Deborah Coyne
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 is currently an independent public policy consultant.

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.

Entries by Deborah Coyne

Our Politicians Are Failing Us. Here's What We Need to Do

(28) Comments | Posted January 18, 2015 | 5:25 PM

2015 is an important year for Canadians. Sometime before the end of the year we will have a general election to elect a new Parliament and Government of Canada.

Yet, more and more Canadians, especially younger ones, dismiss politics as a boring and outdated struggle amongst elite political operatives...

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It's Time to Engage Citizens in our Democracy Again

(13) Comments | Posted May 18, 2014 | 10:15 AM

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...

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At the Liberal Convention No Conservative Pettiness Allowed

(13) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 12:27 PM

Can anyone really be surprised by the news that the Conservative Party war room is consumed with developing a detailed plan to disrupt this month's federal Liberal policy convention in Montreal? This is simply the latest act of partisan pettiness from a government that more and more Canadians consider to...

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How to Beat Stephen Harper's Cynical Election Playbook

(7) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 12:31 PM

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...

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Bring the People of Canada Into the Constitutional Reform Process

(7) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 8:28 AM

It is time for Canadians to say enough with the moans and groans from our political leaders and the chattering classes about the dangers of constitutional change and a scary quagmire of federal-provincial negotiations.

Constitutional reform is entirely legitimate in the life of a vibrant democracy. The Canadian Senate...

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Five Steps to Restoring Democracy in Canada

(20) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 6:34 PM

What is at the root of the tawdry Senate scandal that is sucking the oxygen out of what is left of Parliament? It is not the illegal expense claims and ethical breaches, however reprehensible. Nor is it the tangled web of deception that is rapidly unravelling.

The root cause is...

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Does Social Media Save or Sour Politics?

(2) Comments | Posted September 23, 2013 | 12:43 AM

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...

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How Quebec's Charter Can Bring Canada Closer Together

(46) Comments | Posted September 20, 2013 | 5:33 PM

The proposed Charter of Quebec Values is rightly recognized both inside and outside Quebec as a cynical ploy by a weak sovereigntist government to create an issue that may help divide Quebec from Canada.

Playing to a shrinking base, the PQ tries to define "secularism" as a distinctive Quebec...

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

(18) Comments | Posted July 19, 2013 | 1:16 PM

As the summer of 2013 accumulates tragedies and sorrows that affect so many Canadians -- from the flooding in Alberta to the rail tragedy in Lac Mégantic -- instant accusations and recriminations are unhelpful. The larger question must be how we can prevent future crises, or reduce the impact when...

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Stephen Harper's Small Thinking Doesn't Engage Canadians

(26) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 5:04 PM

The current scandals enveloping the Senate and the Prime Minister's Office are simply the most visible symptom of the Conservative government's approach to managing the nation's affairs.

Stephen Harper leads an unprecedentedly insular and partisan national government -- a government that has perfected slice-and-dice incremental politics to the point of...

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Citizen Engagement: Power from the People

(3) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 5:59 PM

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.

It is not...

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For Canada's Poor, Working Can Be a Disincentive

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 9:46 AM

Effectively addressing issues of poverty and unemployment is a critical component of building both a fairer, more compassionate society, and a productive economy. It is time to rethink government's role in reducing poverty and unemployment, and strengthening our social economy where we all have access to equal opportunities. We all...

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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Turns 31

(8) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 9:31 AM

Wednesday marked the 31st anniversary of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In honour of Charter Day, the following is an excerpt from my paper, What makes us Canadian:

When we look for a unifying symbol with which all Canadians identify, it is certainly not the monarchy, despite...

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Quebec's Signature on the Constitution Is Symbolic But Ideal

(8) Comments | Posted March 22, 2013 | 6:53 PM

I congratulate Philippe Couillard on his election as leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, and I note with interest his openness to engaging in constitutional discussions that could lead to a vote in the National Assembly in Quebec endorsing the 1982 Constitution Act. I find it refreshing,...

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One Canada: Building a Stronger and More Inclusive Federation

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 4:12 PM

(Bâtir une fédération plus forte et inclusive - Un Canada)

At the heart of my vision of One Canada for All Canadians is a more inclusive Canada. It is a Canada where citizens, communities, governments come together to build a better union.

I believe Canadians want...

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Rolling Up My Sleeves for One Canada

(6) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 12:52 PM

During this campaign, I have heard from many Canadians of their desire for a more civil dialogue and more constructive teamwork in national politics, especially in Parliament. I share this desire, and I have made a number of proposals that would reduce the power of the Prime Minister's...

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My Top Three Priorities: The Economy, the Economy, and the Economy

(33) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 5:25 PM

People often ask me what my three top priorities are, and I tell them the economy, the economy, and the economy.

Why do I say this? Because I believe the need for a sound economy underpins all aspects of our lives.

We face a crippling infrastructure deficit in our towns...

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Unscripted: A Life Devoted to Building a Better Canada (EXCERPT)

(8) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 4:30 PM

As the race for the leadership of Canada's federal Liberal Party heats up, candidate Deborah Coyne has written Unscripted, a memoir that weaves her life-long dedication to seeking bold directions for the Canadian nation with her 15-year relationship with the late former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau. Lawyer, university professor, constitutional...

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One Canada for All Canadians

(28) Comments | Posted November 14, 2012 | 7:54 AM

To mark the official start of the federal Liberal leadership race, The Huffington Post Canada asked all the declared candidate to tell us, in their words, why they decided to run. Deborah Coyne, a lawyer and former professor, announced her bid for the Liberal leadership on June 27, 2012."


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Hey Harper, Take the PQ Win as a Chance to Step it Up

(5) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 5:42 PM

I wish to strongly condemn the violence this week that marred the Quebec election results. Such violence has no place in our country and in our democratic process, where millions of Canadians exercised their democratic rights by casting their ballots in peace and freedom. My thoughts...

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