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The Right Honourable
 Edward Richard Schreyer
 PC, CC, CMM, OM, CD, BA BEd MA(Int rel) MA(Econ) Man, DSS(hc), LLD(hc)[1]

In office
22 January 1979 – 14 May 1984
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
Joe Clark
Preceded by Jules Léger
Succeeded by Jeanne Sauvé

Born 21 December 1935 (1935-12-21) (age 74)
Beausejour, Manitoba
Political party NDP
Spouse(s) Lily Schreyer
Profession Politician, Professor
Religion Roman Catholic

Edward Richard Schreyer PC CC CMM OM CD (born 21 December 1935) is a Canadian politician and statesman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 22nd since that country's Confederation. He was appointed as such by Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on the recommendation of then Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Trudeau, to replace Jules Léger as viceroy, with the official announcement of the selection made on 28 December 1978.[2] Schreyer's investiture took place on 22 January of the following year,[2] and he occupied the viceregal post until succeeded by Jeanne Sauvé on 14 May 1984.

Schreyer was born and educated in Manitoba prior to being elected in 1958 to the province's legislative assembly. He later moved into federal politics, winning a seat in the House of Commons, but returned to Manitoba in 1969, becoming leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party (NDP). The party then won that year's provincial election, and Schreyer was called upon to act as Premier of Manitoba. As the Queen's representative, he was praised for raising the stature of Ukrainian Canadians, though disparaged for his lacklustre vigour in exercising the role of Governor General, and, decades after departing the viceregal post, Schreyer again ran for election to the federal legislature. Though he ultimately failed to win a seat, he became the first ever person to run for election in Canada after serving as the country's Governor General.

During his time as Manitoba's premier, Schreyer was entitled to the accordant style of The Honourable, the same style he received again upon his appointment on 3 June 1984 into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.[3] However, as a former Governor General of Canada, Schreyer is entitled to be styled for life with the superior form of The Right Honourable.


Early life and youth

St. John's College, University of Manitoba, where Schreyer obtained four degrees

Schreyer was born in Beausejour, Manitoba, to German-Austrian, Catholic parents; his maternal grandparents were Austrians who emigrated from western Ukraine. Schreyer attended Cromwell Elementary School and Beausejour Collegiate Secondary School before taking further studies at United College and St. John's College at the University of Manitoba. There, he received in 1959 a Bachelor of Pedagogy, a Bachelor of Education in 1962, a Master of Arts in International Relations, and in 1963 a second Master of Arts in Economics. Concurrently, for three years following 1962, Schreyer served as a professor of International Relations at St. Paul's College.[2][4]

Also while pursuing his post-graduate degrees, Schreyer married Lilly Schultz, with whom he had two daughters — Lisa and Karmel — and two sons — Jason and Toban.[2]

Political career

In the Manitoba election of 1958, Schreyer was elected to the that province's legislative assembly as a member of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), representing the rural constituency of Brokenhead; being only 22 years old at the time, Schreyer became the youngest person ever elected to that chamber.[5] He held the riding until resigning 1965 to run successfully for the House of Commons in Ottawa. However, Schreyer returned to provincial politics in 1969, and was on 8 June elected as leader of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba (NDP),[4] the successor to the Manitoba CCF. He differed in a number of respects from the previous leaders of Manitoba's NDP: from a rural background, and not committed to socialism as an ideology, he was able to win the support of many centrist voters who had not previously identified with the party. Also, he was the first leader of the Manitoba CCF/NDP who was not of Anglo-Saxon and Protestant descent.

Schreyer led his party to a watershed electoral victory in the 1969 provincial election and was subsequently appointed by Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Grant MacEwan as his Premier, in which position Schreyer served until 1977. The government during his premiership amalgamated the city of Winnipeg with its suburbs, introduced public automobile insurance, and significantly reduced medicare premiums. Following another election in 1973, Schreyer maintained his position as Premier, though the Council was this time less innovative, the only policy of note being the mining tax legislation implemented in 1974. Besides serving as Premier, Schreyer was the appointed Minister of Finance between 1972 and 1975, and the minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro from 1971 to 1977. It was from those positions that Schreyer advised the Lieutenant Governor to authorise construction of hydroelectric works instead of coal and gas burning electricity generators, and also put forward legislation that simultaneously eliminated provincial health care premiums and implemented home care and pharmacare.[4] Schreyer sometimes favoured policies distinct from those of the federal New Democratic Party; in 1970, he supported Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's direction of the Governor General to invoke the War Measures Act in response to the October Crisis in Quebec, despite the opposition of federal NDP leader Tommy Douglas.

In 1977, Schreyer's New Democrats were defeated by the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, under Sterling Lyon. Schreyer remained leader of the NDP in opposition, but resigned from that post in 1979, when he was approached with the offer of serving as the federal viceroy.

Governor generalship

It was announced from the Prime Minister's office on 28 December 1978 that Queen Elizabeth II had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of her Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, to appoint Schreyer as her representative. He was subsequently sworn-in during a ceremony in the Senate chamber on 22 January of the following year, making him the first ever Governor General from Manitoba, and, at the age of 43, the third youngest ever appointed, after The Marquess of Lorne in 1878 (33 years old), and The Marquess of Lansdowne in 1883 (38 years old).[2]

As Governor General, Schreyer championed women's issues, the environment, and official bilingualism. During his first year in office, he established the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, recognizing the efforts of Emily Murphy and others to ensure that Canadian women would be constitutionally recognized as persons. He instituted the Governor General's Conservation Awards in 1981, and in 1983 created the Edward Schreyer Fellowship in Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto. Also in 1983, he presided over the first Governor General's Canadian Study Conference (which has subsequently occurred every four years).[2] Schreyer also carried out the usual duties of the viceroy, hosting members of the Royal Family, greeting foreign dignitaries, and presiding over award ceremonies and investitures. Notably, it was Schreyer who invested Terry Fox as a companion of the Order of Canada, travelling to Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, to personally present Fox with the order's insignia.[6][7] In exercising his constitutional duties, however, he caused controversy when he hesitated to call an election after his Prime Minister — then Joe Clark — advised that he do so. Schreyer also later suggested that he might have dissolved parliament at any point through 1981 and 1982, had the Prime Minister at that time — a returned Trudeau — tried to unilaterally impose his constitutional proposals.[5][8]

Schreyer's "stiff, earnest public manner" worked against his wish to connect with people in a friendly way, and he was subsequenly a target for the media.[5] The press generally applauded the announcement of Schreyer's successor, believing Sauvé's elegance and refined nature made her well suited for the role of the Queen's representative. In Maclean's, Carol Goar compared Sauvé to Schreyer's performance, stating that "she is expected to restore grace and refinement to Government House after five years of Edward Schreyer's earnest Prairie populism and lacklustre reign."

Post viceregal career

The High Commission of Canada in Canberra, where Schreyer served as High Commissioner to Australia between 1984 and 1988

Upon retirement from the Governor Generalcy in 1984, Schreyer announced that he would donate his pension to the environmental Canadian Shield Foundation;[5] unlike other former viceroys, he clearly had no intent of removing himself from political and diplomatic life, as he was on the same day he ceased to be Governor General appointed by his viceregal successor as the High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu for Her Majesty's government in Canada.[9] He held those positions until 1988, at which time he returned to Winnipeg.

On his repatriation, Schreyer was employed as a national representative of Habitat for Humanity, an honorary director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, and an honorary advisor to the Canadian Foundation for the Preservation of Chinese Cultural and Historical Treasures, as well as becoming a founding member of the Winnipeg Library Foundation. Starting in 1989, he also acted as a guest professor at universities around North America and Europe, lecturing on matters relating to resource geography, energy economics, and environmental impact.[4] Further, on 1 November 2002,[4] Schreyer was appointed as the Chancellor of Brandon University, replacing Kevin Kavanagh,[10] and was subsequently re-elected as to the position by the university in early 2005 for a term that ended on 31 October 2008.


Political return

Schreyer returned to politics for the 1999 election in Manitoba, offering his support to the NDP, by then led by Gary Doer. Schreyer delivered strong criticisms of the Progressive Conservative (PC) government of Gary Filmon and made headlines by accusing the PCs of spreading false information about the criminal record of Tom Nevakshonoff, the NDP's candidate in Interlake. These comments had not been approved in advance by the NDP, but Schreyer's position was vindicated in 2001, when local PC organizer Heather Campbell-Dewar pleaded guilty to defaming Nevakshonoff's character and making a false or misleading statement to the police. Schreyer then offered his support to, but was not actively involved in the campaign of, Bill Blaikie, during the latter's bid to become leader of the federal New Democratic Party in 2002 and 2003.[citation needed]

Schreyer ran in the 2006 federal election as the NDP candidate for the riding of Selkirk—Interlake.[11] Had the 70 year old Schreyer won, it would have marked the first time a former Governor General had been elected to the Canadian House of Commons; previously, former Lieutenant Governors had been called to the Senate to sit as party members, and some former Governors General who hailed from the United Kingdom returned there to sit with party affiliations in the House of Lords, sometimes even serving in Cabinet.[n 1] But Schreyer lost to Conservative incumbent James Bezan, receiving 37% of the vote to Bezan's 49%.[12] Earlier comments Schreyer had made describing homosexuality as an "affliction" were raised by his electoral opponents in the campaign, as the NDP by that time supported same-sex marriage.[13] Without apologising for the remarks, Schreyer said he supported same-sex marriage as the existing legislation did not force religious institutions to marry same-sex couples, and added: "It was 19 years ago, and I didn't — even for a split second — suggest that there was no need to ensure that there was equal protection of the law with respect to the people who are homosexual. In fact, I defy anyone to suggest otherwise."[citation needed] Federal NDP leader Jack Layton defended Schreyer, observing that many people's views on the subject have changed in the last twenty years.[citation needed]

Schreyer also waded into the federal parliamentary dispute that took place from late 2008 into early 2009, wherein the members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition threatened to revoke their confidence in the sitting Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Schreyer said: "any group that presumes to govern must be willing to face and seek the confidence of Parliament [sic], and it mustn't be evaded and it mustn't be long avoided. I can't put it any more succinctly than that... I must come back to your use of the words, 'to duck a confidence vote'... that must simply not be allowed to happen."[14]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms


Viceregal styles of
Edward Schreyer
Crest of the Governor-General of Canada.svg
Reference style His Excellency The Right Honourable
Son Excellence le très honorable
Spoken style Your Excellency
Votre Excellence
Alternative style Sir
  • 21 December 1935 – 15 July 1969: Mister Edward Schreyer
  • 15 July 1969 – 24 November 1977: The Honourable Edward Schreyer
  • 24 November 1977 – 22 January 1979: Mister Edward Schreyer
  • 22 January 1979 – 14 May 1984: His Excellency The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada
  • 14 May 1984 – 18 February 1988: His Excellency The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer, High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu for Her Majesty's Government in Canada
  • 18 February 1988 – : The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer

Schreyer's style and title as Governor General was, in full, and in English: His Excellency The Right Honourable Edward Richard Schreyer, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada, and in French: Son Excellence le très honorable Edward Richard Schreyer, chancelier et compagnon principal de l'ordre du Canada, chancelier et commandant de l'ordre du mérite militaire, gouverneur général et commandant en chef du Canada. It should be noted that, for Schreyer, Commander-in-Chief was strictly a title, and not a position that he held; the actual commander-in-chief (who can also be, and is, called such) is perpetually the monarch of Canada.[15]

In his post-viceregal life, Schreyer's style and title is, in English: The Right Honourable Edward Richard Schreyer, Companion of the Order of Canada, Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Member of the Order of New Brunswick, and in French: le très honorable Edward Richard Schreyer, compagnon de l'ordre du Canada, commandant de l'ordre du mérite militaire.


Ribbon bars of Edward Schreyer

Honorary military appointments

Honorific eponyms



See also


  1. ^ In 1952, The Earl Alexander of Tunis resigned as Governor General of Canada to accept an appointment as Minister of Defence in the British Cabinet chaired by Winston Churchill. The Marquess of Lansdowne and The Duke of Devonshire both served in British Cabinets following their viceregal careers; Lansdowne also went on to serve for over a decade as leader of the Conservative Party in the House of Lords.


  1. ^ "Graduate Calendar 2005 - 2006 > University Governance > Board of Governors". Brandon University. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Role and Responsibilities > Former Governors General > The Right Honourable Edward Richard Schreyer". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  3. ^ Privy Council Office (30 October 2008). "Information Resources > Current Chronological List of Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada > 1981 – 1990". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 7 March 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Brandon University (2 February 2005). "The Right Honourable Edward R. Schreyer Re-Elected as Chancellor". Press release. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hillmer, Norman, "Biography > Governors General of Canada > Schreyer, Edward Richard", in Marsh, James H., The Canadian Encyclopedia, Toronto: Historica Foundation of Canada,, retrieved 8 March 2009 
  6. ^ "The Terry Fox Foundation > Terry Fox > Honours For Terry". Terry Fox Foundation. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  7. ^ "CBC Digital Archives > Sports > Exploits > Terry Fox, C.C.". CBC. 10 April 2002. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Nations > Canada > Governors-General > Schreyer, Edward Richard". Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  9. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. "About the Department > Canadian Heads of Posts Abroad from 1880 > Australia". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 10 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Brandon University (5 October 2006). "Brandon University campus courtyard named in honour of Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Kevin Kavanagh and Els Kavanagh". Press release. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  11. ^ "Ed Schreyer will run for the NDP in Manitoba". CTV. 15 December 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2009. 
  12. ^ "Decision 2006 > Live election results". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 March 2009. 
  13. ^ "Schreyer supports legal rights for gay spouses". CTV. 18 December 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Don't let Harper 'duck a confidence vote': former GG". CTV. 4 December 2008. Retrieved 4 December 2008. 
  15. ^ Victoria (29 March 1867), Constitution Act, 1867, III.15, Westminster: Queen's Printer,, retrieved 15 January 2009 
  16. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Order of Canada". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  17. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Order of Military Merit". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  18. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Insignia Worn by the Governor General". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  19. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba. "Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba The Honourable John Harvard, P.C., O.M > Awards > Order of Manitoba > Order of Manitoba Official Register". Queen's Printer for Manitoba. Retrieved 8 March 2009. 
  20. ^ "Arms of Past and Present Canadian Governors General". Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. Retrieved 12 March 2009. 
  21. ^ a b c "Arms of Past and Present Canadian Governors General > SCHREYER, The Rt. Hon. Edward, CC, CMM, CD, PC". Royal Heraldry Society of Canada. Retrieved 5 March 2009. 

External links

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Eric Stefanson, Sr.
Member of Parliament for Selkirk
1968 – 1969
Succeeded by
Doug Rowland
Preceded by
Joe Slogan
Member of Parliament for Springfield
1965 – 1968
Succeeded by
Electoral district abolished
Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
Preceded by
New electoral district
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
for Rossmere

1969 – 1978
Succeeded by
Vic Schroeder
Preceded by
New electoral district
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba
for Brokenhead

1958 – 1965
Succeeded by
Sam Uskiw
Provincial Government of Edward Schreyer
Preceded by
Walter Weir
Premier of Manitoba
15 July 1969 – 24 November 1977
Succeeded by
Sterling Lyon
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Raymond Cecil Anderson
Canadian High Commissioner to Australia,
Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu

14 May 1984 – 18 February 1988
Succeeded by
Robert Kilpatrick
Academic offices
Preceded by
Kevin Kavanagh
Chancellor of Brandon University
1 November 2002 – 31 October 2008
Succeeded by
Henry Champ
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Beverley McLachlin
Canadian order of precedence Succeeded by
Adrienne Clarkson


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