James Allan Coutts CM (May 16, 1938 – December 31, 2013) was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, and former advisor to two prime ministers.

Jim Coutts
Born(1938-05-16)May 16, 1938
High River, Alberta, Canada
DiedDecember 31, 2013(2013-12-31) (aged 75)
Alma materUniversity of Alberta
Harvard School of Business
Occupationlawyer, business person


Born in High River, Alberta, he was raised in Nanton, Alberta. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1960 and a law degree in 1961 from the University of Alberta and an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1968. He was called to Bar of Alberta in 1962.

From 1961 to 1963, he practiced law in Calgary, Alberta. From 1963 to 1966, he was a Secretary to Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. After receiving his MBA, he was a Consultant with McKinsey & Company from 1968 to 1970. From 1970 to 1975, he was a Partner with The Canada Consulting Group. From 1975 to 1981, he was the Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

In 1981, Trudeau appointed Liberal MP Peter Stollery to the Senate so Coutts could run for the House of Commons of Canada in what was thought of as the safe Ontario riding of Spadina. The plan backfired when Coutts narrowly lost to New Democrat Dan Heap despite personal interventions from Trudeau. Coutts ran again, but lost by a heavier margin in the 1984 election.

He subsequently left politics and entered business with an international career in industrial explosives. He was a principal of Lowther Consultants Limited and the chairman and chief executive officer of CIC Canadian Investment Capital Limited.[1]

He was also a philanthropist and a major donor to the University of Lethbridge.[1]

He was a member of the Board and Foundation of The Hospital for Sick Children and was a co-founder of the W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize.

In 2001, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Coutts died of cancer on December 31, 2013.[1][2]

Electoral historyEdit

Canadian federal by-election, 17 August 1981: Spadina
called after Stollery was appointed to the Senate
Party Candidate Votes
New Democratic Dan Heap 7,586
Liberal Jim Coutts 7,372
Progressive Conservative Laura Sabia 6,581
Rhinoceros Decriminalized Douglas 233
Libertarian Robert Champlin 162
Independent Anne McBride 84
Independent John Turmel 69
Independent Ronald Rodgers 41
1984 Canadian federal election: Spadina
Party Candidate Votes
New Democratic Dan Heap 13,241
Liberal Jim Coutts 11,880
Progressive Conservative Ying Hope 8,061
Libertarian William E. Burt 358
Rhinoceros Mara Maria Proussaefs 289
Independent Sam Guha 98


There is a James A. Coutts fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Jim Coutts, key adviser to former PMs Pearson and Trudeau, dies of cancer". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. January 1, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  2. ^ Gallant, Jacques (January 1, 2014). "Jim Coutts, Pearson and Trudeau advisor, dead at 75". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
  3. ^ "James A. Coutts fonds, Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved September 18, 2020.


External linksEdit