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The Taxfighter

Jordan Bateman sings the praises of one of Canada’s most dedicated advocates for fiscal responsibility.

Most B.C. taxpayers, especially ones under the age of 45, have never heard of Troy Lanigan. But they owe him a great debt of gratitude.

In the 1990s, Troy joined the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, working closely with then-president Jason Kenney (whatever happened to that guy?) and launching the B.C. office of the CTF. Eventually, he rose through the ranks to become CTF president, before moving on from the organization last year.

Over the weekend, Troy was given the CTF’s highest honour, their prestigious Taxfighter Award.

He richly deserved it.

As the first spokesman for the CTF in B.C., Troy led the fight to reform MLA pay and perks – sadly a battle the CTF has had to have over and over again with our elected officials.

He also helped Kenney with the campaign to address the federal debt, which led to Paul Martin’s landmark 1995 budget, cutting spending and saving Canada’s economy from ruin. That effort was so important that Martin himself said, “Canadians from coast to coast in the mid-1990s rose to the challenge posed by a balance sheet that was strangled – the CTF played a major role in our success in this area. And anybody who knew the facts could not deny that.”

During those crazy 1990s days of the BC NDP government, Lanigan hammered away at fiscal mismanagement and overspending. His work to show the insanity of NDP election gag laws was especially inspired, as was his efforts to fight income tax bracket creep.

After that, he worked his way up in the CTF, along the way hiring a series of outstanding B.C. directors, including Mark Milke, Sara MacIntyre, Maureen Bader, Gregory Thomas, me (okay, okay – you can’t strike gold every time), and now Kris Sims. He expanded the CTF to the Maritimes and Quebec, and built the completely donor-funded federation to more than 200,000 supporters. And he never let the CTF take a nickel of government support to do it – not even the ability to issue tax receipts for donations.

Troy isn’t perfect – witness his perplexing support for proportional representation. But he was waving the flag on ICBC mismanagement as early as 1998, noting that political interference was the biggest problem at ICBC.

As Troy took over senior leadership at the CTF, his public profile waned. He left the spokesperson work to the provincial directors, focusing on making sure they had the tools, resources and finances to be successful.

He wasn’t selfish about press coverage – just the opposite.

Troy isn’t on Twitter. His Facebook is a mediocre mishmash of pitiful Pittsburgh Steelers propaganda and triathlon bragging (notable exception: photos of his beautiful and talented family). He has now taken on behind-the-scenes roles with the Manning Centre and, fighting for the causes of liberty and economic freedom that he has always believed.

This low profile has led to some amnesia among B.C. political folks: we tend to forget the catalysts we don’t see all the time. Still, taxpayers here and across Canada owe Troy Lanigan, a Libertarian living life in lovely Langford, a lot.

So, thank you, sir, and congratulations on the Taxfighter Award. Very few have ever deserved it more.

Jordan Bateman has a long history of public policy work, championing small business and fiscal responsibility. Currently the Vice President, Communications & Marketing for the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), Jordan also served six years as the B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and was a two-term Langley Township Councillor.