WHITEHORSE—It is with sadness that we learn of the passing of Chris Pearson, Yukon’s first premier.
After moving to Yukon in 1957, Mr. Pearson dedicated himself tirelessly to public service as an employee of the Yukon government for 13 years. He was very involved with the community through his work as the volunteer president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce along with his involvement in many sports organizations and local boards.
Mr. Pearson was the leader of the Yukon government at a pivotal time in Yukon’s history. He was elected in 1978 with a majority government. In June 1979, Mr. Pearson requested the Minister of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, the Honourable Jake Epp, to issue new instructions to then commissioner Ione Christensen to create a wholly elected Yukon Cabinet. Responsible government was achieved on October 9, 1979 with the issuance of the Epp Letter. The letter allowed the government leader to use the title of premier and Mr. Pearson served in this capacity until he departed Yukon politics in 1985. He ended his career in the Canadian diplomatic service, serving in the Canadian Consulate in Dallas, Texas.
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. 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. Flags are respectfully half-mast to honour Mr. Pearson.