James Coyne, 1910-2012
October 17, 2012 7:51 PM   Subscribe

James Coyne, the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, died October 12 at the age of 102. Coyne will be best-remembered for the Coyne Affair in 1961, a watershed moment in Canadian monetary policy that has been the subject of scholarly articles and at least one Master's thesis. Coyne and the Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, disagreed on monetary policy. After Diefenbaker failed to get a bill vacating the office of Bank Governor through the Senate, Coyne resigned, setting the modern precedent that the government, not the Bank, sets the fundamental direction of monetary policy in Canada but that the Bank implements policy independently. His son, columnist Andrew Coyne, pays tribute (obliquely) to James Coyne's legacy of integrity in public office. (Andrew once complimented his father's parsimoniousness in purchasing cars.)
posted by Dasein (8 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Missed this news, and just read Andrew's very good column. It makes so much more sense now. Thanks!
posted by dry white toast at 8:15 PM on October 17, 2012

Coyne. ISWYDT, Canada.
posted by dhartung at 10:57 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Andrew Coyne's column about cars and partly about his father reminded me of our own Sonascope, but with less French cars.
posted by Harald74 at 12:09 AM on October 18, 2012

I had no idea that Andrew Coyne had such a pedigree. One of our more entertaining writers, that's for sure.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:47 AM on October 18, 2012

My aunt lives on Coyne Rd. I always wondered after whom it was named, and now I know. Neato.
posted by empatterson at 5:24 AM on October 18, 2012

For you non-Canadians scanning the links, I'll just point out wrinkle in the story is that the Senate of Canada isn't an elected body.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:06 AM on October 18, 2012

Love it.

Further background - Coyne, a liberal, was running a "tight money" fiscal policy, traditionally a conservative* sort of position, while the conservative government wanted a more liberal fiscal program. An expansive monetary policy would put more cash into the economy and the government also wanted to allow more direct American investment. This issue of American economic control remains a major one in Canada, and the Diefenbaker government had capitulated to the US on a number of defense issues, including on the Avro Arrow, SAGE, and Bomarc and so this was seen as further erosion of Canadian independence. That's part of the context behind the articles description of Coyne as a nationalist.

*As in folks who espouse political beliefs that are conservative in nature: ie not republicans, and as demonstrated here not "progressive conservatives" which is what the Canadian conservatives called themselves at the time.
posted by zenon at 10:17 AM on October 18, 2012

For you non-Canadians scanning the links, I'll just point out wrinkle in the story is that the Senate of Canada isn't an elected body.

Yup, and would have been massively dominated by Liberals appointed over 22 years of unbroken Liberal rule.

The Canadian Senate occasionally has a big impact. (It was a tie vote in the Senate on a new abortion law in 1989 after the Supreme Court struck down in the old one that meant Canada passed no legislation at all related to abortion, a globally unique situation that continues to this day.)
posted by Dasein at 9:58 AM on October 19, 2012

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