Honorary Colonel E. Roberts, ONL, QC
Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland & Labrador

SAC '57

Edward Moxon RobertsHonorary Colonel Edward Moxon Roberts was born on  September 1, 1940 in St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador, the son of Dr. Harry Duncan and Mary Katharine (Moxon) Roberts. He was educated at Holloway School and Prince of Wales College, St John's; St. Andrew's College in Aurora, Ontario; and the University of Toronto.

He has taken an active part in the legal and public life of Newfoundland and Labrador for 40 years. He became the Province's 11th Lieutenant Governor in November 2002.

His interest in public policy and journalism was fostered by his participation in student activities at the University of Toronto, while he was a student between 1957 and 1964, summer work as a News Editor at CJON Radio and TV (the precursor of the Newfoundland Television Network), between 1958 and 1962, and serving as the Editor of The Varsity, the University of Toronto's student newspaper, in 1960-61. He was also a member of the Students' Administrative Council and active in other student organizations.

Mr. Roberts first sought election in the 1966 general election: he was elected as the Member for White Bay North a week after his 26th birthday. He was re-elected in that District, and its successor, the Strait of Belle Isle District, in five ensuing general elections. He retired from the House of Assembly for the first time in 1985, when he did not seek re-election.

Mr. Roberts became the first Parliamentary Assistant to Premier Smallwood in 1966. (He had formerly been Mr. Smallwood's Executive Assistant). He subsequently became Minister of Public Welfare and Minister of Health, the office he held when Mr. Smallwood resigned as Premier of Newfoundland and as Leader of the Liberal Party in January 1972. Mr. Roberts was elected Leader of the Party in February 1972, re-elected in 1974 (running against Mr. Smallwood , who sought to regain the leadership he had held between 1949 and 1972) and was defeated as Leader in 1977.

He returned to public office early in 1992, at the request of Premier Clyde Wells. He re-entered the Cabinet as Minister of Justice and Attorney General and was the Government House Leader between 1992 and 1996. He was elected to the House of Assembly for the seventh time in a by-election in June, 1992, in the District of Nascopie in central Labrador, and re-elected in the 1993 General Election.

He continued as Attorney General and Minister of Justice when Brian Tobin became Premier, but did not run as a candidate in the 1996 General Election. His service in the Tobin Cabinet made him the only person to have been a Minister in the Cabinets of the first three Liberal Premiers, Smallwood, Wells and Tobin.

Mr. Roberts is a lawyer. He was called to the Bar of Newfoundland in 1965 but did not enter full-time practice until 1978. He conducted an extensive litigation practice, and has appeared before courts at every level from the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Supreme Court of Canada. He became a Queen's Counsel in 1979, and a Master of the Supreme Court in 1989. He took non-practicing status when he became Lieutenant Governor.

Eve and Edward Roberts were married in 1982. Each has two daughters from a previous marriage. Mrs. Roberts is a lawyer, and was appointed a QC in 1989. She carried on an extensive practice in matrimonial and estates law. She retired from active practice in 1997, and continued as a member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Canada until 2003.

He was Chairman of the Board of Regents at Memorial University from 1997 until his appointment as Lieutenant Governor, and was recently appointed by the Board of Regents as a member of the Board of Trustees responsible for the operation of the University's campus at Harlow, in England.

He became the Honorary Chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in February 2003, and Honorary Colonel of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment in September 2003.

Mr. Roberts reads widely, particularly in pursuit of his passionate interest in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. He has collected books about Newfoundland and Labrador for the last 40 years and is now working on a part-time basis towards a Master of Arts degree in history at the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

In 2006, His Honour acted as Reviewing Officer for 142 St. Andrew's College Cadet Corps's Annual Inspection. His address is available here.