James Elliott Coyne, the Bank of Canada governor who resigned after the Diefenbaker government tried to fire him during a dispute over monetary policy, has died.
Coyne died in Winnipeg on Friday at 102.
"He was a good example for all of us — right to the end he was still alert and keeping himself active," Patrick Riley, a local lawyer and his son, said Saturday.
"He was always a man of the highest principle. He set that kind of example. He was willing to stand on principle."
Coyne was honoured by the province in July with the Order of Manitoba.
Coyne was born in Winnipeg to James Bowes Coyne, a Manitoba Court of Appeal justice, and his mother Edna, in 1910.
According to the Bank of Canada website, Coyne graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Arts in 1931, and went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, receiving his BA in jurisprudence and BCL in 1934.
Riley said his father practised as a lawyer before joining the Bank of Canada in 1938.
Coyne left that job the next year to join the Central Mortgage Bank, before also working with the Foreign Exchange Control Board, the Canadian Embassy in Washington and the Wartime Prices and Trade Board.
Coyne also served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1942 to 1944.
Coyne re-joined the Bank of Canada and rose through the ranks to become deputy governor from 1950 to 1954, when he was appointed the bank’s second governor and president of the Industrial Development Bank on Jan. 1, 1955.
Coyne resigned at the end of what’s become known as either the Coyne Affair or the Coyne Crisis. Coyne made repeated speeches criticizing the Diefenbaker government’s fiscal policies, in which it was borrowing massive amounts of money to stimulate the economy, and he rejected lowering interest rates.
The government voted to terminate Coyne from his position, but the Liberal-dominated Senate rejected the bill.
Coyne resigned anyway the next day on July 13, 1961.
Besides son Patrick Riley, Coyne is survived by his wife of 55 years, Meribeth, his other sons Sanford Riley, CEO of the Richardson Financial Group, and Andrew Coyne, a National Post columnist, two daughters Nancy Riley and Susan Coyne, 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.