Visionary entrepreneur will be missed

On Thursday evening, David Hughes Robertson passed away at the age of 72. Robertson was a well-known Yukon businessman and former owner of the Yukon…

On Thursday evening, David Hughes Robertson passed away at the age of 72.

Robertson was a well-known Yukon businessman and former owner of the Yukon News.

A graduate of Le College Militaire de St. Jean, Robertson was an officer with Royal Canadian Artillery in Shilo, Manitoba, and later served with the Royal Canadian Ordinance Corps in London, Ontario, and Whitehorse.

In 1963, he left the Canadian Armed Forces and started a house construction company.

Two years later, he bought half the Yukon News from partner Ken Shortt. He became sole owner of the paper in 1970.

At the same time, he started producing the Yukon legislative assembly Hansard.

On Monday, Robertson was given a tribute in the legislature by Speaker Ted Staffen.

“This is the first session in more than 30 years that (Robertson) has not been involved in the production of Hansard,” he said.

Robertson took over the Hansard contract in the mid-1970s, “doing it the old-fashioned typesetting way at the Yukon News office.”

Back then, Hansard was contracted out to a court-reporting firm in Vancouver, which transcribed the spoken words.

The hard copy was then delivered to Robertson for typesetting and printing.

“Never one to miss an opportunity to streamline production, in 1977 he implemented computers in the Hansard office at his own expense,” said Staffen.

This eliminated the retyping of the debates and proceedings, which was previously been pounded out on old IBM Selectric typewriters.

“In 1981, Robertson took over the contract to produce Hansard in its entirety, continually upgrading the computer system to the amazing equipment that we have here today,” said Staffen.

“Ever innovative, he started the first Hansard daycare with transcriber moms bringing their newborn babes into the office during sessions.

“When they became too big to come to work with mom, he recruited his wife Barbara to provide daycare so that his prized crew could continue to work.”

Ten years ago, Robertson retired from the editing process, providing only technical support to the Hansard office, “maintaining and upgrading equipment and coming in to make certain everything got off to a smooth start each day.”

Robertson’s “acumen in technology has given the Yukon the fastest turnaround times for the Blues in all of Canada, if not the Commonwealth.

“(His) expertise and cheerfulness are missed in the Hansard office today and we would like to thank him for all those 30 years of dedication and ingenuity,” said Staffen.