Chris Pearson (politician)

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

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]


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.

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.

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.

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.

After politics[edit]

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]


  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. ^ a b "Late leader witnessed triumphs and hardships". Whitehorse Star. February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 28, 2014.


  • Smyth, Stephen (1991). The Yukon's Constitutional Foundations, Vol. 1: The Yukon Chronology. Whitehorse, YT: Northern Directories Ltd.

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