Government Report Issue 61

Fall 2006 CSANews Issue 61  |  Posted date : Jun 01, 2007.Back to list

Well, we have arrived once again at the beginning of another snowbird travel season. We had a very busy autumn on the government relations front and the winter is shaping up to be just as busy (and productive).

In September, together with executive director Lawrence Barker, I met with representatives of the Arizona Department of Commerce. As touched on briefly in the President’s Report, one of the major issues of focus was the negative effect which Florida’s current system of property taxation is having on many of our members. States such as Arizona are well aware of the disproportionate shifting of the property tax burden onto the shoulders of winter Floridians and are aggressively marketing themselves in an effort to attract your winter business. By the time you have read this, CSA President Gerry Brissenden will have met with outgoing Florida Governor Jeb Bush and will have made a formal presentation to the Florida property tax reform committee in an effort to resolve this untenable situation. Florida is a great state and one of the primary reasons for this is the enormously positive economic and social impacts which snowbirds have every winter. It is our hope that by reminding Florida’s elected officials of these benefits, we will soon see a move to bring greater equity to the current property tax situation. As you can see, states such as Arizona are more than willing to welcome us with open arms.

Also in September, CSA President Gerry Brissenden and Western Canada director Jim Sherb met with British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell to discuss our British Columbia recommendations found in the 2006 edition of The Canadian Travellers’ Report Card. Also in attendance were B.C. Health Minister George Abbott and Minister of Social Services Ida Chong. Although we have our differences with the Government of British Columbia with respect to their low reimbursement rate (at $75.00 per day, it’s the lowest in Canada) for out-ofcountry emergency health care, it was heartening that the premier and two senior ministers engaged us face to face on this issue. Although we don’t always get the answers we would like when we would like them, it is the support of our members and their donations to the Special Action Fund that allow us to directly engage our elected representatives at the highest levels.

It was great to see Federal Treasury Board president and MP for Nepean John Baird visit us at our Lifestyle presentation in Nepean, Ontario. While we certainly took the opportunityto bend the minister’s ear on issues of concern to our members, it was also nice to visit with him in a more relaxed environment. When elected officials such as John Baird join us at our events, it gives them a better sense of what we do and it also gives our members an opportunity to interact with them.

Speaking of Minister Baird, he was in attendance at a November meeting between CSA President Gerry Brissenden and federal Health Minister Tony Clement. To read more about this meeting please see the president’s message elsewhere in this edition of the magazine.

We will also be meeting with the new governor of Florida, Mr. Charlie Crist, this winter. The CSA has already established a close working relationship with Governor Elect Crist from his days as the attorney general of Florida and we are looking forward to working with him in the years to come.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and I hope to see all of you in the new year at the Extravaganza in Lakeland.