President's Message Issue 45

Winter 2002 CSANews Issue 45  |  Posted date : Apr 12, 2007.Back to list

How time flies! It is hard to believe that so much can happen in a few short months. It was in April, while on our way back to Canada, that the story on the new INS regulations broke. So much has happened since then; hours of cross-border talk, a presentation in Washington, D.C. and a welcome letter from the INS! The CSA has continued to monitor the border-crossing situation and we are awaiting the final word on proposed amendments to the B-2 Visitors Visa Regulation. The Americans have been most co-operative to date and I would personally like to thank the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs for all their help.

In our last magazine, we introduced our Canadian Travellers' Report Card. The launch of this comprehensive document has provided me with an exciting opportunity to talk to Canadians on the radio and through the press. Hopefully, this will help the public understand the problems with which they must deal when travelling, as our various governments have chosen to undermine the original interpretation of the Canada Health Act. Of course, our Report Card will also be useful in creating discussion points with our various levels of government. In this issue, you will find a province-by-province breakdown of some of the information we gathered. I would like to personally thank the Chairman of the Government Relations Committee, Paul Jenkins for all his time and attention to details. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to our Executive Director Heather Nicolson-Morrison and our Research Assistant, Barbara Moss who spent so many hours of dedicated work on this project.

After reading this section, please take the time to remove, fill in and mail both response cards. Now is the time to tell our politicians that some changes have to be made. We've addressed Prime Minister Chretien's card for you and provided a list of all the premiers' addresses for the other card. If you will each mail your response card, we can prove to the 'powers that be' on both the provincial and federal levels, that CSA can make a difference. Your participation will prove that our membership cares and that we are willing to act to obtain what is fair and just. Make your voice (and those of your friends) count!

The Lifestyle Presentations held across Ontario were a pleasure to attend and I enjoyed the opportunity of both meeting and speaking with members and friends who support our work. The entertainment was outstanding and the entertainers put so much life and spirit into the show. I look forward to our Snowbird Extravaganzas and the Winter Information Meetings across the United States, when I will be able to meet many more of you, and share your interests and concerns. Our Information Meetings always provide a wonderful opportunity for questions and answers, as well as being exciting social gatherings. All the Extravaganzas and Information Meetings need volunteers, in every part of the southern States. Without your help, they can't happen! Please phone 1-800-265-3200 and leave your name and a phone number in the south where we can reach you.

In September, while in Ottawa for the Snowbird Lifestyle Presentation, I took the opportunity to make contact with several key groups. I became acquainted with the contacts from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) with whom we have been working since the INS regulatory issue began last spring. John Morrow, Deputy Director, United States Transboundary Division and Chris Gregory, Border Management, United States Transboundary Division both stressed that DFAIT takes CSA's advocacy efforts very seriously and indicated a willingness to proceed further, partnering with us on various issues and sharing information.

Lori Stoltz, senior policy advisor to federal Health Minister Anne McLellan met with me to discuss the upcoming release of the Canadian Travellers' Report Card. She appeared to like the idea of our report card and this meeting provided me with an invaluable opportunity to discuss with her, as a minister's representative, the CSA's various national issues. During the meeting, I strongly urged that Minister McLellan bring our issues to the Health Federal Provincial Territorial Ministers meetings, which she chairs. Ms. Stoltz had heard CSA's presentation before the Romanow Commission and was impressed with our message. We discussed our perceptions as to the impact of the Romanow Commission.

I also met with the Canadian Medical Association's (CMA) secretary general, Paul-Emile Cloutier. Our associations share like-minded interests and I believe that we can work together in several areas to move CSA issues forward.

While Bruce and I were in Ottawa, our new Ontario director, Lewis Kehoe and his wife Colette were wonderful hosts for a day. Besides serving a delicious dinner, they took us on a pleasant drive to Lew's family property in Gatineau, Quebec. It was a beautiful day and gorgeous countryside, so we enjoyed it very much. Thanks, Lew and Colette!

Thank you for the many messages and letters that you send. It is always great to hear from members, and I trust that you have received a reply when possible. Your questions serve to point us towards research that we must do to protect the rights of travelling Canadians. Recently, a member wrote enquiring about the effects of the new American border restrictions on Canadians crossing into and returning from Mexico while wintering in the U.S. An excellent question ­ and the answer is simple - bring all the documentation you would when crossing from Canada into the U.S., making especially sure that you have proof of residency in both countries.

Wherever you travel this winter, I wish you a safe journey and many pleasant memories. There are so many countries opening their doors to travelling Canadians. There are so many friendly peoples to whom we become Canadian ambassadors. And remember that the Canadian Snowbird Association is always there for you!