Fonds Acc: 2004 - 1; 2005 - 4; 2006 - 2 - The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer fonds

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The Right Honourable Edward Schreyer fonds

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Acc: 2004 - 1; 2005 - 4; 2006 - 2

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  • 1934 - 2004, predominant 1959 - 2004 (Creation)

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Physical description

7.96m textual records and other material
1959 photographs : b&w and colour

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Edward Richard Schreyer was born on December 21, 1935 near Ladywood, in the Beausejour region of Manitoba, to John and Elizabeth Schreyer (née Gottfried). He grew up on the family farm near Ladywood and Cromwell. He received his early education at Cromwell Public School and later schooling at Beausejour Collegiate Institute (which has since been renamed Edward Schreyer School). He went on to study at United College and St. John's College at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, where he acquired numerous degrees. Teaching was his first profession, first at Beausejour Collegiate, beginning in 1956. He also taught Political Science and International Relations at St. Paul's College from 1962-1965, and returned to university as a professor in the 1990s after his diplomatic career. Schreyer's political career began in 1957, when he served as the campaign manager to Jake Schultz, who ran and won a seat in Parliament as the C.C.F. (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) candidate for Springfield. This introduction was to have an immense impact on Schreyer's personal and professional life. Schultz helped to set the course for his young campaign manager. In 1958 Schreyer was elected as C.C.F. M.L.A. for the provincial constituency of Brokenhead. He was at that point the youngest M.L.A ever in Canada. He was re-elected in 1959 and again in 1962 as a member of the New Democratic Party (N.D.P.). In 1960 Schreyer married Lily Schultz, daughter of Jake Schultz. Edward and Lily's family grew, with the birth of Lisa in 1962 and Karmel in 1964. In 1965 Schreyer decided to contest his father- in-law's old federal seat of Springfield, as the N.D.P. candidate. He won the election, and moved to Ottawa to serve as M.P, where he was the youngest ever M.P in the Canada. In 1967, while in Ottawa, a son, Jason, was born. He was re-elected in the redistributed riding of Selkirk in 1968. Politics were still interesting and intriguing in Manitoba, and circumstances soon conspired to bring back the Schreyer family. In 1969, the call of a snap June election by the Conservative government of Walter Weir set events in motion. The N.D.P., which was leaderless at the time, moved up their leadership convention from the fall to June 8th. Schreyer ran for the Provincial Leadership of the N.D.P. and won. A whirlwind three week campaign ensued, which the N.D.P. won. Edward Schreyer became Manitoba's first N.D.P. Premier, a post he held for eight years, representing the Rossmere Constituency. He ran for re-election and won in 1973. In 1975 he received a Governor-General Vanier Outstanding Young Canadian Award, and the family grew again with the arrival of Tobin. The N.D.P. lost the election of 1977 to the Conservatives and Schreyer then became leader of the official opposition in the Legislature. Throughout his tenure as premier, many opportunities to move onto new ventures in Ottawa had presented themselves, but the timing had never been right. This changed in1978 when Prime Minster Pierre suggested to Queen Elizabeth II that Edward Schreyer would be a good choice for the next Governor-General. He became the first Manitoban to be appointed Governor General, and also the first social democrat. Schreyer assumed his duties as representative of the Crown in 1979. During this time, although dealing with a hectic schedule, the break from active politics allowed Schreyer to continue to follow another one of his interests and he researched and read widely on energy, the environment and sustainable development. He also traveled widely within Canada and promoted the country during numerous trips abroad as well. Following five years in Rideau Hall he was appointed High Commissioner to Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and Ambassador to Vanuatu and a member of the Privy Council. Schreyer served as High Commissioner for four years. Returning to Canada, Schreyer re-entered the academic community and began teaching. He returned to the University milieu, with his focus on energy systems, sustainability and the USSR. His interests continue to be in the areas of energy, the environment and sustainable development. He has been Chairman of the Canadian Shield Foundation, which funds research in the flora and fauna of the Shield, since 1984. He became a Counselor for the Canada West Foundation in 1989, a Founding Member of the Winnipeg Library Foundation Inc. in 1996. He has also been involved in the Sierra Defense League and Habitat for Humanity, where he sponsored the Edward Schreyer Work Project for many years. In April of 2002, Schreyer became Chancellor of Brandon University. In 2005 Schreyer was named to the board of directors for Habitat for Humanity International. On December 15, 2005 Schreyer announced his intent to return to politics. He re-entered the federal field, announcing his NDP candidacy for the Selkirk Interlake riding for the January 23, 2006 Federal election. While he lost the election to Conservative incumbent James Bezan, his participation and involvement stimulated much community discussion and encouraged voter participation in many ridings across Canada.

Custodial history

The majority of the records were donated by Edward Schreyer to the Brokenhead River Regional Library in 2004 (Accession no. 2004-1), with further donations in 2005 (2005-4) and 2006 (2006-2).

Scope and content

Fonds consists of correspondence, clippings, memos, publications and other records pertaining to the political and diplomatic career of Edward Schreyer as well as personal records, research materials and conference proceedings relating to the environment, energy, sustainable development and Habitat for Humanity, as well as the personal library, certificates and plaques relating to the career of H.E. Edward Schreyer. Personal and professional photographs, audio recordings and moving images as well as some textile artifacts are also included.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition


: Records primarily arranged by archivist, except the subject files dating from 1962-1969. Other than a separation between research materials and other records there was no overriding discernable original order. Much material was not even in file folders. Original files have been maintained where they existed. See series level descriptions for further information.

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Restrictions on access

All materials are open to researchers with the exception of some governmental documents that are marked restricted and some material that falls under FIPPA, PHIA and other legislation. Refer to series level description for further information. Some of the photographs pose copyright issues. It is the researcher's duty to obtain necessary permission to reproduce copyrighted images.

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Finding aids

For textual records, file lists arranged by series are available. A photographic database is also available, as well as spreadsheets with information on books and objects.

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Further accruals are expected.


Donation also includes 547 books, 194 magazines, 265 items of other published material, 56 certificates, 77 plaques and awards, 13 miscellaneous presentation gifts, 25 framed artworks and reproductions, 8 degrees and honourary degrees, 3 political cartoons, 1 caricature, 27 maps, 7 coins, 5 plates, 14 posters and 3 calendars.

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The material is in English.

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  • English

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