Chris Pearson (politician)

Last updated

Chris Pearson
1st Premier of Yukon
In office
December 14, 1978 March 23, 1985
Commissioner Frank Fingland
Ione Christensen
Douglas Bell
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Willard Phelps
MLA for Riverdale North
In office
November 20, 1978 May 13, 1985
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Doug Phillips
Personal details
Born(1931-04-29)April 29, 1931
Lethbridge, Alberta
DiedFebruary 14, 2014(2014-02-14) (aged 82)
Pulaski County, Virginia
Political party Progressive Conservative

Christopher "Chris" William Pearson (April 29, 1931 – February 14, 2014) was the second leader of the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party and the first Government Leader in the Yukon. [1]

The Yukon Progressive Conservative Party was a conservative political party in Yukon, Canada. It was succeeded by the Yukon Party.


Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, [2] Pearson moved to the Yukon in 1957 and worked for the government from 1960 until 1973 when he entered private business. Prior to 1978, the territory has a non-partisan legislature with no individual acting as leader of the government or Premier. [3]

Lethbridge City in Alberta, Canada

Lethbridge is a city in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is Alberta's third-largest city by both population and land area after Calgary and Edmonton, and the largest city in southern Alberta. The nearby Canadian Rockies contribute to the city's warm summers, mild winters, and windy climate. Lethbridge lies southeast of Calgary on the Oldman River.

Nonpartisan democracy is a system of representative government or organization such that universal and periodic elections take place without reference to political parties. Sometimes electioneering and even speaking about candidates may be discouraged, so as not to prejudice others' decisions or create a contentious atmosphere.

A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority to make laws for a political entity such as a country or city. Legislatures form important parts of most governments; in the separation of powers model, they are often contrasted with the executive and judicial branches of government.


Pearson was first elected to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in the 1978 election. He was not the party's leader going into the election campaign, but was chosen as government leader because of the defeat of leader Hilda Watson in her own riding. He became the leader of the Yukon Territory Progressive Conservative Party on December 8, 1978, when Watson resigned as leader. [4] Pearson led the Yukon's first party government until his resignation in 1985.

Yukon Legislative Assembly

The Yukon Legislative Assembly is the legislative assembly for Yukon, Canada. The Yukon Legislative Assembly is the only legislature in Canada's three federal territories which is organized along political party lines. In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the legislative assemblies are instead elected on a non-partisan consensus government model.

1978 Yukon general election

The 1978 Yukon general election, held on November 20, 1978, was the first conventional legislative election in the history of Canada's Yukon Territory. Prior elections were held to elect representatives to the Yukon Territorial Council, a non-partisan body that acted in an advisory role to the Commissioner of the Yukon. Following the passage of the Yukon Elections Act in 1977, the 1978 election was the first time that voters in the Yukon elected representatives to the Yukon Legislative Assembly in an election organized along political party lines.

Hilda Watson Canadian politician

Hilda Pauline Watson was a Canadian schoolteacher and politician from the Yukon Territory. She was the first woman in Canadian history to lead a political party which was successful in having its members elected.

Pearson's government opposed transboundary native land claims and argued that the territory should be a party to the Yukon land claims negotiations. The government also fought for greater responsible government in the territory, for granting the territory more say over its natural resources, and for the territory to be a full participant in federal-provincial conferences rather than just an observer. The government successfully obtained the transfer of a number of powers from the federally appointed commissioner of the territory to the government.

Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability, the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Governments in Westminster democracies are responsible to parliament rather than to the monarch, or, in a colonial context, to the imperial government, and in a republican context, to the president, either in full or in part. If the parliament is bicameral, then the government is responsible first to the parliament's lower house, which is more representative than the upper house, as it usually has more members and they are always directly elected.

A commissioner is, in principle, a member of a commission or an individual who has been given a commission.

In 1982 the Pearson government was re-elected with a majority and attempted to deal with the effects of the economic recession on the territory which was exacerbated by the collapse of the hard mining industry and the closure of the Faro Mine.

A majority government refers to one or multiple governing parties that hold an absolute majority of seats in legislature. This is as opposed to a minority government, where the largest party in a legislature only has a plurality of seats.

In economics, a recession is a business cycle contraction when there is a general decline in economic activity. Recessions generally occur when there is a widespread drop in spending. This may be triggered by various events, such as a financial crisis, an external trade shock, an adverse supply shock or the bursting of an economic bubble. In the United States, it is defined as "a significant decline in economic activity spread across the market, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales". In the United Kingdom, it is defined as a negative economic growth for two consecutive quarters.

Pearson left politics in 1985 but his successor, Willard Phelps, was not able to turn the government's fortunes around. The Yukon New Democratic Party won that year's election and formed government.

Willard Leroy Phelps is a former Yukon politician, who briefly served as Government Leader in 1985.

Yukon New Democratic Party political party

The Yukon New Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in the Yukon territory of Canada.

1985 Yukon general election

The 1985 Yukon general election was held on May 13, 1985 to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of the territory of Yukon, Canada. It was won by the New Democratic Party.

After politics

Pearson served as deputy consul general at the Canadian Consulate in Dallas, Texas before moving to the New River Valley of Virginia in 1990. [5] He died on February 14, 2014 in Claytor Lake. [5]

Related Research Articles

Erik Hersholt Nielsen was a Canadian politician, and longtime Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Yukon and was Leader of the Opposition and deputy prime minister. He was the elder brother of actor Leslie Nielsen.

Lawrence Bagnell is a Canadian politician. He served as a Liberal member of the House of Commons of Canada from 2000 until 2011, and from 2015 to present.

Dennis Fentie Canadian politician

Dennis G. Fentie was a Canadian politician. He was the seventh Premier of Yukon and leader of the Yukon Party, serving from 2002 to 2011, as well as the MLA for Watson Lake.

Tony Penikett Canadian politician

Antony David John "Tony" Penikett is a mediator and negotiator and former politician in Yukon, Canada, who served as Premier of Yukon from 1985 to 1992.

Piers McDonald, OC is a Yukon politician and businessman. Born in Kingston, Ontario, McDonald, originally a miner by profession, is a long-time MLA, Cabinet minister, and Premier of Yukon. He was leader of the Yukon New Democratic Party from 1995-2000.

Whitehorse West is an electoral district which returns a member to the Legislative Assembly of the Yukon Territory in Canada.


Kluane is an electoral district which returns a member to the Legislative Assembly of the Canadian territory of Yukon. It is named after Kluane National Park, which is within the riding. It is one of the Yukon's eight rural districts.

The Yukon Territorial Council was a political body in the Canadian territory of Yukon, prior to the creation of the Yukon Legislative Assembly. Although not a full legislature, the council acted as an advisory body to the Commissioner of Yukon, and had the power to pass non-binding motions of legislation which would be forwarded to the commissioner for consideration.

Alice McGuire is a Canadian politician. She represented the electoral district of Kluane in the Yukon Legislative Assembly from 1978 to 1982.

Beatrice Ann Firth was a Canadian politician, who represented the electoral district of Riverdale South in the Yukon Legislative Assembly from 1982 to 1996. She was a member of the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party.

George Clifford Van Roggen was a Canadian Senator and a longtime advocate of free trade with the United States.

Campbell was a territorial electoral district in the Canadian territory of Yukon, which was represented in the Legislative Assembly of Yukon from 1978 to 1992.

Peter (Swede) Hanson was a Canadian politician, who served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Yukon from 1978 to 1982. He represented the electoral district of Mayo as a member of the Yukon Progressive Conservative Party, and served in the Executive Council of Yukon as minister of consumer and corporate affairs, tourism, economic development and renewable resources in the government of Chris Pearson.


  1. "Doug Bell recalls days as Yukon's commissioner". Yukon News . June 25, 2008. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  2. Pierre G. Normandin and A. Léopold Normandin, Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1984. P.G. Normandin, 1984.
  3. "Vying to Bring Power Back to the Yukon". June 3, 1982. Retrieved June 25, 2010.
  4. Smyth 1991, p. 56.
  5. 1 2 "Late leader witnessed triumphs and hardships". Whitehorse Star . February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.