Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 20, 2014

Territory loses first government leader

Flags are at half-mast today to honour Chris Pearson, the Yukon’s first government leader, who died last Friday in Virginia at the age of 82.

By Whitehorse Star on February 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Flags are at half-mast today to honour Chris Pearson, the Yukon’s first government leader, who died last Friday in Virginia at the age of 82.

After moving to Yukon in 1957, Pearson joined the public service as an employee of the Yukon government for 13 years.

Pearson was the Conservative leader of the Yukon government at a pivotal time, Premier Darrell Pasloski noted today.

He was elected in 1978 – the year party politics were introduced – with a majority government. He became leader of the former Yukon Territorial Progressive Party after predecessor Hilday Watson lost her Kluane seat in that year’s election.

At Pearson’s urging of Joe Clark’s Conservative government, responsible government was achieved in the Yukon on Oct. 9, 1979 with the issuance of the historic Epp letter.

Pearson retired from politics in 1985, succeeded as party leader by Willard Phelps. He ended his career in the Canadian diplomatic service, serving in the Canadian Consulate in Dallas, Tex.

“Mr. Pearson played an important role in bringing responsible government to Yukon and was instrumental in ensuring that the territory was a party to land claim negotiations with First Nations and the federal government,” said Pasloski.

“He admirably led the Yukon government through a time of great change and transition. His leadership helped establish a strong foundation of good governance that continues to this day.

“On behalf of all Yukoners I send my deepest sympathies to the family of Chris Pearson.”

See much more on the life of Chris Pearson in Friday’s edition.

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