Safeguarding the pension, health and dental care benefits of federal retirees
Written by Craig MacDonald
Former FSNA Ottawa Branch President
FSNA: Who Are We?
The Federal Superannuates National Association is the national not-for-profit association of retired federal employees, their spouses and survivors, as well as future pensioners (working employees). With more than 130,000 members and 83 branches across Canada, FSNA is recognized by the Government of Canada as the major representative of pensioners from the Canadian Forces, the Public Service of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and of federally appointed judges. The Association maintains a National Office in Ottawa with a small core of paid staff. The executive of all 83 branches and National Officers are unpaid volunteers. Association policy is set at triennial conventions by members delegated by branches.
“ A candle loses nothing of its light when lighting another”. Kahlil Gibran
The word “volunteer” is derived from the Latin voluntas - “free will” and, according to the dictionary, has a range of meanings from a part-time soldier… to an uninvited plant in the garden! However, the French translation “bénévole” is much more specific in suggesting the compassionate aspect of volunteerism – the act of helping others without regard for monetary reward. The desire to help one’s fellow man, or at least to lend a hand when a need arises, is a universal human trait, probably harking back to a time when survival depended on a high level of cooperation with the tribal group or pack.
One of the things about living overseas is that you are able to see your country through slightly different lenses when you return – sometimes more depth of field, sometimes more peripheral vision, and some times with less (or perhaps just different) distortion. In our case, when we returned from India after a couple of years away, I was struck by how much the demography of Ottawa had changed.
I remember reading a bumper sticker once that said, “ Hire a teenager while he still knows everything “ . Well, I was a bit like that once and never more so than in Dr. Scammell’s English class. I was reminded of this during the recent 50th anniversary reunion of my Montreal high school graduating class when I walked right into Dr. Scammell’s old classroom.
Angus – New Years' Resolutions
In the manner of Addison’s and Steele’s 18th century “Spectator”, I – a playful pup of some perspicuity - am resolved to analyze my present situation and set down some resolutions in the hope such publicity will strengthen my purpose. Being myself a creature of strong zeal and weak intellect, I am happy to remain in the custody of my masters on Eastbourne Avenue, with the caveat that their behavior evolve as favorably as I expect my own to do.
While much of my education about pop culture in the 21st c. is provided by my 12-year old grandson during our early morning walks with his dog, Canadian history is not one of our hotter topics . Recently, however, a passing question about the settlement of New France led me to dig around and discover several little known events in our national story.
In their travels many Just Ottawa readers will have come across some interesting off-the-beaten-track festivals, often in foreign lands. Here is one I recently stumbled upon just a few miles south of Pembroke in our own Ottawa Valley.