Manitoba Historical Society
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Memorable Manitobans: James Elliott Coyne (1910-2012)

Lawyer, civil servant.

Born at Winnipeg on 17 July 1910, son of James B. Coyne and Edna Margaret Elliott, he attended Earl Grey School, Kelvin High School, and the University of Manitoba (BA, 1931) then received a Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar then practiced law in Winnipeg from 1934 to 1938.

In 1938, he became a researcher for the newly created Bank of Canada, rising to become its Deputy Governor (January 1950) and Governor (January 1955). Vocally critical of the country’s high inflation at the time, he was fired by then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in what came to be known as the Coyne Affair. In the aftermath, a Royal Commission led to changes to Canadian monetary policies. He returned to Winnipeg in 1966 where he worked to form a Bank of Western Canada, an attempt which ultimately failed.

On 26 June 1957, he married Hope Meribeth Stobie Riley, widow of Robert S. Riley. They had two children: Susan Coyne (b 1958) and Andrew Coyne (b 1960). He was given an honorary degree by the University of Manitoba (1961) and was inducted into the Order of Manitoba (2012).

He died on 12 October 2012.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: R. R. Scott House (29 Ruskin Row, Winnipeg)

The Bank of Canada and James Elliott Coyne: Challenges, Confrontation, and Change by James Powell (2009).


“Winnipeggers in Ottawa: James Elliott Coyne,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 1950, page 21.

“Coyne, Beattie named to top bank positions,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 November 1954, page 1.

“The man who refused to go quietly” by Gordon Sinclair Jr., Winnipeg Free Press, 17 July 2010, page B1.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 27 June 2015

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society. We acknowledge that the collection contains both reputable and disreputable people. All are worth remembering as a lesson to future generations.

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