Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

A GROUP PHOTO of the first wholly elected Territorial Council (10 members plus Clerk of Council) taken on steps of Administration Bldg. on 5th ave. in Dawson. Probably taken July 15, 1909. Back row left to right: M. Landreville, Klondike; C.B. Burns, C of Council; F. McAlpine, Bonanza; G. Black, South Dawson; J. W. Murray, South Dawson. Middle row left to right: W.L. Phelps, Whitehorse; A.W. McLeod, Klondike; R. Lowe, Speaker, Whitehorse; R.L. Ashbaugh, Bonanza; C. Bossuyt, N. Dawson. Front row with dog: A.W.H. Smith, North Dawson. MacBride Museum Coll./Yukon Archives.

First all-elected Yukon Territorial Council

Yukon Council - Territorial Legislative Body Now in Session. The Dawson Daily News of the evening of July 15 contained the following:

By Whitehorse Star on July 9, 1909

Whitehorse Star, July 1909

First all-elected Yukon Territorial Council

Yukon Council - Territorial Legislative Body Now in Session. The Dawson Daily News of the evening of July 15 contained the following:

Three o'clock this afternoon marked an epoch in the history of Yukon territory.

The first all-elective Yukon council assembled at that hour, (in Dawson) with all members present. They are:

Charles Bossuyt and A.W.H. Smith, for North Dawson;

James William Murphy and George Black, for South Dawson;

Maxime Landreville and Angus McLeod, for Klondike;

Roderick Leander Ashbaugh and Frank McAlpine, for Bonanza;

Robert Lowe and Willard L. Phelps, for Whitehorse.

The councillors-elect from Whitehorse arrived this morning on the Selkirk. Mr. Lowe took quarters at the King Edward, and Mr. Phelps, who is accompanied by his wife, is at the Angelus.

The members-elect appeared before Commissioner Henderson at noon today, and qualified as councillors by taking the oath of office.

At the appointed hour this afternoon, the councillors filed into the council chamber and took their seats. Clement Bancroft Burns, territorial secretary, entered at the same time, and was seated at the secretary's desk. After all was quiet, Mr. Burns rose and said:

"Gentlemen of the Council: I have the honour to inform you that I am commanded by the commissioner to request that you do now proceed to the election of a speaker."

Maxime Landreville, member from Klondike, then rose and moved that Robert Lowe, member from Whitehorse and senior member of the council, be elected Speaker.

The motion was duly seconded, and Mr. Lowe was elected and led to the seat. The selection of Mr. Lowe was agreed upon by the Liberal councillors today before the council opened.

It is understood that Mr. Phelps will be the leader for the government, which duty will involve the presentation of bills favored by the government and the budget and such.

On accepting the seat, Mr. Lowe expressed his thanks to the council for the honor shown him. A short message was received from the commissioner, stating that an ordinance for the revision of the statutes, and one or two other matters are to be introduced, and that the budget is being prepared.

A telegram received here (in Whitehorse) later than the above told of the unanimous election of Mr. Phelps as leader of the party in the territorial assembly.

A Note on the Previous Council.

Previously the Council was composed of eleven men; five elected by the people of the north, five appointed by the federal government, with the Commissioner making up the eleventh.

Until this point the council had been convened by the Commissioner annually, sitting for a week to ten days; now there were to be twice-yearly sessions.

Regardless of the fact that the Council was now wholly elected, the Yukon did not have responsible government.

The Commissioner was not responsible to the Council, they could draft all legislation, but the Commissioner held the power of approval or referral of this legislation to the Governor in Council.

Still, a wholly elected council was seen by the people of the north as a great step forward. Now, at last, the council members at least drafting the legislation truly represented the population.

Comments (2)

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Catherine Luke on Sep 10, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Clement Bancroft Burns was my great uncle. He died in Ottawa in 1941. The family had many stories about him and his days in the Yukon. I am visiting Whitehorse and Dawson, leaving home (London, Ont) tomorrow, Sept 11, and hope to visit the archives, museums, etc., in both places. Hope to find out more! Cathy Luke

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Luc Lalongé-Landreville on Nov 30, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Happy to have found in this page an image of my maternal grandfather's uncle, Maxime Landreville! I heard that during the chaotic year that preceded the creation of the Yukon Territory he decided with a few others to leave his dear Klondike and travel to Ottawa to meet Wilfrid Laurier. He convinced with his group the Prime Minister to create the new Territory. Fier d'être un descendant d'un aussi grand personnage ! (Proud to be a ''descendant'' of such a great man!)
Montréal, Québec

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