Sarah Elizabeth Coyne

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Sarah Elisabeth Coyne
Born May 5, 1991 (1991-05-05) (age 27)[1]
Nationality Canada
Occupation Economist
Known for Pierre Trudeau's only daughter

Sarah Elisabeth Coyne is a Canadian citizen and an alumnus of the Economics program at the Wharton School, in Pennsylvania. Both her parents were Canadian Constitutional scholars. Her mother, Deborah Coyne, played a key role in Canada's Meech Lake Accord. Her father was Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada who patriated Canada's Constitution.[2]

In 2010 the Toronto Star profiled 19 year old Coyne, while she was studying Economics, at the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania.[3] [4] According to a 2010 profile in the Hamilton Spectator Coyne has generally lived a quiet, private life, with the exception of publicly helping her mother run for a seat in the Parliament of Canada.[3][5] Coyne attended University of Toronto Schools.

The Spectator reported that Coyne had had little contact with her older half-brothers, whose mother is Margaret Trudeau.[3] The Spectator reported that nine-year-old Coyne was embraced by both former President Jimmy Carter and Cuban President Fidel Castro at her father's funeral. The Spectator reported that she was not mentioned in the eulogy her half-brother Justin Trudeau delivered at her father's funeral.

In his account of her father's friendship with Fidel Castro, Richard Wright described Carter speaking privately with Sarah, at her father's funeral, hugging her, and telling her she was a "brave girl".[6]

Her mother, Deborah Coyne, put her name forward as a candidate for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada in June 2012, and her half-brother Justin Trudeau put his name forward in September 2012.[7]

Coyne has a younger half-brother, Matthew, from her mother's marriage to Globe and Mail columnist Michael Valpy.[3][8]

Margaret Wente profiled Coyne's mother in the Globe and Mail on January 15, 2013, based on her recently published memoirs, Unscripted: A Life Devoted to Building a Better Canada.[9] According to Wente, Deborah Coyne and Pierre Trudeau had been involved in a relationship for over five years, and after the birth of their child, Trudeau treated Sarah "like a distant uncle":[10]

“He made it clear from the beginning that the boys were his first priority and that remarriage was out of the question... He stressed that Sarah and I wouldn’t be able to just come by his home any time we wanted to.”[9]

According to the National Post during the Federal election campaign that led to her older brother Justin becoming Prime Minister of Canada, Coyne told reporters “it’s not something I’ve thought about,” when asked if she had political ambitions of her own.[11]

In her PhD thesis on the legal aspects of advances in reproductive technology Roxanne Mykitiuk compared the reaction to older women using these technologies to bear children at older ages to that of the reaction that to her father Pierre, siring Sarah at 71.[12] She noted that some reproductive scientists referred to women who wanted to use technology at relatively advanced ages were referred to as "frankensteins", while Trudeau earned praise and admiration.


  1. "Trudeau new dad". Pittsburgh Press. 1991-09-09.,5002909&hl=en. Retrieved 2015-10-22. 
  2. Michael T. Kaufman (2000-09-29). "Pierre Trudeau Is Dead at 80; Dashing Fighter for Canada". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. "He was close to his surviving sons and until his last illness frequently visited his daughter by Miss Coyne, the lawyer, whom he had first met professionally. The girl was born when Mr. Trudeau was 71." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Brett Popplewell (2010-11-24). "Pierre Trudeau's daughter, Sarah, lives under the radar". Hamilton Spectator. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. "To passersby she's just another sophomore at one of the world's most prestigious business schools. To those who know her on campus, she's not Canadian royalty but the sporty outgoing sorority girl who carries her weight in a backpack filled with economics text books." 
  4. Jonathon Kay (2010-11-26). "Deborah Coyne fires back at Toronto Star for its weird, creepy A1 piece on her daughter". National Post. Retrieved 2015-10-22. "In today’s edition, the Star published two letters attacking the Star — including one from Deborah Coyne, which reads as follows:" 
  5. John Michael McGrath (2010-11-24). "Toronto Star explores the life of a 19-year-old woman, for some reason". Toronto Life. Retrieved 2015-10-22. "And yes, the former prime minister had a daughter out of wedlock. The Star apparently did a Google search and found out where she’s going to school, investigated, then published its findings under the headline “Pierre Trudeau’s daughter, Sarah, lives under the radar.” Not anymore, eh, Star?" 
  6. Robert Wright (2010). Three Nights in Havana: Pierre Trudeau, Fidel Castro, and the Cold War World. Harper Collins Canada. ISBN 9781554689316. "Jimmy Carter, also deeply moved by the service, gave Margeret and her sons a warm embrace. He was equally attentive to Trudeau's daughter, Sarah. With tears in his eyes, he gave her a gentle hug. 'You're a brave girl', he said." 
  7. Joan Bryden (2012-06-27). "Justin not only potential Trudeau connection in Liberal leadership race". Global TV. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. "Nor, Coyne maintains, will it make for uncomfortable half-sibling relations. Daughter Sarah is "very supportive of me and interested in what I'm doing," but she's heading into her final undergraduate year at an American university and won't be involved in the leadership campaign." 
  8. Georgie Binks (2005-11-19). "The IPO of Deborah Coyne". National Post. Archived from the original on 2012-09-26. "Coyne also shuns any questions about her children, Sarah, 14, (with Trudeau) and Matthew, 9, (from her marriage to journalist Michael Valpy, from whom she is now divorced.) I have not seen either in probably five years and all I can say is that they are sweet, affectionate children, both smart like their mother, who dotes on them." 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Margaret Wente (2013-01-15). "Coyne, Trudeau: Strange bedfellows indeed". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-20. "The flat, matter-of-fact tone conceals a world of hurt. After that conversation, she began “distancing” herself from him. When Pierre died in 2000, she and Sarah walked a few steps behind Margaret and the boys. They were the shadow family." 
  10. Marc Weisblott (2013-01-15). "Why is Deborah Coyne not oversharing even more detail about her romance with Pierre Trudeau?". O Canada. Archived from the original on 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2015-10-20. "Coyne was all but forced to stay on the fringes of his life — in a role likened to a “distant uncle” — right up until he died in 2000." 
  11. "Meet the Trudeaus: Who’s who in Canada’s first and only federal dynasty". National Post. 2015-10-21. Archived from the original on 2015-10-21. Retrieved 2015-10-21. "In fact, she just wrapped up an unsuccessful campaign for the Green Party in the Ottawa riding of Carleton. But Justin has been almost completely estranged from Deborah and his 23-year-old half-sister Sarah Coyne." 
  12. Roxanne MyKitiuk (2013). Legal Text, Human Bodies: Reading Embodiment in the Digital Age. Columbia University. Retrieved 2015-10-22. "when the 71 year old former Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, was entered on the birth certificate of Sarah Coyne as the father, The Globe and Mail (Canada's "National" newspaper) published a cartoon showing Mr. Trudeau and another "older" man seated at separate tables in a restaruant. Gesturing toward Mr. Trudeau, the man says to the waiter: "I'll have whatever he's having."". 

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