Former Northwest Territories MLA Bryan Pearson dead at 82

Pearson, third from left on top row, poses with other territorial MLAs in the 1970s. Photo courtesy: NWT Archives.
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Members of the NWT’s 18th legislative assembly have been paying their respects to the late Bryan Pearson this week.

The former Northwest Territories MLA passed away on Wednesday after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year. He was 82 years old.

“We offer our condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Bryan Pearson,” said Speaker Jackson Lafferty on behalf of the territory’s MLAs this week.

“[He] was a passionate man who embraced the North and its politics, had many business interests and made many friends. He will be sorely missed.”

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Originally from Liverpool, U.K., Pearson was first elected to the 7th Council of the Northwest Territories in 1970 representing the Eastern Arctic.

He was re-elected as an MLA five years later representing the newly named electoral district of South Baffin.

During his time in public office, Pearson founded the Interpreter Corps, which led to trained Inuktitut-English interpreters serving the needs of colleagues who spoke little English.

He’s also remembered as one of Iqaluit’s most colourful characters after serving as the city’s first mayor and being a long-time businessman there.

Flags outside the NWT legislature will be lowered to half-mast on the day of Pearson’s memorial service.

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