Former Yukon commissioner Jim Smith dies

One of the Yukon’s longest serving commissioners has died.

One of the Yukon’s longest serving commissioners has died.

Jim Smith, who served from 1966 to 1976, died on April 14. He was 97.

Smith served during a time when the commissioner had more control over the territorial government.

Elected members of the Council of the Yukon Territory, an early version of the modern Yukon Legislative Assembly, gave advice to the federally appointed commissioner on territorial matters until 1979.

Those who knew him say Smith always thought control should be in the hands of elected Yukoners.

“He laid a solid foundation for the development of responsible government and the achievement of the devolution of Yukon land and resources in 2003,” current commissioner Doug Phillips said in a statement.

“All Yukoners remain forever in his debt.”

Smith was instrumental in the creation of Kluane National Park and Reserve, as well as the designation of the Chilkoot Trail as a National Historic Site. He was a joint founder of the Arctic Winter Games.

Smith was born in New Westminister, B.C. Before moving to Whitehorse he lived in Atlin from 1940 to 1947.

He was president of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, served as a city alderman and territorial councilman.