better idea of the activities in which we are involved. I would like to commend our good friends at Medipac for their hard work ­ once again, their many overtime hours certainly showed in these well-planned and smoothly run events.

I would like to cordially welcome Roland and Carmelle Belanger from Gatineau, Quebec/Pompano Beach to the CSA family. Roland has accepted the position of director-at-large for the province of Quebec and we look forward to his insight and contributions to our board of directors.

Once again, snowbirds are being left out in the cold during a provincial election. The Quebec government has called an election for April 14, 2003. While many travellers were home by this point, many more were en route or were just preparing their return trip. By calling an election prior to the end of April, a province deprives snowbirds of the full election campaign, as many provinces require their ballots to be received on polling day, prior to the close of polls. Vital information gleaned from candidates' debates would likely be missed and the opportunity to question candidates, lost. Paul Jenkins' Government Report details the steps taken by the association to protest the date of the election.

Every snowbird season, our call centre takes a call or two from members who are in the south and have run out of, or are about to run out of prescription medication. They're calling us for assistance - but once they're out of Canada, there's little that we can do to help.

The CSA is lobbying each provincial government to enact a law allowing travellers to access a supply of medication, equal to their time allowed out of province. It has become almost impossible to have medication shipped over the border and U.S. pharmacies will not honour a Canadian prescription. The alternative? Visiting a U.S. doctor (which can cost anywhere up to $100 US just to walk through the door) to get a scrip for your medication, and then purchasing it. If you're lucky, your provincial program will reimburse you for this purchase ­ many will not.

We can only stress that if you are able to obtain a 'vacation' supply of drugs, do so BEFORE you travel. Make sure that you know the laws of your province as they apply to travellers, to ensure that you're accessing all to which you're entitled. We do not condone hoarding ­ these supplies of medication are to ensure that legitimate travellers have no interruption in their necessary medication, and we fully understand why pharmacies may ask for proof of travel.

I hope you all had a safe and happy winter, and I wish you all only sunshine, warmth and good health in the coming months.

P.S. We're now accepting nominations for the President's Awards ­ bi-annual awards honouring CSA members who, as volunteers, help to further the work of the association.