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Deborah Coyne

Deborah Coyne

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Deborah Margaret Ryland Coyne, (born 1955) is a Canadian
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

 lawyer, professor and author. Her education includes a Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Laws
The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate, or bachelor, degree in law originating in England and offered in most common law countries as the primary law degree...

 degree from Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law School
Osgoode Hall Law School is a Canadian law school, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and affiliated with York University. Named after the first Chief Justice of Ontario, William Osgoode, the law school was established by The Law Society of Upper Canada in 1889 and was the only accredited law...

 of York University
York University
York University is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is Canada's third-largest university, Ontario's second-largest graduate school, and Canada's leading interdisciplinary university....

 and a Master of Philosophy
Master of Philosophy
The Master of Philosophy is a postgraduate research degree.An M.Phil. is a lesser degree than a Doctor of Philosophy , but in many cases it is considered to be a more senior degree than a taught Master's degree, as it is often a thesis-only degree. In some instances, an M.Phil...

 from Oxford University in international relations.

Early career

She was a staffer in the Prime Minister's Office
Office of the Prime Minister (Canada)
In Canada, the Office of the Prime Minister , located in the Langevin Block, on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, is one of the most powerful parts of the government. It is made up of the prime minister and his or her top political staff, who are charged with advising the prime minister on decisions,...

 of John Turner
John Turner
John Napier Wyndham Turner, PC, CC, QC is an English Canadian lawyer and retired politician, who served as the 17th Prime Minister of Canada from June 30 to September 17, 1984....

, before spending two years teaching constitutional law at the University of Toronto Law School; she has also worked for the Business Council on National Issues and the Ontario Human Rights Commission
Ontario Human Rights Commission
The Ontario Human Rights Commission was established in the Canadian province of Ontario on March 29, 1961 to administer the Ontario Human Rights Code...


Opposition to the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords

Deborah Coyne took a role in opposing the Meech Lake Accord
Meech Lake Accord
The Meech Lake Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada negotiated in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and ten provincial premiers. It was intended to persuade the government of the Province of Quebec to endorse the 1982 Canadian Constitution and increase...

,, a comprehensive package of constitutional amendments designed to gain the province of Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

's formal acceptance of the Constitution Act, 1982. Coyne was among many prominent Liberals who disagreed with the Accord, including Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Donald Johnston
Don Johnston
The Honourable Donald James Johnston, PC, OC, QC is a former Canadian politician, lawyer, and was Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development from 1996 to 2006.-Early life:...

 and Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
Joseph Jacques Jean Chrétien , known commonly as Jean Chrétien is a former Canadian politician who was the 20th Prime Minister of Canada. He served in the position for over ten years, from November 4, 1993 to December 12, 2003....

, although the issue split the federal Liberal caucus. She was a founding member of the Canadian Coalition on the Constitution, a grass-roots group that opposed the agreement. From 1989 to 1991, Coyne served as constitutional advisor to Newfoundland Premier
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador is the first minister, head of government and de facto chief executive for the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Before 1964, the position's official title was Premier of Newfoundland...

 Clyde Wells
Clyde Wells
Clyde Kirby Wells, QC was the fifth Premier of Newfoundland and was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador from 1999 to March 2009...

. Among the premiers, Wells was the staunchest opponent of the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord
Meech Lake Accord
The Meech Lake Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada negotiated in 1987 by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and ten provincial premiers. It was intended to persuade the government of the Province of Quebec to endorse the 1982 Canadian Constitution and increase...

. Following the death of the Accord, partly at the hands of the Newfoundland House of Assembly, she opposed the Charlottetown Accord
Charlottetown Accord
The Charlottetown Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada, proposed by the Canadian federal and provincial governments in 1992. It was submitted to a public referendum on October 26 of that year, and was defeated.-Background:...

, a subsequent attempt to amend the Canadian constitution. The Charlottetown agreement was submitted to a national referendum in 1992 and was ultimately rejected by a majority of Canadian voters. Coyne led one of the "No" committees in the campaign and spoke widely against the deal.

Recent career

Until the 2006 federal election
Canadian federal election, 2006
The 2006 Canadian federal election was held on January 23, 2006, to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 39th Parliament of Canada. The Conservative Party of Canada won the greatest number of seats: 40.3% of seats, or 124 out of 308, up from 99 seats in 2004, and 36.3% of votes:...

 was called she was a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is an independent administrative tribunal. The IRB is responsible for applying the Canadian federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and for making decisions on immigration and refugee matters...

. In that election, she ran in the electoral district
Electoral district (Canada)
An electoral district in Canada, also known as a constituency or a riding, is a geographical constituency upon which Canada's representative democracy is based...

 of Toronto—Danforth
Toronto—Danforth is a federal electoral district in Ontario, Canada, that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1979. It lies to the east of Downtown Toronto....

 as a Liberal Party
Liberal Party of Canada
The Liberal Party of Canada , colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party sits between the centre and the centre-left. Historically the Liberal Party has positioned itself to the left of the Conservative...

 candidate against New Democratic Party
New Democratic Party
The New Democratic Party , commonly referred to as the NDP, is a federal social-democratic political party in Canada. The interim leader of the NDP is Nycole Turmel who was appointed to the position due to the illness of Jack Layton, who died on August 22, 2011. The provincial wings of the NDP in...

 leader Jack Layton
Jack Layton
John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of...

. Coyne finished second to Layton with 17,256 votes, or 34.2%. In the next federal election
40th Canadian federal election
The 2008 Canadian federal election was held on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 to elect members to the Canadian House of Commons of the 40th Canadian Parliament after the previous parliament had been dissolved by the Governor General on September 7, 2008...

, Coyne was nominated in April 2007 to again compete against Layton and Green Party candidate Charles Battershill
Charles Battershill
Charles Battershill, was briefly the nominated Green Party of Canada candidate for the Toronto--Danforth federal electoral riding. He stepped down not long after his nomination for personal reasons...

. However, Coyne unexpectedly announced to her supporters via email on November 4, 2007 that she was withdrawing her candidacy because "it became clear that it was going to be very difficult to raise money from friends and family, who basically helped (her) out, to run a second time." She also stated that she "decided to bow out and refocus her energies on her consulting business." Nonetheless, on January 10, 2008, she filed her nomination papers for the riding of Don Valley West which is currently held by Liberal MP John Godfrey
John Godfrey
John Ferguson Godfrey, PC is a Canadian educator, journalist and former Member of Parliament.- Education :He was born in Toronto, Ontario. His father, Senator John Morrow Godfrey , was a Canadian pilot, lawyer and politician. John Godfrey graduated from Upper Canada College in 1960...

 who announced on November 26, 2007 that he would retire in July 2008. Others interested in the nomination include former Liberal MP Sarmite Bulte
Sarmite Bulte
Sarmite Drosma "Sam" Bulte, PC is a Latvian-Canadian lawyer, advocate and politician. A member of the Liberal Party, she represented the Toronto riding of Parkdale-High Park in the Canadian House of Commons through three successive parliaments from June 2, 1997 to January 22, 2006 until her defeat...

, Abdul Ingar, a local imam, United Church Minister Rob Oliphant
Rob Oliphant
Robert "Rob" Oliphant is a Canadian politician and a United Church minister. He served in the House of Commons as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Don Valley West from 2008 to 2011.- Personal life :...

, and Jonathan Mousley, a former legislative assistant to former Liberal Cabinet minister David Collenette
David Collenette
David Michael Collenette, PC was a Canadian politician from 1974 to 2004, and a member of the Liberal Party of Canada. A graduate from York University's Glendon College in 1969, he subsequently received his MA from in 2004...

. In February 2008, Coyne accused Oliphant and Bulte's supporters of paying the requisite fees of members their respective campaigns had signed up, an act which is illegal under the Canada Elections Act if the candidate fails to disclose it. Coyne said that while she wasn't accusing Oliphant or Bulte of personally signing up new members improperly, every candidate must be held responsible for the actions of their representatives.

On February 25, 2008, Coyne withdrew from the nomination race in Don Valley West and endorsed Rob Oliphant
Rob Oliphant
Robert "Rob" Oliphant is a Canadian politician and a United Church minister. He served in the House of Commons as a Liberal Member of Parliament for the Toronto riding of Don Valley West from 2008 to 2011.- Personal life :...



Deborah Coyne is the cousin of journalist Andrew Coyne
Andrew Coyne
James Andrew Coyne is the national editor for Maclean's, a weekly national newsmagazine in Canada. Previously, he was a columnist with the National Post and an editor-in-chief of the University of Manitoba's newspaper, The Manitoban.-Background:Coyne was born in Ottawa, Ontario, the son of Hope...

 and actress Susan Coyne
Susan Coyne
Susan Coyne is a Canadian writer and actress, best known as one of the co-creators and co-stars of the award-winning Slings and Arrows, a TV series which ran 2003–06 about a Canadian Shakespearean theatre company...

, and the niece of former Bank of Canada
Bank of Canada
The Bank of Canada is Canada's central bank and "lender of last resort". The Bank was created by an Act of Parliament on July 3, 1934 as a privately owned corporation. In 1938, the Bank became a Crown corporation belonging to the Government of Canada...

 governor James Coyne
James Coyne
James Elliott Coyne, BCL, BA was the second Governor of the Bank of Canada, from 1955 to 1961, succeeding Graham Towers. During his time in office, he had a much-publicized debate with Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, a debate often referred to as the "Coyne Affair" .-Life and career:Coyne was...

. Deborah Coyne now lives with her family in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

. For years, she dated former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
Pierre Trudeau
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliott Trudeau, , usually known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from April 20, 1968 to June 4, 1979, and again from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984.Trudeau began his political career campaigning for socialist ideals,...

 {John English: Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Knopf Canada, 2009}. Her daughter Sarah Elisabeth is the daughter of the former Prime Minister and is currently enrolled in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton was the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States...

. Her son, Matthew, is the son of Canadian journalist Michael Valpy
Michael Valpy
Michael Granville Valpy is an award-winning Canadian journalist and author. He writes for the Globe and Mail newspaper where he made his reputation on both political and human interest stories...

. Valpy and Coyne have since divorced.

Published works

  • Roll of the Dice: Working with Clyde Wells during the Meech Lake Accord, Toronto: James Lorimer & Co., 1992.
  • Seven Fateful Challenges for Canada: A Viable and Dynamic Canada in an Interdependent World, Montreal/Toronto: Robert Davies Publishing, 1993.

External links