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Edward Schreyer
Ed Schreyer (3).jpg
22nd Governor General of Canada
In office
January 22, 1979 – May 14, 1984
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau
Joe Clark
Preceded by Jules Léger
Succeeded by Jeanne Sauvé
16th Premier of Manitoba
In office
July 15, 1969 – November 24, 1977
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Richard S. Bowles
William J. McKeag
Francis L. Jobin
Preceded by Walter Weir
Succeeded by Sterling Lyon
Personal details
Edward Richard Schreyer

(1935-12-21) December 21, 1935 (age 87)
Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Lily Schreyer
Children 4
Alma mater University of Manitoba (BA), (BEd), (MA)
Profession Politician, Professor

Edward Richard Schreyer PC CC CMM OM CD (born December 21, 1935) is a Canadian politician, diplomat, and statesman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 22nd since Canadian Confederation.

Schreyer was born and educated in Manitoba, and was first elected to the province's legislative assembly in 1958. He later moved into federal politics, winning a seat in the House of Commons, but returned to Manitoba in 1969 to become leader of the provincial New Democratic Party (NDP). The party then won that year's provincial election and Schreyer became the 16th premier of Manitoba, aged 33. In 1978 he was appointed Governor General by Queen Elizabeth II on the recommendation of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, to replace Jules Léger, and he occupied the post until succeeded by Jeanne Sauvé in 1984. As the Queen's representative, he was praised for raising the stature of Ukrainian Canadians. Later, he served as Canada's High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. He then attempted, without success, to get elected to the House of Commons; he was the first person to run for election in Canada after serving as Governor General.

Early life and youth

Schreyer was born in Beausejour, Manitoba, to Anglophone ethnic German-Austrian Catholic parents John Schreyer and Elizabeth Gottfried; his maternal grandparents were Austrians who emigrated from western Ukraine. Schreyer attended Cromwell Elementary School and Beausejour Collegiate Secondary School, then United College and St. John's College at the University of Manitoba. There, he received a Bachelor of Pedagogy in 1959, a Bachelor of Education in 1962, a Master of Arts in International Relations, and a second Master of Arts in Economics in 1963. From 1962 to 1965, Schreyer served as a professor of International Relations at St. Paul's College.

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

While pursuing his post-graduate degrees, Schreyer married Lily Schultz, with whom he had two daughters, Lisa and Karmel, and two sons, Jason and Toban.

Governor General of Canada

On December 28, 1978, Queen Elizabeth II, by commission under the royal sign-manual and Great Seal of Canada, appointed Pierre Trudeau's choice of Schreyer to succeed Jules Léger as the Queen's representative. He was sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate chamber on January 22, 1979, making him the first Governor General from Manitoba, and, at the age of forty-three, 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).

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, to recognize the efforts of Emily Murphy and others to ensure that Canadian women would be constitutionally recognized as persons. In 1981 he instituted the Governor General's Conservation Awards and in 1983 he 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 since been held every four years. Schreyer invested Terry Fox as a companion of the Order of Canada, travelling to Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, to present Fox with the order's insignia. In 1980, he caused controversy when he hesitated to call an election after Prime Minister Joe Clark advised him to do so. Schreyer also later suggested that he might have dissolved parliament at any point through 1981 and 1982, had the Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau tried to impose his constitutional proposals unilaterally.

Schreyer's wish to connect with people in an open, friendly way conflicted with the "stiff, earnest public manner" expected of the Governor General, and he was thus a target of the media. When Jeanne Sauvé succeeded him, Maclean's writer 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

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

Upon retirement from the post of Governor General in 1984, Schreyer announced that he would donate his pension to the environmental Canadian Shield Foundation; unlike other former viceroys, he intended to remain in political and diplomatic life. On the same day he ceased to be Governor General, he was appointed by his successor to the office of High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu for Her Majesty's Government in Canada. He held those positions until 1988, when he returned to Winnipeg.

On returning to Canada, 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. He was also a founding member of the Winnipeg Library Foundation. Starting in 1989, he acted as a guest professor at universities around North America and Europe, lecturing on matters relating to resource geography, energy economics, and environmental impact. On November 1, 2002, Schreyer was appointed the Chancellor of Brandon University and was re-elected to the position in early 2005 for a term that ended on October 31, 2008.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms


  • July 15, 1969 – November 24, 1977: The Honourable Edward Schreyer
  • January 22, 1979 – February 18, 1988: His Excellency the Right Honourable Edward Schreyer
  • February 18, 1988 – : The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer


Ribbon bars of Edward Schreyer
Order of Canada (CC) ribbon bar.svg
Order of Military Merit (Canada) ribbon (CMM).jpgOrder of St John (UK) ribbon -vector.svgCAN Order of Manitoba ribbon.svg
Canada100 ribbon.pngUK Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.svgCanada125 ribbon.png
UK Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.svgQEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.svgCD-ribbon.png

  • Canada January 22, 1979: Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)
  • Canada 1967: Canadian Centennial Medal
  • Canada 1977: Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
  • Canada 1992: Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada
  • Canada 2002: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • Canada 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • Canada 1975: Governor General Vanier Award as an Outstanding Young Canadian of the Year

Honorary military appointments

  • Canada January 22, 1979 – May 14, 1984: Colonel of the Governor General's Horse Guards
  • Canada January 22, 1979 – May 14, 1984: Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guards
  • Canada January 22, 1979 – May 14, 1984: Colonel of the Canadian Grenadier Guards

Honorific eponyms


See also

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