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Deborah Coyne

constitutional lawyer, activist

Deborah Coyne has, throughout her varied career, worked to build a better Canada. Lawyer, university professor, constitutional activist, public servant, writer, and mother of two children, her skills and hard work have often placed her at the centre of the great public debates of our times. Deborah currently practices law and public policy.

After completing a law degree at York University’s Osgoode Hall, Deborah earned a Masters of Philosophy in International Relations from Oxford University. Upon her return to Toronto, Deborah practiced law before embarking on an active public policy career.

Wanting to make a difference, Deborah served in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Business Council on National Issues, the Ontario Secretariat for Disabled Persons, and the 1986 Ontario Insurance Task Force.

From 1986 to 1988, she taught at the University of Toronto Law School. Beginning in 1987, Deborah became a leading figure in the constitutional debates that unfolded involving the Meech Lake Accord and the referendum on the Charlottetown Accord. As well as mobilizing civil
society engagement, she was a co-founder of the Canada for All Canadians Committee and the Canadian Coalition on the Constitution.

Deborah subsequently worked at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Walter and Duncan Gordon Charitable Foundation, Informetrica Ltd., the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, and the Ontario Health Professions and Health Insurance Appeal & Review Boards. She is the author of numerous articles and four books on a wide range of topics affecting Canada and Canadians. She has been a member of the Advisory Council and the Steering Committee of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of Policy Options, and the chair of the 2006 Liberal Party Task Force on Public Safety and Justice.

Deborah Coyne was the federal Liberal candidate in the riding of Toronto-Danforth in the 2006 general election, and a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in 2012-2013. In 2015, she worked for the leader of the Green Party of Canada as a senior policy advisor.She now belongs to no political party.

www.canadianswithoutborders.ca
http://deborahcoyne.ca
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Canadians Want to Believe a Different Way Is Possible

When we no longer have confidence in collective action, why would we even bother to ask something of our anemic government? By not taking firm steps to deal with the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis from the beginning, we have allowed a ticking time bomb of humanity to destabilize the Middle East and give comfort to vocal xenophobic factions in Europe.
09/10/2015 12:25 EDT
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Why I'm Running for the Green Party of Canada

The Green Party offers Canadians a clear choice and fresh vision to get us working together again for One Canada for all Canadians. But all progressive voters must work together to take back Canada, a Canada that earns the admiration of the world for our innovation and competitive spirit.
08/02/2015 08:19 EDT
AFP via Getty Images

Why I'm Running for the Green Party of Canada

The Green Party offers Canadians a clear choice and fresh vision to get us working together again for One Canada for all Canadians. But all progressive voters must work together to take back Canada, a Canada that earns the admiration of the world for our innovation and competitive spirit.
08/02/2015 08:19 EDT
AFP via Getty Images

25 Reasons for Canadians Under 25 to Vote Green

Demonstrating the Green Party's commitment to principled, thoughtful politics, each reason highlights a specific, deep-rooted problem and provides a long-term viable solution. The ultimate goal: build a better Canada for all Canadians, a Canada with a sustainable future grounded in responsible environmental stewardship, social justice and fiscal responsibility.
07/16/2015 12:50 EDT
mastermaq/Flickr

Reform or Abolish the Senate? The Choice Should Be Ours

The latest depressing revelations about the Senate make it clear that the institution cannot continue in its present form. The vast majority of Canadians now agree that reform or abolition of the Canadian Senate is overdue. It is time to bring the people of Canada into the centre of the process and directly consult Canadians on any proposal for constitutional reform through a consultative referendum.
06/14/2015 10:59 EDT
WikiMedia

It's Time to Engage Citizens in our Democracy Again

I believe in one Canada for all Canadians. I believe we can and must do politics differently by engaging citizens in our democracy. We all need to work together to build our great country. No one should feel left behind. That's why I'm seeking the Liberal Party of Canada nomination in Ottawa West-Nepean.
05/18/2014 09:15 EDT
Shutterstock / Volga

How to Beat Stephen Harper's Cynical Election Playbook

We face two critical challenges in Canadian national politics today. First, how do we restore genuine democracy and persuade the 40 per cent of Canadians who sat out the vote in 2011 to vote again? The second challenge relates to the first: How do we convince those same Canadians to vote for the strong, active federal government we need to build a productive, innovative economy that fairly benefits all Canadians?
01/07/2014 12:31 EST
Getty

Bring the People of Canada Into the Constitutional Reform Process

Constitutional reform is entirely legitimate in the life of a vibrant democracy. The Canadian Senate either needs serious reform or it should be abolished, and this requires changes to our Constitution. In refusing to engage the people in constitutional reform, our leaders forget that the Constitution belongs to the people of Canada, not to the federal and provincial governments.
11/04/2013 08:28 EST
WikiMedia

Five Steps to Restoring Democracy in Canada

What is at the root of the tawdry Senate scandal that is sucking the oxygen out of what is left of Parliament? The root cause is the extraordinary concentration of power in the executive branch of the Government of Canada, namely, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
10/31/2013 05:35 EDT
Getty

Does Social Media Save or Sour Politics?

Social networks' participatory power and our unfettered access to data is transforming politics -- and democracy itself. Political influence is shifting away from brokers and elites, and back to the people. Which is, generally, a good thing. However, instant communication and unfiltered flows of information are at best a mixed blessing.
09/22/2013 11:43 EDT
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How Quebec's Charter Can Bring Canada Closer Together

The divisive PQ secularism initiative in fact provides our national leadership with a valuable opportunity to invite Quebecers to engage with all other Canadians in a broader debate -- one that brings us together to confront the challenges of the 21st century and build a country that matches our highest aspirations for the future.
09/20/2013 05:39 EDT
WikiMedia

Canadians Don't Trust Politicians - Let's Strive to Change That

A recent Ekos Research poll finds that a mere 10 per cent of Canadians trusts politicians. This summer's tragedies are not political events. They do, however, demonstrate a critical reality: Political and governmental leaders must think and act for the good of Canadians in the long-term.
07/19/2013 12:19 EDT
CP

Stephen Harper's Small Thinking Doesn't Engage Canadians

Stephen Harper's problem is that he thinks too small. No short-term partisan advantage is too minute for him to pursue and no long-term challenge facing the country is too large for him to ignore. By contrast, we need national leaders who will think forward and think big; who will govern intelligently and respectfully; who will call for a new federalism for the 21st century.
06/03/2013 05:18 EDT

Citizen Engagement: Power from the People

Whether we choose to think about business, health care, education or war, all have undergone transformative change brought about by the information revolution. In fact, every area of modern life is going through this change. Every area except our formal structures of politics and government, that is.
05/09/2013 05:26 EDT
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For Canada's Poor, Working Can Be a Disincentive

It is time to rethink government's role in reducing poverty and unemployment. Take, for example, the Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB), which is supposed to help Canadians in low-paying jobs keep more of their employment income. Essentially, the program is a disincentive to work.
04/30/2013 12:14 EDT
Getty Images

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Turns 31

The Charter remains a concrete expression of our shared values, the rights we can expect to have respected, and the responsibilities we owe each other. It is a crucial part of what binds us together in our diversity. It is sad that our current government remains unable to rise above petty partisanship in order to celebrate the Charter with all Canadians.
04/21/2013 11:00 EDT
PC

Quebec's Signature on the Constitution Is Symbolic But Ideal

The Constitution of 1982 is the fundamental law of the land everywhere in Canada, including Quebec, notwithstanding the regrettable fact that the then sovereigntist premier of Quebec, René Lévesque, refused to sign the final document. However, although not legally necessary, it is nevertheless desirable that the National Assembly of Quebec formally endorse the 1982 constitutional changes.
03/22/2013 05:26 EDT