Born in Rivers, Manitoba, Les Leyne was raised in Qualicum Beach. Leyne attended Carleton University and UVic, where he graduated after working on the university newspaper. He worked at weekly newspapers in Duncan, where he covered the incineration of 13 tons of marijuana, and the west shore before joining the Times Colonist. Leyne was banished from the newsroom to the Legislature bureau in 1985 and has been there ever since. His budget scoop in 1995 got him nominated for a Jack Webster Award and he claimed a share of the TC's 2003 Webster Award for political coverage. He was nominated for a National Newspaper Award for column writing in 2008 and won the Jack Webster "City Mike" Award for commentary in 2009. He writes four days a week on provincial affairs.