Edward Roberts became actively involved in public and political issues nearly fifty years ago. While a student at the University of Toronto (BA, 1960 and LLB, 1964), he joined the staff of The Varsity, the university's student newspaper, becoming its editor in 1960-61, and worked for several summers as a news editor of Newfoundland's leading radio and TV station. Elected as a liberal to the House of Assembly in 1966, he served during his 23 years in the House in a variety of ministerial posts in the cabinets of Joseph Smallwood and Clyde Wells, and as leader of the opposition. He also became a practising barrister and senior partner at one of the largest law firms in the province, and was appointed a Queen's Counsel. Mr. Roberts was chair of the Board of Regents of Memorial University, Newfoundland's only university, from 1997 to 2002, and was the lieutenant governor of the province from 2002-2008. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. Memorial University of Newfoundland conferred an honorary degree upon him in 2003, and the Newfoundland and Labrador branch of the Institute of Public Affairs of Canada selected him to receive their Lieutenant Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Administration for 2010. Mr. Roberts was the first elected individual to be so honoured by this branch.
Mr. Roberts is deeply interested in economic, social and political issues, and has a passionate interest in the history of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2006, while lieutenant governor, he earned an MA in Newfoundland history, and was appointed a Fellow of the School of Graduate Studies. Memorial University's Alumni Association named him Alumnus of the Year for 2009. Mr. Roberts also edited and annotated My Fight For Newfoundland, Peter Cashin's memoirs from 1919 to 1977. The volume appeared in June 2012.
Mr. Roberts reads broadly, and is particularly interested in biographies and military and political history. He is a devoted fan of British mystery writers and naval historical fiction in the mould of C.S. Forester's Captain Horatio Hornblower. He has collected books and other written materials about Newfoundland for many years, and is an ardent - although only moderately successful - salmon fisherman. He and his wife, Eve (Hargraft), have four daughters and eight grandchildren and live in St. John's, Newfoundland.