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Date of Birth: 1910
Death: 2012
Graduation: 1925

James Coyne

In 1934, James Coyne, a Rhodes Scholar, received a law degree from Oxford University. Four years later, he was hired by the Bank of Canada. As a rising star at the Bank, Coyne worked for the Rowell-Sirois Commission, the Central Exchange Bank, and the Foreign Exchange Control Board. He also helped draft the secret Hyde Park agreement when he travelled to Washington as the first financial attaché in the Canadian embassy. During the Second World War, he was promoted as deputy chairman of the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. Coyne, however, wanted to serve his country so he left the back to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. Despite finishing at the top of his pilot classes, he was told that he was too old to serve overseas. He spent the war years working as a security guard at the Portage le Prairie airbase. In 1955, Coyne became the governor of the Bank of Canada and president of the Industrial Development Bank. A few years later, he was entangled in a public disagreement with Prime Minister Diefenbaker over government fiscal policy. This dispute was popularly known as the "Coyne Affair" and ultimately led to Coyne's resignation in 1961 and greater independence for the bank of Canada. In the same year, he was named "The Canadian Newsmaker of the Year" by the Canadian Press. In 2012, Coyne was made a Member of the Order of Manitoba.