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Taxpayers Honour The Late Mel Smith

July 16, 2001
Taxpayers Honour The Late Mel Smith
CTF Posthumously Presents TaxFighter of the Year Award

VICTORIA: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today presented its TaxFighter of the Year Award posthumously to the late Mel Smith, Q.C. The Federation's B.C. director Mark Milke and National Communications director Troy Lanigan presented the award to his widow, Beverly Smith, in Victoria.

"Mel was a dedicated pubic servant and a friend to taxpayers everywhere," said Lanigan.

Mel Smith was a public servant in the Province of British Columbia for 31 years in various capacities, including that of constitutional adviser to four B.C. premiers. After retirement in 1991, Mr. Smith began some of his more public work. Mel's widely published critiques of the 1992 Charlottetown Accord became the intellectual underpinning of the Accord's demise. Those critiques, published in the CTF's publication, The Taxpayer, and elsewhere, began a working relationship between the CTF and Mel that would last the better part of a decade.

In 1993, Mel Smith assisted in two critical CTF projects. First, he helped draft model citizen initiative legislation whereby citizens can directly place questions for legislative action directly on the ballot. He wrote articles, analyses, and spoke countless times in its favour.

Second, and most significant from a taxpayer perspective, was his hand in drafting model taxpayer protection legislation. Taxpayer protection legislation (TPL) provides for balanced budgets and voter approval of new taxes. Successful CTF campaigns led to implementation of TPL in both Manitoba and Ontario. Several other provinces have also adopted elements of the same.

Prior to the amalgamation of the provincial associations under the single CTF umbrella, Mel Smith was the founding president of the B.C. Taxpayers Association in 1994, and then board director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in 1995.

Since 1997, the CTF's TaxFighter Award - its most significant recognition - has been awarded annually to a Canadian who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the cause to taxpayer emancipation and democratic reform. Mel is the award's fifth recipient.

Previous recipients include Ontario Premier Michael Harris, Alberta talk-radio host Dave Rutherford, former CTF board member Bob Matheson and former CTF-Ontario director Paul Pagnuelo.
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