Gaudet serving the greater good

Whether it means taking on the powers that be or courageously facing a room full of "Dragons," Kevin Gaudet (BA '91), federal director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), stands strong in his convictions, a legacy of valour that runs in his family.

"My grandfather, Walthen Gaudet, was the mayor of Charlottetown. He saw public service as a noble profession and lived up to the values of truth, duty and honour. I was brought up that way by my parents," says Gaudet. "They taught me to stand up for what I believe in, and they incubated a curious mind, encouraged it and put up with it."

Gaudet spent much of his childhood moving across Canada with his family, ending up in Lethbridge for his Grade 12 year. After graduating from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute in 1986, Gaudet spent a year studying engineering at Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, B.C., before deciding that was not the path for him.

"I went back to Lethbridge because my family was there. I was aware of the benefits of a liberal arts undergraduate degree so it was a rather easy decision for me to attend the University of Lethbridge. I could stay at home and get a really good quality education," explains Gaudet.

After taking an introductory philosophy course, Gaudet fell in love with the discipline and chose it as a major.

"When I told my parents, they asked me what the hell I was going to do with that, and of course I told them ,'I can do anything I want'," says Gaudet.

He was right. Studying philosophy began opening doors for him from the outset of his education. In his second year at U of L, Gaudet worked as a teacher's assistant for his philosophy professor, U of L President Emeritus Dr. John Woods. He also cut his political teeth that year by winning a seat on school council. Gaudet regards his time at the University in a very positive light.

"The professors were open and friendly and with the smaller size of the University you could actually get in the doors to talk to your professors so that they could prove to you just how wrong you were when you proposed ideas," laughs Gaudet. "Lethbridge has an interesting culture with its agricultural community, influx of foreign students and religious community. It provides the campus a rich diversity of experience, opportunity and thought, all in one place."

Following his graduation in 1991, Gaudet's education and career continued to grow. He spent five years as the director of opposition research for Preston Manning, graduated with an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in 2000, and worked for various telecommunications, banking, computer and medical technology companies, performing marketing strategy and government relations.

In 2007, Gaudet began working as the Ontario director of the CTF and became the federal director in January 2008. As director, he is responsible for looking at all policy matters relating to the federal government. The CTF advocates for lower taxes, less waste and a more accountable government. Gaudet does whatever is necessary to get that message out, whether it is planning a rally, or presenting his flat tax message on the television show Dragons' Den.

Gaudet hopes to affect positive change on the national stage and his former professor is proud of the path he's taken since his time at the U of L.

"Kevin's skills are abundantly evident in his work. His policy analyses show an impressive analytical intelligence at work; his television appearances show a cool, elegant and engaging advocate," says Woods. "Kevin Gaudet reflects great credit upon the university that trained him."


• Born in Halifax, N.S., Gaudet has lived in eight Canadian provinces

• He studied logic at the University of Amsterdam (summer 1990) and is fluent in both English and French

• Gaudet took over for John Williamson as federal director of the CTF

• Volunteering as a scout leader in Toronto, he says his greatest personal accomplishment is, "A very successful marriage and three wonderful children."