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December 9, 1998-December 1, 1999 (Creation)
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Andrew Peter Telegdi was born on May 28, 1946 in Budapest, Hungary to Alexander Sandor Telegdi (1919-2001) and Elenora Maria Freidrich (1921-1997).
In 1957, Telegdi fled Hungary alongside his parents and two siblings during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Telegdi and his family immigrated to Canada. He later attended schools in Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Telegdi worked as a professional rock music promoter. In addition, he owned the Village Bistro; a coffee house located at 2081 West 4th Avenue in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver. The Village Bistro also functioned as a concert venue for rock and folk music performers. Telegdi likely sold or closed the Village Bistro around 1969.
Telegdi attended the University of Waterloo and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology in 1980. During his time at the University of Waterloo, Telegdi was involved in many organizations on campus. In January 1972, he served as the student representative on the Campus Centre (now the Student Life Centre) board. He was elected President of the Federation of Students (now the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association) in 1973 and served two terms until 1975. He also served as the Arts Undergraduate Student Representative on the Senate at the University of Waterloo from 1975 to 1976.
Between August 1975 and May 1976, Telegdi worked as an administrator and caseworker for Young People in Legal Difficulty, a support program for youth aged 12-25 in Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario. From June 1976 to 1993 and from 2013 to 2017, Telegdi served as the Executive Director of Youth in Conflict with the Law, a program that offers bail supervision for youth in the community. In 1979, Telegdi helped coordinate the first Justice Week in Canada hosted in Waterloo.
Telegdi worked as an elected Councillor on the City of Waterloo Council between 1985 and 1993. He also served as a Regional Councillor on the Council of the Regional Municipality of Waterloo between 1988 and 1993.
As a member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Telegdi ran in the 1990 Ontario general election to represent the riding of Waterloo North as a Member of Provincial Parliament. On September 6, 1990, Telegdi lost the election to Elizabeth Witmer, a member of the Progressive Conservative Party.
Telegdi was elected to federal office as Member of Parliament representing the riding of Waterloo in the 1993 Canadian federal election. Telegdi successfully kept his seat as a Member of Parliament through the 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2006 Canadian federal elections. Telegdi lost his seat during the 2008 Canadian federal elections to Peter Braid, a member of the Conservative Party. During his career as a Member of Parliament, Telegdi addressed many political issues including reforms to citizenship legislation, the legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada, immigration, crime, Canadian participation in wars or conflicts, and diplomatic relations.
Telegdi was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in 1998. He served in this role from July 16, 1998 until his resignation on May 18, 2000. Telegdi resigned from this position in objection to certain provisions in the government’s proposed citizenship legislation.
Telegdi was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister with special emphasis on Aboriginal Affairs in 2004. He served in this role from January 30, 2004 until June 27, 2004.
Andrew Telegdi married Nancy Curtin-Telegdi in 1985 and together they had one child; Erin Telegdi. Telegdi died on January 23, 2017 at the age of 70.
Scope and content
Material created or accumulated by Andrew Telegdi during his appointment as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration related to Telegdi’s efforts to help Akatiu Somogyi and his family reclaim financial assets that were seized by the Canadian government during the Second World War. Records include correspondence between Telegdi and many government offices, officials, and fellow politicians including Shelia Copps, Jean Chrétien, and Herb Gray.
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Donated by Nancy Curtin-Telegdi in 2017.
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Prior to the Second World War, Akatiu Somogyi lived in Hungary. In the late 1930s, he sent his life savings to the Royal Bank in Montreal. When Hungary was legally declared an enemy of Canada during the Second World War, Somogyi’s financial assets were seized by the Canadian government. Following the Second World War, Somogyi tried to reclaim his money but his requests were denied. In 1998, Somogyi’s family contacted Andrew Telegdi to ask for his help. Despite his efforts, Telegdi was not successful in helping Somogyi’s family reclaim the money that was seized.
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- Chrétien, Jean (Subject)
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Described by NM in 2021.
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