Whitehorse Daily Star

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NEW RESPONSIBILITIES – Adeline Webber, seen on Feb. 13, will be the Yukon’s next commissioner, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today.

Esteemed elder will be next commissioner

Adeline Webber, a respected Yukon elder, will be the Yukon’s next commissioner for a term of five years.

By Whitehorse Star on May 31, 2023

Adeline Webber, a respected Yukon elder, will be the Yukon’s next commissioner for a term of five years.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment today – the final day of Angélique Bernard’s term as commissioner.

Born and raised in Whitehorse, Webber is a proud member of the Teslin Tlingit Nation, Trudeau’s announcement notes.

It says throughout her life, she has worked tirelessly for the recognition and acknowledgement of the rights of Indigenous peoples, particularly women, in the territory.

She has also played an important role in the implementation of land claims and First Nation self-government agreements in the Yukon.

After spending most of her career in the federal public service, including as the Yukon district director for the Public Service Commission of Canada, Webber was appointed as the administrator of the territory in 2018, and reappointed to this role in 2021.

“I congratulate Adeline Webber on her appointment as the next Commissioner of Yukon,” Trudeau said in a statement from Ottawa.

“Ms. Webber has a remarkable understanding of the unique needs of Indigenous peoples and all Yukoners, and I am confident that she will continue to serve them well in her new role.”

Webber could not be reached for comment on her appointment this morning.

The prime minister took the opportunity to recognize Bernard for what he called her exceptional service to Yukoners.

In the spring of 2022, Webber was a member of the Assembly of First Nations delegation that met with His Holiness Pope Francis in Rome, where he delivered an apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system in Canada.

“It went as we expected,” she told the Star at the time.

“We were expecting that we would have some time with the Pope in a private audience, and it went really well.”

Webber attended the mission school in Whitehorse for eight years, from 1952 to 1960.

Her oldest brother, who she never met, died at the age of five before she was born while he was attending the Chootla residential school 
in Carcross.

Another brother was sent to a residential school in Alberta as a child and did not return until he was 16.

The next commissioner continues to be involved in causes closest to her heart, such as the Whitehorse Aboriginal Women’s Circle, an organization she founded.

She is also the chair of the Yukon Residential Schools Missing Children working group.

Webber is an honourary lifetime member of the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre and has received various other recognitions for her work and advocacy.

Those include the 125th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Premier Ranj Pillai welcomed the appointment today.

“Ms. Webber is a proud member of the Teslin Tlingit Nation and has spent a great deal of time working to advance reconciliation throughout the territory, particularly for women,” Pillai said.

“Ms. Webber has spent much of her career in the federal public service, most recently serving as administrator of the territory since 2018.

“We look forward to continuing to see the work she does as she serves the public and promotes the interests of Yukoners.”

Pillai also paid tribute to Bernard.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Commissioner Angélique Bernard for her years of dedicated service to the people of the Yukon,” he said.

“She was the first francophone commissioner to the Yukon. Among her many contributions to the territory, Madame Bernard’s exceptional community engagement and unwavering commitment to advancing francophone rights have earned her widespread recognition,” the premier added.

“In February of this year, Madame Bernard initiated the Yukon Francophonie Day funding program with the aim of fostering the vibrancy and diversity of the francophone community in the Yukon.

“It has been a tremendous privilege collaborating with Madame Bernard, and we extend our heartfelt best wishes to her as she embarks on new endeavours within the community.”

Bernard plans to take the summer off, then examine her professional options in the fall.

Territorial commissioners and administrators are Governor-in-Council appointments.

Commissioners fulfill many of the same duties as the lieutenant-governor of a province.

Their responsibilities include swearing in members of the legislative assembly and Executive Council, opening the assembly, and providing assent for legislation passed by the assembly.

Administrators act in the place of the commissioner if the commissioner is unable to fulfill his or her duties during an absence or illness or other situation, or when the office is vacant.

The commissioner is appointed by the Government of Canada, and is the Yukon’s head of state.

They are an important figure in the legislature and the territorial government.

The commissioner is responsible for:

• ensuring that the Yukon has a premier in the case of resignation or death or if the government resigns following a defeat in the legislature or in an election;

• ensuring continuity of government and maintaining democratic freedoms;

• delivering the Speech from the Throne at the opening of each legislative session;

• summoning, proroguing and dissolving the legislature;

• providing assent to bills passed by the assembly, enabling them to become law;

• signing orders-in-council, commissioner’s warrants, statutory appointments and dispositions of commissioner’s lands on the advice of cabinet; and

• representing the interests of the Yukon’s people by attending official functions, community and social events and handing out honours and awards.

Comments (1)

Up 14 Down 7

Russian Mike on Jun 1, 2023 at 3:26 am

Congratulations Adeline Webber on your appointment to Commissioner of Yukon.
We've come a long way from Whiskey Flats, have we not?

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