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The Right Honourable Edward Richard Schreyer

Appointed: December 28, 1978
Sworn In: January 22, 1979, in the Senate Chamber, Ottawa
Born: December 21, 1935, Beausejour, Manitoba




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Ed Schreyer was Canada's 22nd Governor General and the 4th Canadian to be appointed to the position. He was born Edward Richard Schreyer on December 21st, 1935 at Beausejour, Manitoba. He was raised a Catholic and attended elementary and high school in Beausjour before entering United and St John's Colleges. He then transferred to the University of Manitoba where he received degrees in Pedagogy and Education and then a Masters in Economics.

Schreyer also taught International relations at St Paul's College when he met and married Lilly Schultz. While accomplishing all of these things he entered politics when he ran in the 1958 Manitoba Provincial election for the CCF and at age 22 became the youngest ever elected representative.

In the 60's he switched to Federal politics and was elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa but in 1969 he returned to provincial politics and was elected the leader of the NDP (CCF descendent) and later that year was elected Premier of Manitoba. He held that position until 1977 when the Conservatives defeated him and the NDP, and Schreyer became opposition leader until 1979 when he was appointed Governor General by Prime Minister Pierre

Schreyer was a great supporter of equal rights for women and after establishing the Governor General's awards he focused on Emily Murphy as a pioneer in the struggle for equality. He also established the Governor General's Conservation awards.

His most important actions revolved around the role that the Governor General's office was primarily intended to play, which was the adjudication of political situations in the House of Commons.  When Joe Clark lost a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons in December 1979 he considered asking the Liberals to try and form a government but decided against it. He also let it be know that if a constitutional crisis arose, from the Liberals efforts in 1981-82 to repatriate the constitution, he might dissolve Parliament over the issues and call a general election.

Schreyer was a strong supporter of Canadian nationalism and bilingualism but struggled with his relationship with the media who portrayed him as a little stiff and cold in public.

At the end of  his term as Governor General, Ed Schreyer was immediately appointed as Canadian High Commissioner to Australia until 1988 when he returned to Winnipeg. He also kept himself busy with the Canadian Shield Foundation of which he donated his Governors General pension to for 5 years, and Habitat for Humanity. In 2002 he was appointed as Chancellor of Brandon University and held that position until 2008

He has been unable to resist the lure of politics and has been involved in NDP politics since his return to Canada and ran for a seat in the House of Commons in 2006 in the riding of Selkirk-Interlake, but lost. He has also spoken out on many political issues including the 2008/9 Proroguing of Parliament by Prime Minister Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean's allowance of it. Schreyer, from the unique position of a former Governor General stated

 "any group that presumes to govern must be willing to face and seek the confidence of Parliament, 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." Brandon University (2 February 2005). "The Right Honourable Edward R. Schreyer Re-Elected as Chancellor". Press release.

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