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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.
Rolling Up My Sleeves for One

Rolling Up My Sleeves for One Canada

<img alt="2013-02-26-LIBERALBANNER.jpg" src="" width="300" height="80" /> As long as Liberals look for short-cuts, we are doomed to wander in the wilderness. Our seat count and support has not eroded in successive elections because the progressive vote is divided. I believe that the way to defeat the Conservatives and elect a truly progressive government is to rebuild the Liberal Party of Canada as the distinctive, clear and principled voice of One Canada.
02/26/2013 12:23 EST
Unscripted: A Life Devoted to Building a Better Canada

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

<img alt="2013-01-14-deb.gif" src="" width="66" height="90" style="float: right;"/img> As the Ontario policy chair for the 1984 John Turner leadership campaign, I discovered how marginalized policy ideas were from the political process.Turner held his own during the first televised debate, but many believe that the knockout blow came in the second debate, when he told Mulroney that he had "no option" but to approve the patronage appointments Pierre had left him during the transition. Pointing a finger at Turner, Mulroney forcefully pounced. "You had an option, sir," Mulroney said. "You could have said, 'I'm not going to do it, this is wrong for Canada, and I'm not going to ask Canadians to pay the price'. . ." A clearly rattled Turner simply repeated, "I had no option."
01/14/2013 05:03 EST
One Canada for All

One Canada for All Canadians

<img alt="2012-11-14-LIBERALBANNER.jpg" src="" width="300" height="80" /> Canadians urgently need the Liberal Party to step up to the plate, and provide the bold national leadership so glaringly absent today. It's an ambitious vision, but I have never been one to back away from a challenge. I have seen first-hand the power Canadians can have when we come together for One Canada. Join me in building a better Canada.
11/14/2012 08:22 EST
Hey Harper, Take the PQ Win as a Chance to Step it

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

The advent of a PQ government in Quebec is both a challenge and an opportunity for Canada. This is a time for renewed national leadership that reaches out to Canadians to offers an overarching vision for Canada in the 21st century -- one where a strong federal government works with the provinces. I look forward to working with Quebecers and all Canadians to build a 21st century Canada -- one Canada, for all Canadians.
09/06/2012 05:14 EDT
Harper's Made Alphabet Soup of our Tax

Harper's Made Alphabet Soup of our Tax System

The conclusion of a study in the Canadian Tax Journal that Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) have become yet another tax break that favours high-income Canadians should come as no surprise. Since 2006, the Harper government has worsened the alphabet soup of exemptions and tax credits that passes for our tax system, by essentially bribing certain segments of the population.
08/10/2012 05:26 EDT
Hey Ottawa -- There's Nothing National About the Pipeline

Hey Ottawa -- There's Nothing National About the Pipeline Debate

The "national energy strategy" recently debated by the provincial premiers is going nowhere fast, not least because the "national" part is completely meaningless. If one province needs the cooperation of another province, for example, to export power or resources across provincial boundaries -- pipelines from Alberta, hydro power from Newfoundland -- this is a matter to be resolved by the affected provinces, not Ottawa.
08/01/2012 05:16 EDT
How Harper Is Turning Canada into a Watered Down

How Harper Is Turning Canada into a Watered Down EU

Harper is creating a weak Canadian version of the European Union by reverse osmosis -- concentrating executive power around him, consolidating federal power in fewer areas and spinning off the tricky inconvenient parts, like maintaining comparable public services across the country and the national economic union, to the provinces.
07/26/2012 05:12 EDT
Why I Should Lead the Liberal Party of

Why I Should Lead the Liberal Party of Canada

My vision for Canada's future is one that appeals to our higher aspirations and hopes for the future, rather than to our fears, distrust, and resentment. In running for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada, I want to appeal to all those Canadians who are uncertain where they fit into Canadian politics, but want to talk about the kind of nation we are building, and what it is that makes us Canadian.
07/05/2012 07:34 EDT
Transparency Is the Solution to Canada's Dysfunctional

Transparency Is the Solution to Canada's Dysfunctional Government

Canadians are disengaged from political processes because Canada's political institutions and leadership are no longer accountable and responsive to their needs. This arises from the dysfunctional and opaque terms of relations between various levels of government.
11/11/2011 07:27 EST
Canada's Dysfunctional

Canada's Dysfunctional Politics

OWS and other vigorous civil-society groups would seem to demonstrate that citizen disengagement from our formal political processes is not the result of a lack of interest in constructive public action on critical issues, but is, rather, a reflection of our alienation from an increasingly dysfunctional ingrown political system.
11/10/2011 09:13 EST
Building Better Governance for Aboriginal

Building Better Governance for Aboriginal Canadians

The fact that the plight of Aboriginal Canadians still has to be singled out for special attention in the early 21st century conclusively demonstrates the urgent need for outside-the-box thinking and new institutional structures to support good governance.
09/04/2011 10:49 EDT
Canada's Green Energy Plan: National Leadership Missing in

Canada's Green Energy Plan: National Leadership Missing in Action

Despite the need for bold leadership to rise above the dissonant cacophony of provincial voices and ensure concrete progress towards Canada's green energy future, the federal government remains content to muddle along, making ad hoc one-off deals with provinces. Canadians must directly challenge this incoherence.
08/26/2011 11:09 EDT
Rebuilding Confidence When Our Infrastructure Is

Rebuilding Confidence When Our Infrastructure Is Crumbling

Recently, two major transportation arteries in Montreal have been disrupted because of partial structural collapses. These events are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of crumbling bridges, tunnels, roads, and sewers, and inadequate municipal transit and water purification systems across Canada.
08/24/2011 09:14 EDT
Canadians Facing a Crisis of

Canadians Facing a Crisis of Confidence

The great danger now emerging is that if Canadians can no longer be persuaded of the legitimacy of national action, our collective ability to build on what we have in common will gradually, but inevitably, disintegrate.
08/21/2011 11:35 EDT