Government Relations Report Issue 38

Spring 2001 CSANews Issue 38  |  Posted date : Mar 08, 2007.Back to list

This past winter has been exceptionally busy for the entire CSA board of directors ­ and the government relations committee is still working overtime!

CSA is receiving very excited phone calls from our Alberta members who have heard the "official" word on the change in Alberta's residency requirements. As I reported in the December issue of CSA News, Alberta residents can travel internationally for six months, and travel the remaining six months within Canada's borders, provided they maintain their principal residence in the province. An extension of coverage for up to 24 months can also be arranged.
We recently had the opportunity to make a pre-budget submission to Ontario's minister of finance, the Honourable Jim Flaherty. In our presentation, we outlined the need, and our rationale, for Ontario's compliance with Section 11(1)(b)(ii) of the Canada Health Act. Copies of our submission were also presented to the Honourable Cam Jackson, Ontario's minister of citizenship and minister responsible for seniors, as well as to the Honourable Tony Clement ­ Ontario's minister of health. We hope to hear favourable news soon.

Following the Ontario meeting, our Manitoba director, Malcolm Joyce, was to make a similar pre-budget submission to his government. Again, we anticipate good news on all fronts.

Three provinces ­ Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Nova Scotia ­ released their budgets on the same day, and letters were sent to each regarding areas of concern to snowbirds. Both Jack Kiuru and I (representing Nova Scotia and PEI, respectively) will be following this very closely, and we will share all replies with our members in future editions of CSA News.

New Brunswick's throne speech was delivered a day or so earlier. President Bob Jackson has again been in touch with New Brunswick's ministry of health and has been informed that the ministry is ready to make a recommendation on our three issues, to cabinet.

The CSA has been monitoring the political climate across the country and has been in contact with various governments on a number of matters. We contacted Mme Pauline Marois (the Quebec minister of health) regarding the recent skirmish with Quebec's pharmacists ... wrote a letter to the minister of national defence, Art Eggleton, commending him on Canada's new National Military Cemetery, and are keeping a watchful eye on the upcoming British Columbia elections. As president Bob Jackson mentioned in his report, there appears to be some inconsistencies within Alberta's government and, along with Alberta director, Carol Brown-Heutinck, we hope to meet with minister Mar in the near future to clarify his government's interpretation of the Canada Health Act.

On the BC election front, we have exciting news from both the Liberal and Green Parties. The Canadian Snowbird Association has received written confirmation from each, vowing compliance with the Portability Principle of the Canada Health Act, if elected. As we are going to print just days before the election, we will be watching the results with great anticipation.

We have received quite a lot of media attention thanks, in part, to the many press releases that have gone out over the past few months. Whether it was the federal throne speech, the timing of the Alberta election, or party platforms, the CSA is now becoming a national (and international) source of information.

Your association is embarking on what is, perhaps, its most ambitious endeavour to date ­ our Traveller's Bill of Rights and National Report Card. This will be a comprehensive document outlining the various rights of all Canadian travellers, and grading both the federal and provincial governments on their adherence to legislation as it pertains to those rights. Our first report will be our benchmark for the coming years.

This will be an extension of our annual Special Report ­ one that we are confident will enable us to present our position on various issues more effectively to those in government.

As this is an extremely lengthy and complex project, a more formal presentation to our membership will be provided in the near future.

Now that membership renewal is upon us, I would like to encourage you all to renew your commitment to the CSA. If you can, please make a donation to our Special Action Fund ­ our advocacy initiatives are far more intense than ever before, and we need the financial backing of our membership in order to continue getting results.

We can effect change. We can make our governments follow the laws that they have sworn to uphold. It is possible to make a difference ­ if we work together. Now, more than ever before, the CSA needs your support on three fronts ­ morally, vocally and financially.

We're growing stronger, every day!